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The infrastructure industry is progressing towards building better systems that monitor and control energy use in buildings. But, it is still struggling to acquire software that can identify and diagnose a problem promptly and provide building managers with actionable information.

There is a fault that may be occurring in the building systems. It usually goes undetected because you don’t know it’s even there. No matter how much you make an investment in the building automation system (BAS) and energy efficiency equipment, it won’t minimize overall energy usage if not appropriately optimized and maintained. The benefit lies in using the BAS with fault detection, diagnostics, and optimization analytics (FDD).

FDD is software that identifies irregularities in the performance of vital equipment such as boilers, chillers, motors, elevators, pumps, exhaust fans, etc. The latest advancements in FDD have enabled the software to translate these irregularities into real-world faults and provide notifications to operators. It tells the root cause of the problem arising in the buildings and gives information on how to resolve it. This concept has been around for several decades and has found practical application in several fields, including aerospace, automotive, manufacturing, nuclear, and national defense.

How do fault detection and diagnosis work?

The goal of FDD is to reduce the underlying risk in the buildings and refine operations through monitoring, fault detection, and diagnostics. There is no need to worry if your process and system don’t include all the steps to their full extent. After all, FDD is a tool utilized in the digital transformation journey. Here’s know how it works:

  • Monitoring

The implementation of FDD starts from monitoring. Data collection plays an important part in fault detection. Hence monitoring is the prerequisite of FDD. The actual representation of the data comes from the quality. The use of technology like data historians and predictive analytics improves the monitoring capability. It helps organizations overcome data mismanagement.

  • Detection and Identification

The next step is fault identification and where did it occur. With FDD software, industries can detect and identify previous unnoticed deviations. It has the potential to simplify the system complexity.

Organizations can leverage this software and always-on monitoring to pinpoint deviations.

  • Diagnosis

Faults may happen due to random malfunctions or issues in the process or operation. It takes time to understand the issue and minimize the probability of the faults. Hence, the diagnosis is necessary. Once the fault is detected and identified, the immediate goal is to take corrective action to rectify it. FDD determines the fault size, its impact on the system performance, and how it behaves at different times. A follow-up is a must while making an analysis and evaluation. In the simplistic approach, the FDD detects a fault and attempts to diagnose the issue utilizing the three available sensor readings.

This technology is employed regularly in industrial process management, automotive, and aerospace engineering. It smartly diagnoses the problems in buildings and informs human operators of the errors occurring in the systems.

Why is it important?

For streamlining the operation, you need to have a dynamic understanding of the environment to identify the problem. Fault detection does a lot more than just warning operators that there’s been a spike in energy consumption. If something goes wrong in the systems, the engineers will try their best to identify the problem. But, the availability of the data makes the work easier as they can look at the data, at the system, figure out the issue, fix it, and put it to rest. Fault detection and diagnosis technology bake this knowledge into algorithms. The next time, you can identify the exact problem if any issue arises.

Undetected faults in equipment can bring underlying issues. A “fault” does not necessarily have to be the result of a complete failure. Fault detection makes judgments based on incomplete data. Usually, this data is collected from sensors attached to a robust Building Management System (BMS). In the 90% of buildings not having a BMS installed, the only datasets accessible from spreadsheets, maintenance logs, and utility bills combined together. These are the “blind spots” that can be filled by incorporating equipment-level submeter solutions.

The FDD offers a range of benefits to building applications. Whether it is about providing guidance when data is noisy or incomplete, identifying numerous simultaneous faults, or operating nearly in real-time to reveal those faults in no time, it can do all. Even in steady-state and dynamic conditions, powerful technology can function smoothly in both.

Why implement FDD in buildings?

 Around 5% to 30% of the energy consumed in commercial buildings gets wasted because of equipment failure or operational faults. FDD provides proven solutions that improve the performance of buildings. At the same time, it brings comfort, reduces energy, ultimately saves time and money.

What’s next?

As the internet of things (IoT) evolves and wireless sensors become further productive in buildings, FDD platforms will perform better with the available data.

Most FDD platforms identify only faults and optimization opportunities as of now. The next step in its evolution will include optimization of operations, application of machine logic that will automatically update software algorithms to self-correct and self-optimize regularly. The renewables, battery technology, and microgrids will steer buildings towards net zero. There is much more to FDD as it will soon meet energy targets and empower the idea of energy savings.

The application of FDD in building automation systems (BAS) is a must as it minimizes risk and improves operations.

Why choose Zenatix?

Zenatix is an AI-enabled cloud platform that delivers actionable insights and makes manual interventions more efficient by providing IoT solutions. The aim is to create an automation space with our advanced automation solutions. We smartly apply fault detection and diagnosis software, whether it is a five-star building or a mini retail store.

It doesn’t matter where your organization is on its mission, maintain it, and don’t forget to plead for help when needed. Here’s to improved and automated operations with our IoT solutions!

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