comprehensive power distribution solution has upgraded and improved security, safety and sustainability for the tech-savvy Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) at their Meilahti Hospital Area. A project involving complete protection relay and circuit breaker retrofits has reduced the risk of mission critical downtime in an industry where 24/7 power output essential. The new intelligent asset and energy management solution now optimises maintenance with real-time condition and temperature monitoring.    

    Finland’s largest hospital area has future-proofed its life saving power supply thanks to a modernization program with electrification partner ABB. The Meilahti Hospital Area in Helsinki, which is operated by HUS, upgraded its electrical system to maximize uptime, eliminate the use of SF6, a potent greenhouse gas, in the medium-voltage (MV) switchgear, extend the life of electrical equipment and optimize hospital operations.

   The Meilahti Hospital Area uses the same amount of electricity a year as a small town,  and delivers healthcare to more than half a million patients annually, so having a reliable and safe power supply is critical to providing a dependable service where lives are at stake.

    Jari-Pekka Korhonen, Operations Manager for HUS Kiinteistöt Oy, the organization that manages real estate services for HUS, said: “What matters most is that in our hospitals, the healthcare professionals can perform surgeries and treat patients safely – and that the power supply won’t cause any problems for them. We’re well-prepared to face any problems with the power distribution. This is all down to the reliable, high-quality products and solutions ABB provides.”

    The upgrades included a turnkey MV circuit breaker retrofit, where SF6-insulated models have been replaced with next generation VD4 vacuum circuit breakers. These new devices clear potentially harmful short-circuit faults in tens of milliseconds, thereby preventing severe damage to the hospital’s electrical infrastructure and minimizing the risk of downtime.

What’s more, thanks to ABB’s full-circle end of life service, the old SF6 breakers and gases were disposed of safely and sustainably, eliminating the risk of severe environmental impact and adhering to strict national laws.

  The ageing relays in the switchgear were also replaced with ABB’s Relion® protection relays from the 615 series, REF615. These protection relays offer extensive protection and control functionality to ensure uninterrupted power supply. In this project, a solution was implemented where reliable and fast arc fault protection is now ensured with ABB’s REA 101 modules. The protection is based on optical arc flash detection with fiber-optic light sensors, tripping at arc faults in milliseconds.

Sixten Holm, Business Development Manager at ABB in Finland, said: “For service providers such as HUS, one of the greatest opportunities for improving reliability and reducing carbon and costs is by modernizing outdated components, rather than replacing the entire switchgear. Replacing aging circuit breakers and protection relays can also be done quickly with minimal downtime.”

This timely and essential overhaul has given HUS a technologically-driven and environmentally friendly solution that improves reliability, security and safety.  But to reduce operating costs in the long term, it needed to be supplemented by an intelligent system that could optimize the hospital group’s maintenance activities.

ABB Ability™ Energy and Asset Manager was installed to facilitate remote monitoring and provide HUS personnel real-time information on the condition of equipment, such as temperatures, with alarms from devices alerting them instantly by text message. This level of predictive maintenance ensures early warnings of any potential failures, providing crucial information to act upon to avoid unplanned downtime.

In addition, specific condition monitoring for the MV switchgear is now available, which allows HUS to carry out maintenance when necessary, according to the actual condition of the devices. ABB’s SWICOM diagnostics system reports the mechanical and electrical health status of the equipment in real-time. One SWICOM unit is enough to cover the data of the entire switchgear system. The data can be viewed – anytime, anywhere and even remotely. At HUS, SWICOM will soon be extended, allowing other equipment to also benefit.

As part of the project, the low-voltage circuit breakers were also upgraded to enable connectivity to the ABB Ability™ cloud service for first-hand condition monitoring.

Sixten Holm concluded, “It has never been more important to both optimize maintenance and operational costs and manage future demands, thus introducing SWICOM was a great way forward for HUS. It has enabled them to pre-empt unexpected outages, increase flexibility, boost efficiencies and maintain a digitalized electrical infrastructure that is fit for purpose.”
On working with ABB, Jari-Pekka Korhonen added “With a long-standing partnership, where you know and trust the people, it’s easy to discuss if there are issues and achieve a good outcome. I would recommend ABB’s solutions to others, as the collaboration with ABB on our power distribution wants and needs has been excellent.”
Dec 21, 2023
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