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Building Automation Life Cycle

Explaining the life cycles of a control system

Why would a brand-new automation system need an upgrade in less than a year? Woodman Controls gets that question a lot, so let’s take a closer look at the parts of the control system and learn how you can spot the need for an upgrade.

1. Software

Typically, your system’s software needs to be evaluated every six months, and ideally your system should be under an annual contract to handle any necessary upgrades. Updates often are necessary when a web browser is updated. If you’re unable to access your system through your browser, it’s a good indication that it’s time to upgrade. Minor revisions can be relatively inexpensive—and may keep your system efficient and viable without necessitating costly equipment upgrades.

2. Front-end/System Level Controller These controllers have a life span of about 3 to 7 years. You’ll know it’s time to replace the unit when your system is running slowly, struggling to adapt to new software, or taking longer to load graphics. Even if your software Is relatively current, this sluggishness can suggest the controller is nearing the end of its service life.

3. Field-Level Devices/Controller This component in your automated system has the longest shelf life, typically between 7 to 25 years. Often, we’ll begin to see problems with these units at about the 10- to 12-year mark, so you should be planning—and budgeting—for an upgrade before your units are this old. If you wait too long to upgrade, you may find that you can’t buy the same unit and instead, may have to cobble together different types of units to keep your system running. This can be accomplished, but it’s hard to keep consistency in your building with this sort of configuration.

Wondering what to do to keep your system running properly and efficiently? Watch our video to learn more about system upgrades, or contact Woodman Controls at 515-964-0904 to discuss your project.

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