RMIT University has partnered with power and automation technology group ABB to launch an Australian-first training facility, enabling electrical engineering students to gain expertise in the world-leading KNX building control system.
KNX is an open international standard protocol used to automate systems in buildings, such as energy monitoring, lighting, blinds, shutters, heating and cooling, security and audio-visual systems.
As an open protocol, the system allows different manufacturers to create devices that can connect with each other to form an integrated network.
In February last year, RMIT joined ABB Australia, ABB India and the Victorian Government in launching the Australia-India Research Centre for Automation Software Engineering.
At the new RMIT facility – the nation’s first KNX-certified training facility – ABB is providing KNX equipment for hands-on training for undergraduate and apprenticeship electrical engineering students, as well as facilitator training.
Pro Vice-Chancellor Science, Engineering and Health and Vice-President, Professor Peter Coloe, said the ongoing collaboration with ABB helped position RMIT at the forefront of global software engineering for advanced automation technologies.
“RMIT’s collaboration with industry is integral to its leadership in applied research and education, and to the development of work-ready, highly skilled and globally focused graduates,” Professor Coloe said.
Keith Leung, head of low voltage products and systems for ABB in Australia, said: “KNX technology is getting high acceptance as the world’s open standard for the control of all types of intelligent buildings, both commercial and residential.
“KNX is well established as the number one protocol in the world and we definitely see it as the future of building automation systems here in Australia.”
By automating building systems, energy use can be minimised by only using services as they are required.
As an example, a KNX-controlled system can intelligently control lights, blinds and air conditioning to manage light levels and ambient temperature in a way that reduces energy requirements.
Learning how to use the KNX protocol will enable RMIT students to design and program systems encompassing a large number of manufacturers using a world standard system.
Peter Ryan, Head of School of Engineering TAFE, said the partnership would provide enormous benefits to RMIT.
“It is going to help expose our apprentices to new skill sets and industry partners to new skill sets,” Mr Ryan said.
Professor Coloe told the audience at the recent launch of the facility how important partnerships were for the University.
“This is a very important day for RMIT because it’s bringing together industry, higher education and TAFE in an integrated way to deliver outcomes not only for RMIT but for Australia,” he said.
“These sort of integrated building control systems that drive rational use of energy are going to be critical for the world in the long-term, if we’re going to reduce our carbon footprint.”