Danfoss A/S chose CIM as their supplier of the control system for their indoor climate test.
"By developing a new LabVIEW object-oriented test framework and our in-house Certified LabVIEW Architect competencies, we succeeded in creating a measurement and control solution based on CompactRIO and NI CompactDAQ. The result was an efficient, scalable, and versatile solution installed in the world’s first dedicated test center for indoor climate products at Danfoss A/S. "
Morten Pedersen, CIM Industrial Systems A/S
Building a control and data acquisition system for the world’s first dedicated test center for indoor climate products in Denmark, which allow engineers to test the performance of indoor climate components and systems in a controlled environment.
Designing and implementing a customized, scalable, efficient, and versatile test solution using NI CompactDAQ, CompactRIO, and LabVIEW, which controls test conditions and allows engineers to reliably test products and compare test results afterward.
In the past, controlling the indoor climate in homes was simply a matter of thermostat regulating the heat and occupants ventilating the homes by manually opening the windows. New energy performance regulations of buildings have led to more insulated and airtight houses as well as increased energy performance requirements of indoor climate components. Maintaining a comfortable indoor climate in a modern house now also involves control of fresh air, protection against overheating and passive cooling. New homes have multiple systems installed to handle these tasks: mechanical ventilation system with heat recovery, heat pumps, radiator or floor heating systems, solar shading systems and systems for passive cooling. Each of these systems may work efficiently under ideal conditions but often these systems have an uncontrolled impact on each other, which will lead to discomfort and higher energy consumption than expected.
This is why the Danish company Danfoss A/S, a global leader in energy and climate solutions, decided to build the world’s first test center for test of indoor climate systems. The Test Center is capable of controlling and monitoring both energy generators (heat pumps, gas boilers) and heat emitters (radiators, floor heating) as well as controlling the simulated outdoor environment in a climate room. The heart of the Danfoss A/S test center is a unique control and data acquisition system that was developed by CIM Industrial Systems A/S in cooperation with Trimatic Automation A/S. Based on NI technology, the system is fully customized for Danfoss A/S.
Problem Solving With the NI Toolbox
The Danfoss A/S test center, which was completed in fall 2013, consists of three separate test cells constructed with different materials in walls and floors.
The test cells are surrounded by a climate room that simulates outdoor temperatures from -20 °C to 30 °C, regardless of the weather and season outside.
Danfoss A/S chose CIM for the assignment because of our control and measurement expertise. Trimatic designed and manufactured the control panels and boards in the test center. For CIM, our challenge was creating a completely customized hardware and software solution that was scalable, efficient and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Using NI hardware and software, CIM created a control and measurement system that allows engineers at Danfoss A/S to execute tests in parallel in the three test cells. The engineers can easily set the variety of test conditions in test profiles and save them in the system. This makes it easy for engineers to repeat tests with exact same condition and compare test results.
Figure 3. The control and measurement system
The backbone of the system is the NI CompactDAQ hardware, which we chose because of its flexibility and Ethernet connectivity. We integrated the hardware with LabVIEW software using NI-DAQmx driver software, which enabled scaling and signal conditioning close to the hardware level.
We chose the CompactRIO platform to control the KV Stand, because of its real-time capabilities that help engineers create and deploy time-critical and advanced control algorithms using the LabVIEW Real-Time and LabVIEW FPGA modules.
On the software level, we developed a new object-oriented data logger framework in LabVIEW. The new framework, created a solid foundation for the solution, and based on that CIM constructed a scalable, stable measurement platform for Danfoss A/S that supports a high level of flexibility for new devices.
Figure 4. The software solution based on LabVIEW
The system is controlled by a client and a server program. The client controls the graphical user interface and starts and stops test profiles. The server controls all the modules that interface with the control and measurement equipment in the test cells.
Figure 5. The main GUI
From the client PC, engineers can monitor all sensor data from the test cells, including air temperature, operative temperature, and relative humidity. All data are automatically logged to a Microsoft SQL database to ensure traceability. Engineers also can configure test setups and test profiles and retrieve data from the database from any PC through a web application.
Figure 6. To the left the installations in the technical room and to the right the connections panel in the operation room
The Bottom Line
Danfoss A/S created the first dedicated indoor climate test environment, which required some specific needs. An off-the-shelf solution was therefore not an option.
CIM created a customized measurement and control system that meets the needs of Danfoss A/S for testing its products now and in the future. By using the in-house LabVIEW Certified Architect competencies and a new LabVIEW test framework, we succeeded in creating a scalable, efficient, and versatile test solution for Danfoss A/S.
Danfoss A/S can now test products more rigorously and much faster than before, which boosts the overall quality and reduces time to market for its energy and climate components.