September 22, 2019
When it comes to systems, ‘Interoperability’ has always been a concern.
Interoperability is a characteristic of a product or system, whose interfaces are completely understood, to work with other products or systems, at present or in the future, in either implementation or access, without any restrictions.
As per Estidama PW-R2: Exterior Water Monitoring Requirements, all water meters has to be connected to central monitoring system.
Building Management Systems (BMS) or Central Monitoring Systems (CMS) is a computer based control system installed in buildings that controls and monitors the building’s mechanical and electrical equipment.
Water meters under BMD product representation comes with pulse and mbus output for integration with system. However, nowadays BMS system understands mostly BACnet and Modbus communication protocol.
In 2016 Diehl Metering suggested to use a ADFweb make gateway to convert Mbus protocol to BACnet or Modbus communication protocol. ADFweb, Italy develop and produce electronic equipment’s like gateways with combination of different communication protocols & I/O Electronic boards. They sell products all around the world through online and through resellers. There are no distributors in UAE region, hence products are bought directly from factory.
- ADFweb do not have local representatives i.e. technical support is provided remotely.
- Faced difficulty in coordinating with ADFweb for remote support.
- Gateways are delivered as non-configured modules which has to be configured based on site requirements.
- Non-configured modules requires two sets of configuration:
- Limited support from Diehl Metering as gateways are not Diehl Metering products.
- Post configuration challenges: If gateways or water meters were not discovered by BMS, customer & BMS supplier blamed compatibility of gateways or water meters.
With previous experience in systems, configuration of the gateway was:
- majorly self-learned by reading manuals.
- trial & error in BMD workshop.
- testing of gateways at site.
- remote support from ADFweb.
- initial support from Mr. Daison, Diehl Metering.
2. POST CONFIGURATION (COMMISSIONING ACTIVITY):
- For BACnet IP or MS/TP – Mbus points from gateway is read via YABE software (third part software).
- For Modbus – Configured modbus registers is read via Modscan software (third party software).
- Reading via a third party software demonstrated that:
- water meters are communicating with gateway
- gateway is giving a BACnet IP or MS/TP output
In 2016, timely solution provided during a market change (new developments/ requirements), allowed sales team to quote water meters for sub-metering projects with BACnet & Modbus protocol and which indeed protected BMD’s sub-metering business from competitive erosion*. * Note that our competitors have water meters with direct BACnet & Modbus output.
Eventually in most of the project’s, BMS requirement changed to BACnet and Modbus i.e. we are selling water meters with more gateways compared to IZAR Center (Mbus Master).
As per approved costing, below rates are included in sales price as basic configuration charges for each unit. For on site support, we are charging site rates additionally.
1. Project: Baniyas Court Project, Abu Dhabi | Customer: Johnson Controls | Items: Mbus to BACnet IP gateway (1 no.)
2. Project: Marzoq Mubarak Al Mansoury Mosque, Abu Dhabi | Customer: Pillixy Contracting L.L.C. | Items: Mbus to BACnet MS/TP (1 no.)
3. Project: Amana Buildings, Dubai | Customer: Amana Contracting | Items: Mbus to Modbus (1 no.)
4. Project: Mashreq Bank HQ Project, Dubai | Customer: Bilt Middle East | Items: Mbus to BACnet IP gateway (2 nos.) fitted inside enclosure
- Contractors can apply for Estidama clearance only after demonstrating reading of instruments in BMS and hence interfacing of water meters has always been a critical activity.
- Contractors have limited knowledge in systems and are totally dependent on BMS supplier and solution provider (BMD).
- Our support on calls and on site basis, has allowed contractors to demonstrate water meter readings in BMS during Estidama inspections. Our timely support to interface meters with BMS has always been appreciated.