ABB quickly helps restore vital power supply at Uddevalla harbor

2018-02-28 - ABB responded rapidly to a power failure at Uddevalla harbor, a busy port in the southwestern part of Sweden, to prevent long-term loss of operations by introducing a new eco-efficient switchgear solution

Fast action from ABB saved the customer both time and money by installing an energy-efficient and sustainable medium-voltage switchgear solution as the ideal replacement.

When handling approximately 1 million tons of goods per year, any threat to the power supply used daily to operate critical equipment poses an economic risk. This was the issue facing Uddevalla harbor owners in September 2017, a month when the docks were fully booked and expecting large ore carriers loaded with 30,000 tons of ore. The power supply to the harbor cranes that load and unload vessels had suddenly failed, requiring an urgent solution as a few weeks of downtime at the harbor would quickly become a very costly problem.

"The harbor is a very important facility with many arrivals and departures, so I had to quickly find someone who could help us solve it all," says Anders Westlund from the local company Westlund El, who performs electrical work at the harbor. He contacted ABB and the following day, Fredrik Isacsson, Account manager at ABB, carried out an initial investigation of the power supply equipment. He discovered that a fuse in the old switchgear had broken, harming the fuse canister of the switchgear. The affected panel was taken out of use, and for safety reasons nobody was allowed to go into the switchgear room. The switchgear could still be used for a limited time to power the loading of vessels, while a replacement was ordered.

ABB offered the SafeRing Air, an eco-efficient medium-voltage gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) as the perfect long-term replacement for the old switchgear. The switchgear uses dry air as the insulation medium, an eco-efficient alternative to using the greenhouse gas SF6 (sulfur hexafluoride) in GIS. Dry air has a global warming potential (GWP) of zero, making it a great alternative for customers who place value on environmentally friendly alternatives. The SafeRing Air switchgear has the same compact design and cable connecting points, so there was no need even to install new cables, which further reduced cost and downtime on site.

The manufacturing of the new SafeRing Air was calculated to take two months, which would severely affect the operations at the harbor. To meet the customer’s urgent need for a replacement, a plan was quickly put into action at ABB’s factory in Norway, where the switchgear is manufactured. Fortunately, some reprioritization in production was possible to minimize delivery time for this small but critical order and only 2.5 weeks after the order was placed, the new SafeRing Air switchgear was installed, commissioned and put into operation.

"It feels great that we were able to help Uddevalla Harbor resolve the problem so quickly, by identifying the issue and supplying the perfect replacement in just a couple of weeks," says Fredrik Isacsson.

Anders Westlund continues: "I'm extraordinarily impressed with the speed and service we received. I never thought that ABB would be able to solve our problem so quickly!”