Smart Home Energy Management Product for Milbank
From brainstorm to product launch
Milbank, an industry leader in meter mounting equipment and enclosures, wind turbines and diesel generator sets for the US market, were aiming to enter the Smart Grid sector. They tasked Sentec with designing and producing a new energy control product, the integrated automatic transfer switch (I-ATS), in time for demonstrating at a major trade show, Distributech, the utility industry's leading smart grid conference.
The challenge - one stop home energy management
The requirement of the I-ATS is to provide an integrated metrology, control, communications and protection solution to manage electrical sources (e.g. wind turbines, solar PV, generator sets), storage solutions (e.g. battery storage, EVs) and loads (e.g. air conditioners, water heaters) at up to 200A per channel so that they work together. The system behaviour needs to be controlled and reported through a custom User Interface that is platform independent.
"The engineering creativity of Sentec combined with the market and manufacturing presence of Milbank is proving to be the right combination to complete the development of the product and fulfilment of the business need.”
Sentec were involved from the initial brainstorming of the idea, and created the initial product requirement and technical specification. Sentec developed and subsequently engineered the functional components of the system, including metrology and communications electronics, GUI (see image top right) and mechanical design. Milbank engineered the enclosure and busbars for integration of the system with protection devices.
The I-ATS provides a solution to the increasing number of problems seen when multiple devices that are not designed to work together are put into a single installation – turning a “dumb” automatic transfer switch into a smart solution capable of meeting the demands of the modern high power electrical system. It is also capable of interfacing with the most common Smart Meter communications link (ZigBee SEP1.1) so that it can directly respond to utility charging rates and the future requirements of the Smart Grid.
The first development phase of the I-ATS system was a great success. Having worked with Milbank to develop the concept, Sentec developed a working prototype for launch at Distributech 2011 in San Diego, delivering against a tight timeline.
The exciting new system was very well received at the show where Milbank had the opportunity to introduce it to a wide audience. Sentec's GUI has provided a simple user interface which enables the end consumer to choose between simple options such as 'best ecomony' or 'most green' and the system does the rest for them.
Milbank has since been pursuing promising opportunities to pilot the system while Sentec continues to work with Milbank to refine and broaden the system’s technical capabilities.
Eric Krichbaum, COO at Milbank, said,
"We began the integrated automatic transfer switch (I-ATS) program with a concept and a perceived need within the industry. The eventual product developed to date by the teams from Milbank and Sentec has received very positive feedback from prospective clients. The engineering creativity of Sentec combined with the market and manufacturing presence of Milbank is proving to be the right combination to complete the development of the product and fulfilment of the business need.”
Milbank and Sentec have continued to develop this system, it is now branded 'Synap6'
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