Supermarket Refrigeration at the Touch of a Screen

Supermarket Refrigeration at the Touch of a Screen
Appeared in: KK DIE KÄLTE + Klimatechnik 4/2014, pages 58-59.
Technical paper from Eckelmann AG, Wiesbaden
Supermarket Refrigeration at the Touch of a Screen
Control systems for refrigeration systems are getting increasingly complex, the opposite should apply
to their operation. Therefore, manufacturers like Eckelmann are breaking completely new ground with
their central operating and control equipment and are focusing on touch technology to make the
operation of control systems as comfortable as possible.
Fig. 1: CI 4000, the new system control centre for E*LDS
The aim is optimum operation, fast and safe commissioning and maintenance of the systems. And
system information, e.g. for temperature documentation, should also be made easily accessible for
user groups with less experience in refrigeration technology such as store managers. In doing so, the
requirements for a system control centre are high and extremely diverse because they are far more
than "only" operator interfaces. As E*LDS is a system in which decentralised components take over
control tasks, particularly via CAN-Bus networked case controllers and pack controllers, central tasks
are delegated to a host computer. The most important central system functions include:
Configuration and parameterisation of all system components
Communication: internal via CAN bus and external interfaces such as Ethernet, Modbus etc.
Archiving of operating data
Energy and consumption data acquisition
Load management
Alarm management
System diagnostics
User administration
The unit monitors all operating data (e.g. pressures and temperatures) and optionally integrates the
building automation. Service centres can perform remote maintenance on E*LDS systems using
secure network connections and the CI 4000 as central access point. In this respect, it also functions
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as gateway between CAN bus and Ethernet. Among other things, the CI 4000 manages two different
CAN bus segments and the following other interfaces: Ethernet / LAN, 3 x RS232 / 1 x 485, 2 USB
(Host & Slave). A web server is integrated. Modbus is implemented for the standardised exchange of
process data with external systems. The most important innovations in operating philosophy matters
are described in more detail below.
Who is allowed to do what?
The CI 4000 clearly separates diagnostics and configuration. Specifically, this means: The
configuration menu is only accessible to authorised users who must authenticate themselves by
entering a password. Therefore, the corresponding button on the start screen is deactivated and
displayed as greyed out in the diagnostics mode. The improved authorisation concept increases the
security of E*LDS systems as unauthorised or accidental changes by unauthorised persons are largely
ruled out. The CI 4000 has user management with differentiated access rights; non-critical areas and
functions are freely accessible in the diagnostics mode. All logins are recorded in a log file.
On the other hand, due to the flat information architecture in the diagnostics mode, the concept
provides a significantly faster way to the relevant information for them to various user groups. One
example is the 24 hours temperature list which the store manager reaches with only one touch from
the starting screen. On the other hand, the refrigeration engineer who logs in as Administrator can go
more deeply into E*LDS via the hierarchically structured configuration menu: from the system
configuration to individual E*LDS components down to the temperature sensors and pressure
transmitters. Integrated DDCs for the building automation or external controllers can also be reached.
Users can return to the starting screen from every screen by tapping the Home button.
Faster overview
A significant advantage in comparison with the CI 3000 is an improved overview. The system overview
has comfortable list views of:
components: pack controllers, case controllers, wireless sensor system
connected energy and consumption meters
SIOX expansion modules with I/O assignment
Alarms and messages
With the new overviews, the system structure can be quickly understood or problems detected. The
list view compresses the most important information for the components: this includes address,
controller type, firmware version and last but not least operating status. This also enables faster
diagnosis of problems and thus accelerates the search for their causes. For example, if the list of all
case controllers is called up, all positions can be scrolled through in a few seconds. "Further
information" shows all available information in detail, particularly the actual values and setpoints.
Pending alarms and system messages can also be conveniently handled as scrolling lists. The search
for and acknowledgement / reset of error messages has been significantly simplified with this for the
refrigeration engineer. With 0 to 99 alarm priorities, the CI 4000 supports highly differentiated alarm
management. Particularly for the integration of GLT functions in E*LDS, this enables trade-related
mapping and forwarding of alarms.
For displays with many values such as the 24 hours temperature lists, accordion navigation makes the
balance between very detailed information and optimum utilisation of the display area. The hourly
average values for time windows of 8 hours each can be expanded. For example, it is possible in this
way for the store manager to identify problematic operation states very quickly. Critical temperatures
and defrost events are highlighted in colour and with icons.
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Fig. 2: 24 hours temperature list with defrost events and temperature alarms.
The display of operating data in the form of diagrams enables intuitive comprehension of temperature
or energy consumption profiles. The CI 4000 also provides options for the integration of system
visualisation. Up to now, only the comprehensive LDSWin PC configuration tool or the web service
LDSWeb provided a comparable clear overview. It is planned for the future that the store manager will
also be able to call up the user interface of the CI 4000 as web interface directly in his browser.
Fig. 3: Graphical display of a temperature profile.
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Improved input
The touch screen of the CI 4000 means a completely new user interface. As compared with a line
display with numeric block foil keypad as with the CI 3000, the operation has become significantly
more intuitive and considerably fewer steps are necessary for the same tasks. The CI 4000 displays a
virtual keyboard for the input of values or text. And if the context only allows numeric values, a numeric
keypad is displayed, with required special characters if necessary. The virtual keyboard is used for
example in the formulas for the configuration for individual components.
The direct comparison makes the advantage clear: While every value had to be selected and edited
individually for the CI 3000, several parameters can now be adjusted and transferred en bloc. For
some fields, a drop-down selection box with possible values is available. This is not only quicker, but
also minimises incorrect entries. Configuration parameters have been summarised in one screen
where they are required.
These are only some examples of the improved usability. The developer team at Eckelmann has paid
a lot of attention to the overall interaction design because it is only with really well thought out and
intuitive user interfaces that the strengths of the touch screen technology can be used efficiently.
Using the so-called terminal mode, remote operation of the individual components is possible for the
CI 4000; the interface of the CI 3000 has been emulated virtually on the CI 4000 for this. Thereby, the
system control centre becomes quasi an extended "workbench" and replaces separate operator
USB as service interface
The CI 4000 has practical USB ports (Host & Slave) for service use. The notebook with LDSWin can
be easily connected using these; particularly as serial interfaces are no longer installed on many
current notebooks which made cumbersome adapter solutions necessary in the past.
Author: Michael Suhre, E*LDS Product Manager
Brochure for CI 4000:
Data sheet for CI 4000:
Eckelmann AG
Berliner Straße 161
65205 Wiesbaden
Telephone: +49 (0)611 7103-0
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