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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Students at SENAI in Brazil Get Hands on Building Automation Experience

  • Students at SENAI in Brazil undertook automation of the Controls Laboratory as a project to demonstrate the development of a building automation system, using InduSoft Web Studio as the SCADA platform.

  • The laboratory is controlled by a PLC MicroLogix 1500 LRP Series C and Indusoft Web Studio  through the ABENI communication protocol. The system consists of power circuits to control lighting and air conditioning, all of which are controlled on a PC.

  • The resulting SCADA supplication has saved energy costs, and given SENAI engineers and students an opportunity to test their theories and develop a building automation system that will soon be implemented throughout the building.

Figure 1: Each station of the application has individual control options. Temperature controls can be set with a scheduler that allows timed control of the HVAC system for better energy management.


Serviço Nacional de Aprendizagem Industrial (SENAI) is one of the most important institutions in Brazil, providing formal training for specialized workers for the industries of automation, mechanics, engineering, construction, and more.

With over 73 years of experience in vocational training for the industry, SENAI produces students that have the training and background required to step immediately into the workforce. The Rondonópolis unit was created in May 25, 1980, and was attended in 2014 by a total of 25,240 students in various fields of industry knowledge, including Control and Automation.

A part of the vocational training offered to automation students in Rondonópolis in 2015 was the opportunity to develop a building automation system for the Control and Automation labs. The development of a lighting and air conditioning control system would not only allow students to test their vocational skills in a hands-on setting, but it would give the Automation and Control labs an advanced automation system that could be used to showcase student skills, save energy costs, and give new students access to a fully functioning automation system.

Figure 2: The application was designed and implemented by students in the program at SENAI.

The Challenge

Marcos Vinicius Ribeiro, an Engineer and professor in the Control and Automation Program at SENAI, was overseeing a student project that would serve automation needs within the school facility and offer students an opportunity to develop their skills with hands-on training in designing systems and developing HMI interfaces.

The Control and Automation buildings utilized a standard lighting and air conditioning system that was not automated. It could not accommodate scheduling or changes in demand. Light switches were manual and could be left on when rooms were unattended, and the HVAC had no way to compensate for periods of heavy activity or seasonal changes in temperature.

As a part of the program, a team of students, Wederson Duarte and Amanda Martins, were tasked to create a building automation system to monitor lab conditions, along with the assistance of engineers Felipe P. T. Fernandes and Marcos V. Ribeiro. The system had to allow students to control lighting and air conditioning, and had to be cost-effective to remain on budget. They had to develop a system that would allow scheduling of cooling and lighting to improve energy efficiency within the building.

The students, now technicians in electrical engineering, chose InduSoft Web Studio as the platform for the SCADA system that would control the lab. InduSoft web studio offers SCADA software for use in educational settings, and has an educational partnership with SENAI.


The Solution

The laboratory is controlled by a PLC MicroLogix 1500 LRP Series C and Indusoft Web Studio through the ABENI communication protocol. The system consists of power circuits to control lighting and air conditioning, all of which are controlled on a PC running an InduSoft Web Studio SCADA application.

On the main screen of the application, users can control the entire laboratory using the functions of the menu. The entire operation of the lab environment can be controlled, including turning lights on or off, or adjusting the temperature. Three additional sub-menus will display the connectivity of the equipment, and allow operators to see if any of the equipment is not connected or not functioning properly.

The lighting screen offers students control of the lighting in the room and also displays the status of ambient light, which allows operators to make the most effective use of lighting resources.

The air conditioning screen allows operators to control the HVAC system. If an operator attempts to turn off air conditioning while the schedule is enabled, a warning will alert the user to disable the scheduling before continuing. Scheduling can be adjusted for periods of high or low activity and can conserve energy on the weekends when the laboratory is not in use.

In case of an emergency, a button can be pushed on the application or on the physical system to stop the system. Pressing the button on the HMI screen or manually will display a message that will allow the operator to confirm that they wish to shut down the laboratory operation. Several buttons within the application confirm commands or inform the operator what actions will occur if a button is pressed.

Security has been implemented on the InduSoft Web Studio application. Only users who have been trained in the system can access the functions of the application via username and password authentication. Only users with the proper credentials can make changes to the application.


Figure 3: The lighting screen allows for manual or automated control of the lighting within the laboratory.

The Results

The development of this application has resulted in many benefits for the engineers, the students, and the school. The teachers were able to offer a practical demonstration of the use of InduSoft Web Studio in real time. Students now have experience developing and maintaining a building automation system, and will be able to demonstrate their capabilities to future employers. They have familiarity with InduSoft Web Studio, which will make it easy to become Certified system integrators in the future.

For SENAI, the result is a decrease in energy costs, and the ability to schedule energy use to maximize the efficiency of the lighting and heating throughout the engineering lab. SENAI intends to implement the control system throughout other parts of the facility for full control of the entire building.

Students Kléverson Nascimento Silva and Werik Emanoel Da Silva Oliveira in the technical automation department are already adding improvements to the application, such as secure access to the control laboratory with door controls using InduSoft Web Studio. They have also suggested implementing energy consumption management, charting and reporting, and data on the costs of energy use.

Figure 4: The laboratory is controlled by a PLC MicroLogix 1500 LRP Series C and Indusoft Web Studio through the ABENI driver.

For more information contact your local distributor or InduSoft directly at info@indusoft.com or 877-INDUSOFT (877-463-8763877-463-8763) or 512-349-0334512-349-0334.

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