OPTODEV, Inc., a subsidiary of Essilor International, one of the leading global players in health care, has been a producer of high-index ophthalmic lenses for the medical sector since 1998. Their plant in Laguna, Philippines, is considered a “Center of Manufacturing Excellence” and mass produces a number of Essilor’s more notable brands.
To meet strict product-quality standards and to address environmental safety and health compliance requirements, OPTODEV’s manufacturing facility demands precise control over the temperature and relative humidity while maintaining 100 percent outside air. This also serves to ensure a comfortable and safe workplace for its employees.
Such sophisticated requirements can be very energy-intensive on the facility and taxing on personnel. To eliminate settling of particulates and to dilute possible clean room contamination to an acceptable level, the air must be properly conditioned and ventilated at a minimum of 10 changes per hour. This caused the building’s old electromechanical, manually-operated HVAC system to use a substantial amount of energy. Further, the company had, for many years, manually monitored their clean environments with traditional chart recorders. These systems and processes were highly inefficient and lacked any sort of alarm mechanism to alert personnel to out-of-specification building conditions.
In search of ways to significantly reduce both energy costs and time spent manually monitoring environmental conditions of the building, OPTODEV turned to energy management contractor Asyst Power Technologies. The challenge? Develop a retrofit master plan to replace individual, antiquated systems with a fully-open, interconnected BACnet® building automation system. Representing Siemens Industry, Inc. at the time, Asyst chose the APOGEE BACnet BAS suite for Phase I and began by retrofitting the manually-operated HVAC system with a fully automated DDC system flexible enough to address all specific requirements of system equipment (AHUs, boilers, chillers, etc.).
Initial operating costs savings were estimated at 20 percent annually, with actual measured costs metrics for the first year showing closer to 25 percent savings.
While pleased with the initial phase of the retrofit, dissatisfaction with on-going manufacturer support in the Philippines, and the customer’s desire for increased energy savings caused Asyst to switch their offering to another BACnet manufacturer—KMC Controls.
“We chose to switch our offering to KMC Controls due to their highly interoperable and reliable BACnet product line, and also for their renowned product support,” said Liberato Donato, VP of Operations at Asyst. “Our customer wanted more energy savings, but we had squeezed all we could out of the original system. We needed a more capable solution.”
Asyst initiated Phase II of the project, which expanded the overall building system and seamlessly integrated the original system with the more capable KMC BACnet system. Through the installation of a number of BTL-listed, KMC BACnet Building Controllers , expansion modules, electronic actuators, and sensors, as well as the improved customization of control sequences, Asyst was able to better optimize and fully automate complex control functions of the entire building management system. The system more closely monitors and controls the conditioning and use of outside air and better detects and adjusts air-handling devices based on predetermined set points and other occupancy conditions. Because the facility runs around the clock, the system’s responsiveness is vital to overall performance and energy efficiency.
All process and control upgrades were accomplished while the plant remained at full capacity without any interruption in production and plant cooling. Preliminary savings projections were estimated at an additional 10–15 percent in operating costs, with results indicating savings more in the 15–20 percent range. The plant has expanded capacity by over 20 percent, while measured energy cost metric (KWH/GL) has dropped by over 20 percent. Also, due to systems automation, air-conditioning start-ups can now be performed by only one technician enabling other plant technicians to focus on more technical tasks.
The KMC TotalControl web-based workstation replaced the existing operator workstation, allowing for improved data-handling capabilities, trending analysis, and automated alarm notifications to facility engineers. KMC TotalControl made it possible to record and produce reports denoting exact compliance with, and deviation from, the specified room conditions, for example, pressure, temperature, and humidity.
The flexibility provided by KMC’s building automation and control solutions was exactly what OPTODEV, Inc. needed.
“Our highest priority was to find a local systems integrator who could provide reliable hardware and flexible software to meet the needs of our complex sequence of operation, as well as our monitoring and alarming needs,” said Herman Robles, Head of Energy Conservation Projects at OPTODEV Inc. “KMC Controls and Asyst Power Technologies have met all of these challenges, and provided us an intuitive, simple to understand GUI,” he added. By creating an open and sustainable BACnet building automation system, KMC and Asyst have provided for a modern-day level of data input, reduced overall operating costs and have laid the groundwork for future upgrades.