With over 110,000 employees globally, the Fortune 500 company Honeywell produces a wide range of commercial and consumer products, engineering services and aerospace systems. Taking an innovative approach, the company manufactures technologies to address some of the world’s most critical challenges in energy, safety, security, productivity and global urbanisation. By combining physical products with cutting-edge software Honeywell is improving buildings, factories, utilities and aircraft to create a safer, more comfortable and more productive world.

Bensons first began working with Honeywell in the early 1970s and now provides the company’s Building Solutions team with over one hundred new control panels each year. Bensons also regularly provides engineers to modify and maintain systems at Honeywell customer sites around the UK and Republic of Ireland.

The Challenge

A key element of Honeywell’s Building Solutions business is the building management controllers that facilitate effective building management solutions. Honeywell has a rich heritage in such technology, with devices such as the Excel Classic and Excel 500 series of controllers enjoying a strong market reputation since their introduction. 

With a reputation for innovation, Honeywell continually researches new services for its many customers. This leads to the introduction of new ranges of building management controllers, such as the Excel 800 which superseded the Excel 500

When new products are launched, Honeywell customers using legacy systems have the opportunity to upgrade to enjoy the increased functionality and all the business benefits this offers. 

The challenge is how to upgrade with minimum disruption to the business. Typically, the cost of downtime for such system upgrades is high, so any upgrade needs to be completed quickly and effectively. In addition, the cost of a complete new control panel is likely to be high, with the physical access to replace it often limited so an innovative solution is required. Bensons looked carefully at the options available, exploring different solutions to meet the challenge.

The Solution

Working closely with Honeywell engineers and their customers, Bensons considered the capital cost and operational impact of different approaches. Bensons then developed a solution using pre-wired backplates that house the replacement controllers. By using a swing frame configuration for the backplates, Bensons was able to manage the installation and access processes with minimum disruption to Honeywell and its customers. The swing frames were assembled, wired and tested at Bensons’ own site before being fitted by Bensons’ engineers into the existing control panels at Honeywell’s customer sites.

The Result

The Bensons’ swing frame approach delivers several benefits to Honeywell and its customers with a cost-effective swing frame solution that fits seamlessly into existing control panels. In addition, both the technical risk and downtime was minimised, giving the client the peace of mind that operations could continue without disruption. 

The benefits of this approach included:

  • A swing frame solution that fits into existing control panels. Often there is insufficient space on existing backplates to replace legacy controllers. With Bensons’ approach, the replacement swing frame provided the required space in an accessible manner.
  • The use of the swing frame delivered a cost-effective solution as a minimum amount of new hardware was required. In addition, existing components could be left in situ and re-used with minimum interference.
  • The technical risk was minimised. As the swing frame and backplate is assembled, wired and tested off-site at Bensons, its functionality was ensured prior to installation, removing the possibility of wiring errors occurring on site.
  • Downtime was minimised. The swing frame backplate is pre-wired to plug and socket connectors, making it straightforward to connect the existing wiring without error. The use of isolating terminals on the swing frame backplate means it is easy to connect the swing frame to existing wiring.
  • Fault finding was simplified: The plug and socket approach means that circuits could easily be isolated simply by removing a plug.

The success of the initial project allowed Bensons to carry out 50 similar upgrades in conjunction with Honeywell at various sites across the UK.

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