New Power Management Design Guides for Smart Buildings and Smart Factories

May 9, 2019

Christine Young  By: Christine Young
 Blogger, Maxim Integrated 


Today’s sophisticated buildings can do a lot for themselves if they’re designed with building automation technologies. Heating and cooling, lighting, access control, and security are just a few of the functions that can now be automated. With modern control and automation techniques, building operators can manage their sites remotely using software, networked automation equipment, analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and the cloud.

Designing building automation systems calls for special attention to addressing issues such as energy efficiency, safety, reliability, and solution size. The architecture for a building automation system includes layers for management, control, and the field.

  • From a central spot, the management layer operates and controls the smart building. Actions can be taken as problems are uncovered in real time.
  • The control layer handles the building’s equipment control at the hardware level
  • The field layer utilizes intelligent sensors and actuators to collect data and perform various tasks

Aside from sensors and actuators, the other underlying electronic components enabling smart building functions include controllers and I/Os. All of these components in the field require processors and connectivity interfaces. This presents some new requirements on system hardware:

  • Smaller component sizes to accommodate additional electronics in the same chassis
  • Better energy efficiency to perform within the same or smaller thermal budget
  • Enhanced electrical and mechanical safety and reliability to reduce downtime

To learn how to meet these challenges with power management electronics, read the Power Management for the Smart Building Design Guide.

Smart BuildingWhen modern buildings are equipped with intelligent, energy-efficient underlying technologies, their lighting, heating/cooling, security, and a variety of other functions can be controlled remotely.

Meet Energy Efficiency and Solution Size Requirements for Smart Factories
Like smart buildings, smart factories also rely on electronic equipment to collect, synthesize, and act upon data. Driven by the vision of Industry 4.0 and industrial internet of things (IIoT) automation technologies, smart factories are delivering manufacturing efficiencies, throughput improvements, and maintenance cost advantages. The benefits stand to increase as more manufacturing lines go digital. However, as with smart buildings, designing the systems to enable increased intelligence as well as automation also requires addressing issues pertaining to energy efficiency, safety, reliability, and solution size.

Smart factories rely on the integration of time-sharing IT systems with real-time operational technology systems that monitor and control events, processes, and devices. Sensors deployed across the factory floor that are networked to I/O modules, actuators, controllers, and to the enterprise cloud make a variety of automated capabilities possible. For example, smart manufacturing equipment such as robots can pick and pack goods, perform certain manufacturing functions, and handle their own maintenance tasks. Smaller system sizes are giving rise to more modular manufacturing lines. An example is a networked set of assembly line robots that perform functions in a sequence—if similar robots are in this set, an adjacent robot can easily cover for a malfunctioning counterpart. The inclusion of AI algorithms can enable manufacturing bottlenecks to be identified and resolved in real time.

Again, as with smart buildings, the electronic components inside smart factory systems also need lots of processors and connectivity interfaces. Given this, the challenges for designing these systems are also similar, with requirements for higher energy efficiency, reduced solution size, and increased safety and reliability.

To learn how to meet these challenges with power management electronics, read the Power Management for the Smart Factory Design Guide.

Both of the design guides highlighted in this post provide case studies that illustrate techniques to address the key challenges, as well as product selector tables with suggested power management solutions.