33-Floor Bank of America Tower Migrates CFMS to Ignition
Bank of America’s property manager, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), took the opportunity to use their newest building as the starting point to migrate to a new system for monitoring the building’s critical environments.
Bank of America Tower
Bank of America occupies 23 floors of the Bank of America Tower on 620 S Tryon Street in Charlotte, North Carolina. The facility contains critical environments in which computer and network hardware must maintain the highest levels of availability to support bank operations.
Equipment in the building’s network equipment room needed to be monitored 24/7/365, including generators, ATS (automatic transfer switch), UPS (uninterruptible power supply), PDUs (power distribution units), switchboards, AC units, fire alarm, and EPO (emergency power off) systems.
Additionally, equipment on each floor’s east and west technology rooms that support computer and network infrastructure for bank personnel also required around-the-clock support.
One of Bank of America’s current challenges is that they are experiencing a lot of change. Moving out of locations, relocating personnel, and changing/growing the number of system users means deleting and adding systems to their Critical Facility Monitoring System (CFMS), used by approximately 20 facilities. The Wonderware software they use imposes a tag and user quota on their license, which meant as Bank of America’s systems grew and the number of future users and pieces of equipment became more unsure, upgrade costs become more expensive.
As part of a previous project a few years prior, Affinity Energy recommended that Bank of America’s property manager, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) migrate the system away from Wonderware, due to other cost effective emerging solutions (e.g., Inductive Automation Ignition) that include web hosting and viewing. While web capability is possible with Wonderware, it is cost prohibitive. While the proposal was well received, the budget didn’t exist to migrate away from Wonderware at that time.
When JLL approached Affinity Energy to integrate Bank of America Tower systems into the enterprise CFMS, Affinity Energy instead proposed the project launch the migration to Inductive Automation Ignition.
Ignition has an unlimited tag count and includes unlimited users/clients/developers that can access and use the system. From an investment standpoint, it allows JLL to lock in their first cost of software.
With the amount of change within Bank of America’s different properties and critical environments, JLL’s investment was a simple decision, even without a clear picture of the future number of users or pieces of equipment. Integration costs to develop the SCADA system for the new building were already paid for as part of the project, so JLL took the new building opportunity to fund the build and development with Ignition software.
Affinity Energy built the CFMS using Inductive Automation’s Ignition platform, which made sense for the size of Bank of America, a critical facility with many points and users.
Because Ignition is OPC-centric, Affinity Energy was able to repurpose the existing OPC data acquisition servers. That meant engineers didn’t have to spend time and resources remapping equipment from a data acquisition perspective. It also increased confidence in the accuracy of the migration, with less need for re-verification.
When Affinity Energy started developing the system, engineers had to make a quick decision on which graphical module to utilize. Ignition has two methods of developing platform graphics. Their traditional Vision Module, or the new, more web-centric Perspective Module, developed after the advent of IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things).
Perspective didn’t have the full capabilities of the tried and true Vision graphic module. However, it allows new opportunities to enhance and customize the platform. On the other hand, work customizing a graphic (such as an alarm widget) might go wasted after Inductive Automation provides that same capability in the next Ignition release as they continue to improve Perspective.
After Affinity Energy consulted with Inductive Automation, it was clear Ignition’s future is being steered in Perspective’s direction. The long term benefit will allow more options going forward, including web-centric applications.
Affinity Energy system integrators began their project in Q4 2018. In Q3 2019, Affinity Energy completed all major infrastructure in the UPS, generator, network equipment, and main point of entry rooms. With a new Ignition CFMS, critical facilities within the building are monitored 7/24/365 and critical alarms sent via email to appropriate personnel.
The Bank of America Tower allowed Affinity Energy to put the framework in place for other JLL/Bank of America capital projects. After the successful migration at Bank of America Tower, JLL asked Affinity Energy to begin migrating:
- Bank of America Triad Building in Greensboro, NC
- 401 N Tryon in Charlotte, NC
- Bank of America Corporate Center in Charlotte, NC
- Wake Forest University Charlotte Center
The goal is that as capital improvement projects arise in additional Bank of America buildings, they will evaluated for migration to Ignition.