This was a mammoth one and we couldn’t be happier with the finished product. This was a project like none other we had done before: a Westfield Shopping Centre. If you know anything about automation, you can understand how an automation system would have a massive positive influence on the way the business operates and save the company thousands of dollars off their power bills. It is basically a necessity for such a large building nowadays – especially one with the incredible amount of lights that a Westfield has – think all the stores, common areas and all the carparks!
Due to the immense size of the site, we had to utilise multiple C-Bus networks with multiple network automation controllers. We then had to make all the controllers talk to each other over the data network. The project was complicated by the way the building was wired, we couldn’t just use an individual controller per level. This meant that in order to graphically represent it in a way that the users could understand and easily control, and to make it seem like it was all one NAC, we had to dedicate a single NAC to Visualisation and write custom LUA scripting which would trigger and receive feedback of C-Bus devices on the other networks when objects were turned on or off on the dedicated Visualisation NAC. Have a look at the image below to view the finalised Visualisation.
This project was mainly set up to run on time-based schedules for lighting; meaning that certain lights will turn on at certain times, all programmed to suit the shopping centre’s needs. These schedules are easily customised so maintenace staff have the ability to quickly adjust the time scheduling in holiday periods, for example, if they have extended opening hours at Christmas time they can change the schedule so the trading lights won’t turn off until later in the night. And this doesn’t have to just be maintenance staff locally on site- staff at the head office in Sydney can also remotely view the Visualisation of what’s happening on site from their computers, control the lights and edit the schedules. Ryelec can also remotely access the system to make any necessary additions or maintenance.
A site this large can very easily become overwhelming, busy and cluttered visually – you’re trying to fit an entire shopping centre floor onto one computer screen! So we worked to simplify the interface as much as possible. Creating the floor plans for each level with all the carpark lines proved to be a time-consuming job but it was well worth it, we think. Users just select the level they want to control, click on an area of the floor plan and that area will pop up, whiting out all other areas on the floor plan to make it seem less cluttered. Then, the lights for that area are all displayed and quickly controlled. Back on the floor plan, indicator glows for large areas or small dots for individual lights represent what is currently turned on in the shopping centre. Looking at the images below might give you a better idea of how we displayed the huge building into a small screen!
Integrating into the site’s BMS system, Ryelec worked to simplify the business practices and allow a very fast, easy-to-use and visual-appealing automation interface – taking a very large site plan (see left) and turning it into an automation system that really works for the customer, saving them an incredible amount of time, staff involvement and money!