The technology company ecocoach has developed a comprehensive graphic solution for building automation and energy management using Beckhoff technology. The PLC-based automation system includes an encrypted and secure connection to the cloud and makes it possible to configure and control building technology components even without programming knowledge. A top-notch Smart Home and Smart Building app as well as a complete energy management module with seamlessly integrated energy storage are also available.

Solar systems and charging stations for electric vehicles can be integrated, monitored and controlled quickly and easily as needed. An additional module includes professional analysis and invoicing for all loads in larger buildings and housing estates.

“With the ecocoach system, installers and system integrators can use tried-and-tested Beckhoff automation components in their buildings and profit from the industry standard, even if they lack programming knowledge. By eliminating the need for PLC programming and the creation of a graphic app interface, we have reduced total installation time by at least 80 percent, meaning that even experienced Beckhoff experts can benefit from the system,” explains Florian Oechslin, head of projects at ecocoach AG.

The ecocoach system is technology independent. In addition to its graphic interface, it offers a direct interface to the Beckhoff automation software TwinCAT 3 for integrating customer function blocks. After the new function blocks have been thoroughly inspected, ecocoach incorporates them into the graphical environment, so that they can be reused again and again without the need for additional programming.

The combination of Beckhoff hardware and ecocoach software makes automation projects simple. Solar engineers, qualified electricians and system integrators use a project-specific electrical schematic to implement the necessary Beckhoff components and the desired functions. To do this, they integrate pre-programmed function blocks into the project using drag and drop, define the inputs and outputs and specify the default settings.

ecocoach’s ecoSetupTool then independently writes the PLC code onto the controller and in a matter of minutes it’s ready to go. The last step is to use the graphic interface to parameterise the integrated components and systems such as the energy management system in accordance with customer requirements.

With its open system architecture and flexible expansion options, the system can easily be adapted to any future changes to the building and can also be expanded to include additional devices. Tech-savvy owners can implement numerous changes themselves with the help of the SetupTool, eliminating the need for programming tasks in this area as well. The investment in hardware and software is secure thanks to our reliance on the industry standard with guaranteed backward compatibility and long-term parts availability.

The ecocoach platform features an intuitive Smart Home and Smart Building app that is easy to configure and can be used to control the optional energy management features. Settings for an entire flat can be stored in the app as scenes, so that the perfect ambiance is just a click away. The app also controls comfort features such as lock and security systems, blinds, lighting and room temperature. In addition, it visualises energy flows in the building and gives users and building operators the option to adjust the energy system as they wish.

In commercial enterprises, the Smart Building app controls lighting and blinds as well as room temperature and access. The solution also provides visual monitoring. Optionally, all energy flows and consumption of electricity, hot and cold water and heating etc. can be measured using calibrated smart meters and transmitted to an end-to-end encrypted cloud solution with data download.

The optional energy management system optimises energy flows in the building to ensure efficient energy use. Since the system was designed to maximise renewable energy consumption and accommodate electric vehicles, integrating and controlling solar systems and charging stations is especially easy.

The cascading lithium-ion energy storage device is developed and built by ecocoach and boasts capacities of between 13 kWh and 65 kWh. It can be seamlessly integrated into the system, increasing both the self-consumption of solar power and the self-sufficiency of the building and saving additional costs.