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Suc­cess­ful tech­ni­cian qualification

As part of his further training to become a state-certified technician, Mr Marius Barth, electrical design engineer for automation technology at Quality Automation GmbH, had to complete a specialist project as part of his final examination.

The spe­cialised project “Data­base-sup­port­ed ener­gy demand record­ing using the exam­ple of an office building”

The spe­cial­ist project was car­ried out by a team of three as part of the final exam­i­na­tion and as an admis­sion cri­te­ri­on for the writ­ten final exam­i­na­tions. The project, which was super­vised by our Man­ag­ing Direc­tor Mr Andreas Fritz, among oth­ers, start­ed in Novem­ber 2022 and end­ed with a pre­sen­ta­tion day on 2 Feb­ru­ary 2024.

The aim of the project was to record our com­pa­ny’s total ener­gy con­sump­tion, store it in a data­base for the long term and make this data acces­si­ble via a web inter­face. In addi­tion to the gas, water and elec­tric­i­ty con­sump­tion of our premis­es and the elec­tric­i­ty gen­er­a­tion of the in-house PV sys­tem, the data also includes the mea­sured val­ues of a weath­er station. 

In addi­tion to this input, the exist­ing build­ing con­trol sys­tem was imple­ment­ed and addi­tion­al sen­sors were installed on the gas meters, an elec­tric­i­ty mea­sure­ment in the PV sys­tem sup­ply line and a cam­era on the water meter. The chal­lenge was to sum­marise the var­i­ous sys­tem data in a Microsoft SQL data­base with dif­fer­ent interfaces.

The data from the weath­er sta­tion and the gas meters are read from the build­ing con­trol sys­tem and writ­ten to the data­base using the “S7-Log­ger” tool devel­oped by our company. 

After analysing the pow­er gen­er­a­tion of the PV sys­tem using Rogows­ki coils and a mea­sur­ing trans­duc­er, the record­ed data is avail­able as a JSON string via the MQTT pro­to­col. In order to read this data and write it to the data­base, a sep­a­rate Python script had to be pro­grammed that reads the data from the mea­sur­ing trans­duc­er cycli­cal­ly and writes it to the data­base as SQL commands.

At the start of the project, the devel­op­ment of image pro­cess­ing soft­ware was planned for analysing water con­sump­tion via a meter read­ing cam­era image, but this approach was lat­er dis­card­ed for cost rea­sons. In future, data will be record­ed by installing water meters with direct data interfaces. 

The data col­lect­ed from the var­i­ous resources was visu­alised using the open source soft­ware “Grafana”, which is fre­quent­ly used for mon­i­tor­ing appli­ca­tions. The dia­grams gen­er­at­ed in this way via a web inter­face visu­alise the data over selec­tive time peri­ods in an opti­mal way.

The pre­sen­ta­tion

The project con­clu­sion took place on 2 Feb­ru­ary 2024 as part of a trade fair at the Beruf­skol­leg für Gestal­tung und Tech­nik der StädteRe­gion Aachen, where a total of ten project teams pre­sent­ed their results on exhi­bi­tion stands cre­at­ed specif­i­cal­ly for this pur­pose. After the inter­nal exam­i­na­tions between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., numer­ous inter­est­ed par­ties took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to find out more about the prob­lems and solu­tions with­in the indi­vid­ual projects in tech­ni­cal dis­cus­sions between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., when the fair was open to the public.

Accord­ing to Mr Mar­ius Barth, his very suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of the spe­cial­ist project is a great bur­den for him. After his com­mit­ment to QA, school and project work in the past year hard­ly allowed him to organ­ise his free time, he can now devote more time to his pri­vate inter­ests. His con­clu­sion: the project was a valu­able expe­ri­ence and brought his project trio clos­er togeth­er, result­ing in new friendships.