Customer application 3 November 2020
Safe and Energy Efficient Control of HVAC Systems

With its measurement and control technology for swimming pools, Autech Tesla, a company from Franconia, ensures pure swimming enjoyment. Controlling water treatment, heating, ventilation and sauna heaters is a challenging task. So Autech Tesla relies on proven, reliable I/O components from WAGO for its control systems.

A large pool for athletes, a small one for casual swimmers and perhaps a stuffy sauna in the basement too – German swimming complexes in the 70s and 80s didn’t offer much more than that. Today’s facilities are nothing like that: spacious sauna environments, outdoor pools heated nearly bath water temperatures and comfortable quiet zones that invite patrons to take a break from everyday life.

The expectations of pool visitors have increased over the past decades, and the behind-the-scenes technology has had to evolve to satisfy these higher demands. These concern patron comfort, but also issues of cost-effectiveness and safety. For example, regarding resource efficiency: Whereas earlier, the circulation pump in the outdoor pool ran all season at its highest speed, it is now usually throttled down at night, or when not many people are using the pool. This simple change reduces the electricity consumption by about twenty percent.

Coordinating the individual systems is a very challenging task.

Frank Weiß | CEO of Autech Tesla

With the increased demands on water treatment, heating, ventilation and sauna technology, controlling these systems has become significantly more complex. “Coordinating the individual systems is a very challenging task these days,” explains Frank Weiß, CEO of Autech Tesla. This company from Wertheim near Würzburg in Bavaria – a sister company to Aquila, the renowned manufacturer of water treatment technology – is among the market leaders in measurement and control technology for swimming pools. Autech Tesla has been behind some of Germany’s most beautiful pools, including the Kaifu-Bad public pool in Hamburg, an architectural gem dating from 1890 that happens to be one of the oldest in the country. The modular WAGO-I/O-SYSTEM is always included: As the central component of the control cabinets, which Autech Tesla builds in their own facility, the WAGO system organizes communication between the control system and individual equipment.

Responsibility for Pool Guests and Employees

To explain how complex the control of pool technology has become, Weiß offers the showers as an example. “The operators are required to regularly rinse the shower heads with 70 °C water in order to prevent the formation of Legionella bacteria. As this is significantly hotter than is normal for showers, the control system must increase the temperature in the buffer reservoir accordingly. Once this value is reached, then the thermal disinfection starts,” says Weiß. At the same time, the pool supervisor must be able to manually intervene, in case the cleaning crew is working in the showers. “With our systems, we assume responsibility not only for the pool users, but also for the employees,” explains the Autech Tesla CEO. For Weiß, this is an excellent reason to put the highest priority on the quality of the hardware and software used.

Heat management is also a real challenge for many swimming pools: For example, the thermal pool in Bad Ems in the Rhineland-Palatinate draws water from a thermal spring, which is naturally around 70 °C. ICE technology from Autech Tesla ensures that heat exchangers bring the water used for the showers and the outdoor and indoor pools to their respective temperatures, and also cools the water so that it can be released into the nearby river Lahn.

Web-Based Visualization of All Systems

The control technology from Autech Tesla for the individual systems is incredibly sophisticated, yet the handling is incredibly simple – both for the pool technicians and also for employees of the pools and saunas. It begins with the option of creating scenarios, for example, for particular sauna events. The employees can then adapt the operation of the sauna heaters and other relevant values with a push of a button. “They select the function, and the system handles the implementation,” explains Weiß. “This simplifies the work and prevents operating errors.”

An important tool for this is the “AT Suite”, a Web-based solution for system visualization, developed by Autech Tesla, which pool employees can use to access all system parameters in real time with the aid of a clearly structured navigation system. This can also be done remotely, for example, using a smartphone or a computer with Internet access. To provide solutions of superior quality, Autech Tesla uses its proprietary function library, which is constantly being adapted and expanded. “We program in a strictly standardized way: All employees use the same function modules. That way, we can be sure to incorporate all our company’s know-how into the solution,” says Weiß.

Customers often demand interfaces to third-party systems. We can rely on WAGO for those.

Frank Weiß | CEO of Autech Tesla

WAGO: “Durable Products at a Fair Price”

This demand for quality is also one reason that Autech Tesla consistently chooses WAGO products for the I/O systems and also for power supplies. “We have to have the right component quality – if for no other reason, then because the warranty period for our systems is five years. It would be disastrous if we were to use inferior components that became defective in two years. WAGO offers the durability we require,” says Weiß.
In addition, the modular structure of the I/O systems from WAGO enables them to work as small sections. “This is important for us, because we have to keep the control cabinets compact. Many pools simply lack space.” For example, when Autech Tesla equipped the Hamburg Bäderland Bondenwald public swimming pool with ICE technology, the control cabinet for the sauna could not be more than sixty centimeters wide, since the basement that houses the equipment is very narrow. “The flexibility of WAGO products helps us to solve such problems, because we can install only those I/O components that we need there,” explains Weiß. In addition, the vast selection of components (currently more than 500), the quality of service and advising and the possibility of linking products to higher-level building control systems are all arguments in favor of WAGO as a supplier. “Our customers often demand interfaces to third-party systems. We can rely on WAGO for those,” says the CEO.

Compactness and quality – these are the features that Autech Tesla CEO Frank Weiß values most in the I/O systems from WAGO.

Even though the focus at Autech Tesla is on swimming pools, the company has long been active in other sectors – everywhere, in fact, where high water quality is a requirement. Thus this ICE specialist counts food producers and breweries, in Germany and abroad, among its customers. However, there’s no mistaking that water treatment for swimming pools has a special place in Frank Weiß’s heart. “It takes a lot of experience and technical ability to continuously maintain pool water within the correct parameters. This is the ultimate test for systems!”

Text: Frank Sünkel
Photo: Ralf Diermann

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