Siemens: Providing building technology for the future
Siemens: Providing building technology for the future
We explore Siemens’ large range of energy-efficient, safe and secure buildings and infrastructure.
In fiscal 2019, which ended on September 30, 2019, Siemens UK generated revenue of €8.4 billion. At the end of September 2019, the company had 16,500 employees in the UK.
Building automation and control
The size of the building really is irrelevant when it comes it using Siemens’ building automation and control services. The company’s comprehensive building automation and control systems portfolio allows it to perfectly tailor an automation and control solution to each project‘s individual needs.
Openness and flexibility are the bottom line for all systems. As a result, open communication protocols enable their easy integration with other systems and the option to modernize later on. Combining electrical and HVAC systems in a comprehensive, multi-discipline approach and designing for reliability – this is how perfect places become a reality.
Energy and sustainability – the new competitive edge
Buildings play a key role in how sustainably and competitively organizations fulfil their mission: they impact financial and reputational strength, service delivery capability, as well as employee well-being and productivity.
It is therefore critical that buildings perform at their best. At Siemens, it is well recognised that energy and sustainability are key drivers of building performance. Siemens brings together expertise, technology and services that lower operating costs and risks and reduce environmental impact.
It does this by leveraging building data to optimize energy consumption, procurement and supply, as well as critical power quality so organizations can fulfil their mission better.
Smart HVAC products
From valves and actuators to sensors and thermostats: All of Siemens’ products fulfil the highest quality standards. Energy efficiency, easy handling and long lifecycles are among the essential features of every single one of the company’s products.
And open communication standards like KNX and BACnet enhance compatibility and easily allow for seamless integration into building automation and control systems – this is how perfect places become a reality.
Siemens’ portfolio offers you all the products you need from just one source. You benefit from consistent installation processes and easy engineering for every single product. Plus, you'll receive support anywhere and anytime, with tools and apps designed to make your work as simple as possible – so you can focus on creating perfect places for your customers.
Fire safety: A perfect place is a protected place
Fire safety involves many disciplines from detection, alarming and evacuation to danger and building management. Only if all of them are carefully geared to each other as well as your specific requirements can you be assured that your employees, visitors, guests and assets are maximally protected.
Siemens offers all the required products, systems and solutions from a single source to safeguard the continuity of your business.
Why engineers must always consider human-induced vibration
Human induced vibration, or more accurately vibrations caused by human footfall, often conjures images of Millennium Bridge-style swaying or collapsing buildings.
But in reality, the ‘damage’ caused by human-induced vibrations is less likely to ruin a structure and more likely to cause discomfort in people. Though not as dramatic as a structural failure, any good engineer wants to make sure the people using their structures, be it bridges or buildings or anything in between, can do so safely and comfortably. This is why human-induced vibration must be considered within the design process.
Resonance v Impulse
There are two ways that human-induced vibrations affect structures: resonant, and impulse or transient response. Put simply, resonance occurs when Object A vibrates at the same natural frequency as Object B.
Object B resonates and begins to vibrate too. Think singing to break a wine glass! Although the person singing isn’t touching the glass, the vibrations of their voice are resonating with the glass’s natural frequency, causing this vibration to get stronger and stronger and eventually, break the glass. In the case of a structure, resonance occurs when the pedestrian’s feet land in time with the vibration.
On the other hand, impulse or transient vibration responses can be a problem on structures where its natural frequencies are too high for resonance to occur, such as where the structure is light or stiff. Here the discomfort is caused by the initial “bounce” of the structure caused by the footstep and is a concern on light or stiff structures.
Engineers must, of course, design to reduce the vibration effects caused by either impulse or resonance.
Potential impacts from human induced vibration
Human induced vibration can lead to a number of effects upon the structure and its users. These include:
- Interfering with sensitive equipment Depending on the building’s purpose, what it houses can be affected by the vibrations of people using the building. Universities and laboratories, for example, may have sensitive equipment whose accuracy and performance could be damaged by vibrations. Even in ordinary offices the footfall vibration can wobble computer screens, upsetting the workers.
- Swaying bridges One of the most famous examples of human-induced resonance impacting a structure occurred with the Millennium Bridge. As people walked across the bridge, the footsteps caused the bridge to sway, and everybody had to walk in time with the sway because it was difficult not to. Thankfully, this feedback can only occur with horizontal vibrations so building floors are safe from it, but footbridges need careful checking to prevent it.
- Human discomfort According to research, vibrations in buildings and structures can cause depression and even motion sickness in inhabitants. Tall buildings sway in the wind and footsteps can be felt, even subconsciously by the occupants. It has been argued that modern efficient designs featuring thinner floor slabs and wider spacing in column design mean that these new builds are not as effective at dampening vibrations as older buildings are.
- Jeopardising structural integrity The build-up of constant vibrations on a structure can, eventually, lead to structural integrity being compromised. A worse-case scenario would be the complete collapse of the structure and is the reason some bridges insist that marching troops break step before crossing. Crowds jumping in time to music or in response to a goal in a stadium are also dynamic loads that might damage an under-designed structure.
How to avoid it
As mentioned, modern designs that favour thinner slabs and wider column spacing are particularly susceptible to all forms of vibration, human-induced or otherwise, but short spans can also suffer due to their low mass. Using sophisticated structural engineering software is an effective method for engineers to test for and mitigate footfall and other vibrations at the design stage.