Excellumax simplifies shopping malls management of utility bills with mbEDGE
Cross charging utility bills, among the shop tenants in a shopping mall, in a way that is acceptable by everyone, is a recurring challenge for every facility manager. It is not only about giving everyone an invoice reflecting one’s fair share, it is also about controlling what the mall is charged by the utility companies and about keeping an eye on where the power and water goes. This way, the mall can comply with the criteria set by the property manager and take corrective actions to improve efficiency or avoid spills and thefts.
What is not measured is not managed
That is especially true for facility managers, who need to get the picture of the mall consumption as clear and accurate as can be. Of course, the contractor, who laid the water pipes and the electricity cables, installed sensors, counters and meters at every shop and, in the past, the index values were collected manually. Yet, that was a constant source of errors and no longer complies with the growing need for reliability and accuracy.
Moreover, as utilities costs are different according to the time of day (standard, peak, off peak) or the supply source (stand by or alternate off-grid generator), a more online and automated data acquisition is required.
On a technical side, also note that you cannot measure 200 Amperes in the same way you measure 2 or 20 Amperes. For such high current intensity, you need to use an indirect measure method, through a current transformer (CT) and these measuring devices need calibration and linearization, before a reliable and accurate value can be obtained.
Modern meters certainly have many advanced features, to optimize the accuracy of the measures or to trigger alarm notifications when pre-defined situations occur, but they are complex to configure and there are hundreds of meters in a shopping mall, spread over dozens of control cabinets.
Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
The Excellumax application not only automates the data collection, it also simplifies the management of the meters and the maintenance of the whole system. Because the solution operates autonomously and sends the data directly to the facility manager’s office, it also secures the data privacy. The mall owner is now the full owner of the utility management solution and can organize service and data analysis in complete independence.
mbEDGE is the IIoT firmware upgrade for MB connect line’s mbNET & mbNET.rokey industrial security routers. It opens a “user application space” on the unit, in the shape of a Docker / Container environment, with NodeRED pre-installed. That allows users to run their own application and display web dashboards directly on the unit, in a container or in the NodeRED environment, and take advantage of all the industrial hardware resources.
“Porting my application on mbEDGE was a very good step for us”, says Philip Möller, owner of Excellumax, “we run now on an industrial hardware, with all the connectivity requirements to interface the variety of meters we find in the field, and, on the software side, it offers me the right tools for development. Because it uses open source software and standard components such as NodeRED, I have more flexibility to introduce new features. Time to market is reduced and I gain in reactivity for my clients.”
Philip Möller, Owner of Excellumax
“The secure remote access to the application comes as a bonus.”, he adds, “It just makes it easy for us to give support or perform maintenance & updates on the software, and it comes with guarantees for the facility manager too, as they can give us access to the running application and not to their network.”
The Excellumax hardware (the actual mbNET, with the mbEDGE card, running the Excellumax software) can be pre-installed and commissioned in the cabinet, which saves time and brings interesting debugging tools for the cabling team, when they will put the whole installation in service.
The possibilities for further developments remain wide open as the MB connect line solution already foresees secure web accesses for facility managers, to status and diagnostic dashboards on the mbNET/mbEDGE unit. The mall owner could even acquire the remote access server, integrate it in the mall IT architecture and they could operate it by themselves: this would streamline even more the data acquisition and let them use it for many other building management purposes, such as HVAC, cameras, alarm systems, etc.
Established in 2011 to provide general industrial system integration and control system implementation services to various industries, Excellumax Automation turned its focus early and specialised in the implementation of building control system solutions for the optimisation of energy consumption.
We believe that in today’s technological era it is important that your building can adapt to changes for maximizing comfort, convenience, energy savings, safety and security. Your building should be intelligently networked to allow the integration and visualization of heating and cooling systems, ventilation and air conditioning systems, lighting, sun-shading systems, as well as fire protection and security systems.
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