Don’t Fall Victim to Commissioning Gremlins: The Value of a Controls Expert

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During a new commissioning, have you ever found yourself fighting the “gremlins”? As a controls engineer, I know this feeling all too well. These gremlins can be anything from a poorly placed sensor to a process that seems fantastic in theory, but the specific conditions and ramifications cannot be duplicated on the actual production floor in practice. Sometimes these gremlins cannot be eradicated completely (see Murphy’s Law), but having the right people involved in the initial design of your system can significantly reduce the number of gremlins you have to problem solve for later. Having an experienced controls expert on your design team will bring valuable insight from the perspective of how things will get accomplished. How are we going to control the flow? How are we going to maintain our target temperature? How are we going to measure this volume? Where are these devices located in your building? These seem like simple questions, but given the right circumstances, these simple things can end up causing significant delays in commissioning. A controls expert knows what questions need to be addressed in the design phase that many of the other team members may not even know to ask.

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