ABB's MicroSCADA Pro takes charge of lighting in Helsinki, saves port money

2014-09-01 - Last one out, leave the lights to the machines
ABB's MicroSCADA Pro system boosts the efficiency, cost-effectiveness of Port of Helsinki's Vuosaari Harbor
Automated lighting is a basic part of home automation, but when the Port of Helsinki's commercial port in Vuosaari Harbor wanted an iPad to control of 76 lighting towers, they turned to ABB’s MicroSCADA Pro for help.

ABB was already in the vicinity, having installed the original light control, as well as eight substations to power the harbour when it moved from near the city center to its present location in 2008. But controlling them was beyond the original brief.

The solution: A MicroSCADA Pro system, controlled via hand-held devices, was deployed to manage the zoned lighting system, and save money for the harbour.

About 50 percent savings on lighting from 2008 levels

Compared with 2008, says Vuosaari Harbour director Jukka Kallio, the addition of the controls is helping the port reduce its energy consumption for lighting by about 50 percent, translating to lower costs.

The harbor's unique lights, mounted 40 feet above the area where containers and rolling goods come in and out of Helsinki, were the result of a competition.

They’re designed to minimize light pollution, which wastes power as well as annoying people living in the surrounding neighborhoods, and cast uniform light across the harbour to boost safety in a very busy area where visibility, in particular during the dark winter months, is critical.

ABB's MicroSCADA Pro system makes lighting control from hand-held devices easy
Winter darkness demands bespoke lighting system

How dark can Helsinki be? Finland's south, jutting out into the Baltic Sea, receives only about six hours of daylight a day in midwinter.

The addition of fractional control via ABB's MicroSCADA now means Vuosaari's lights can be on when they’re needed - and off when they’re not in demand - simultaneously increasing safety and lowering costs.

Initially, the system worked by splitting the 76 lighting towers into separate zones, covering areas of the harbor operated by different companies.

Those zones were provided with four degrees of illumination, and linked to fog and light detectors, as well as being controlled with a timer and responding to commands sent by text message.

That worked well, but as the harbor became more accustomed to the system, it became clear that additional savings could be wrung from the operation.

One step at a time

An intermediate step included adding combined zones and greater control, before the final system was implemented, providing complete control over the harbor lighting from the touch screen of an iPad.

The result: Just a single engineer, working from the field, has the power at his or her fingertips to vary the lighting to the most-appropriate intensity.

ABB's MicroSCADA Pro system puts the control in the hands of engineers
The iPad connects using a wireless Internet system and replicates the MicroSCADA Pro interface, so the engineers, once they have signed and cleared robust security protocols, can select a specific tower or control an entire zone, changing the lighting conditions to suit the work being done.

All this means less power is wasted, and fewer staff are needed to manage the harbor lighting, letting MicroSCADA Pro shift the workload to benefit those using the harbor so they can better see what they’re doing - and the harbor itself, which saves money thanks to more-efficient lighting.

In the process, ABB gets to show off another way that MicroSCADA Pro can improve the workplace, no matter how big, or dark, it may be.