June 2008

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ISA Training Course Introduction to Building Automation Systems (EA15)

by Ken Sinclair Editor/Owner AutomatedBuildings.com

I was asked by ISA to provide input plus a review of their New Building Automation course

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I am extremely impressed with the course that Ken Kolkebeck has put together.  In this email Ken expresses concern about getting the message out about the value of his course. Please read my review and tell us both where best this great course fits in our industry.

Right now I have it down for October 1-3 in Houston, Tx and as far as I know this is the only planned course time. Outside of ISA mailings and word of mouth from people like you and me, I donít think there is much in the way of promotion beyond that. Any ideas? It was a lot of work to put this together and so of course I would like to see it used.
Ken Kolkebeck

This course is only offered as instructor-led at this time.

The course was created by ISA to train their automation professionals in the art and science of building automation. Once the usefulness of Ken's course is realized I feel it will likely become the standard for Building Automation Systems Training for our industry.

I am very pleased to inform the Building Automation Industry of its existence. The core of the course is a 363 slide power point presentation that starts with insight on how to present the course with the scope and goals all well outlined.

A great job in describing the scope of our industry; one of the best introductions I have seen. The history of our industry is covered and how simple controls can quickly become complex in their application. The islands of automation are well described. The course then flows in to the history and peeks ahead to future trends while dealing with the big picture market organization of our industry. The actually user profile is discussed as well. This is all subject matter that I have not seen in a BAS training course before. The specification of control is discussed and the problems of delivery.

One of the best jobs I have seen of providing an overview of the HVAC processes that are our industry. Even a peek into HVAC design and why we do what we do. There is a discussion of codes and standards that effect our industry. A great identification of all the myriad of bits of equipment that must be controlled is provided with great pictures of most so students can visualize the systems to be controlled.

Great explanation of the processes that occur at every level in the air conditioning industry backed up with great graphics. The course then shows how direct digital control can knit this all together. Networks are discussed in good detail and various attributes discussed. Again one of the best overview of the protocol wars I have seen.

An explanation of ISA Symbols format is given, something most folks in our industry know little about. This is of particular interest to me as this is how I came to know ISA in 1975 as we were assembling what had never been built - one of the first DDC systems and we needed a method of creating our control drawings and adopted the ISA standards.

Specialized applications are discussed.  This is information that is not generally understood and unless you have worked in hospitals, labs and/or animal labs you are not likely to be exposed to this type of information.

A great discussion of sensing and measurement again with excellent pictures to quickly allow students the ability to visualize actual devices.

This flows into a discussion on actuation, analog outputs devices, relays, to the assembly of a complete control drawing.

Computer interfaces are well discussed evolving quickly to web type interfaces that show the power of graphics.

Then the concepts move into large complex applications such as a campus and the complexities with in.

Next the course head in a directions to take all you have learned and become a control contractor and provides insight into all building trades and specialty areas such as fire, security, CCTV, etc.

Project configuration example is provided that answers many questions as to how do I actually do this and deal with configuration, programming, graphic generation.

This flows into how would you manage the project.

And of course like every great course it ends with a review of what you have learned.

The last page even links you back to AutomatedBuildings.com for ongoing information about the industry.

In my 40+ years in the industry I have never seen such a complete course that deals with the building automation industry.

If you are new to the industry and are trying to get a toe hold on what is Building Automation or have new staff that needs to come up to speed quickly I would recommend that you take this great course assembled by Ken Kolkebeck and ISA.

Ken Sinclair Editor/Owner AutomatedBuildings.com

Introduction to Building Automation Systems (EA15)


This real-world-based course will give you a broad introductory understanding of the specific issues involved with Building Automation Systems (BAS). In this course, you will survey the world of BAS including: History and future of BAS; Digital Direct Control (DDC) Basics; Field Devices; The Human Machine Interface (HMI); BAS Design and Specification; Energy Conservation Control Strategies; and System Maintenance.

You will be able to:

  • Identify and describe the major components in a BAS

  • Identify and describe the basic mechanical components and controls in an HVAC control system

  • Describe and explain the basic functions of DDC systems

  • Reference codes and standards applicable to BAS

  • Describe and explain HMI basics

  • Explain BAS in non-ATC systems (lighting, fire, security, etc.)

  • Explain the process of implementing BAS

  • Explain Energy Conservation Strategies

  • Justify control components for project work

  • Know where to look for additional references. Describe the major components in a Building Automation System

 You will cover:

  • Building Automation Overview:  What is Building Automation? | BAS History and Future Trends | Delivery of BAS

  • BAS Applications:  Building HVAC Basics | Space Condition Controls | Air Handler Controls | Central Utilities | Non-ATC Systems | Energy Conservation Control Strategies

  • BAS System Solutions:  Digital Direct Control (DDC) Basics | Field Devices

  • BAS System Delivery:  Design and Specification | Project Engineering | Application Development | Implementation | Maintenance

  • The Human Machine Interface (HMI)Applications:  ASHRAE defined


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