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Article Date: 5th August 2016

ABB Power Grids - First UK Installation for UniGear Digital Switchgear in Tunnel

Digital Switchgear - Medium-Voltage Switchgear - Power Factor Correction

ABB Power Grids - UniGear Digital installed in the tunnel

Medium-voltage switchgear reduces footprint and lead time, boosts flexibility and supports drive towards energy efficiency.

ABB has completed the first UK installation of its UniGear Digital medium voltage switchgear in a road tunnel. Seven new panels of 11 kV UniGear 550 Digital switchgear have been supplied and installed to replace 40-year old equipment that was causing maintenance concerns due to lack of spare parts. The new switchgear controls power for ventilation equipment that ensures high quality air and safety in the tunnel.

UniGear Digital integrates the latest protection, control, measurement and digital communications into ABB’s popular and well-proven UniGear medium voltage (MV) switchgear. Benefits of the new switchgear include compact size, higher energy effciency and future proofing to the integration of smart grid communication. The UniGear 550 design has enabled the customer to retain the benfits of withdrawable pattern switchgear while keeping the overall length of the switchboards within the restricted space available in the existing switchroom.

Rogowski coils key to savings
Conventional MV switchgear makes use of current and voltage transformers to enable measurement and protection. These are housed in sizeable cast resin blocks that weigh up to 30 kg and must be specified individually for each application. There are hundreds of potential options made up of different voltage ratios and number of coils.

In UniGear Digital, ABB has replaced traditional current and voltage transformers with Rogowski coils. These are about the size of a drinks coaster, therefore saving on the installed footprint while being easy to handle and install. This was important to the customer given the limited space available in the existing switchroom.

Another benefit of Rogowski coils is standardisation. The sensors can be configured during installation to meet the customer’s specification. They can also be altered during the life of the switchgear to adapt to changing requirements – for example when uprating the size of a motor.

This means that customers can order a standard rather than bespoke design, which represents a saving of several weeks lead time when ordering new switchgear. It also has potential for customers to streamline their purchasing and spares inventory.

Rogowski coils and voltage dividers are also more efficient than traditional current and voltage transformers, this supports the drive towards improving energy efficiency.

Smart grid communications
The customer is also future proofing its installation as UniGear Digital integrates smart grid communication modules that comply with the IEC 61850 protocol to sup- port remote monitoring, as well as ABB’s state-of-the-art Relion relays for protection and control.

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