ABB enhances substation switchgear module design to improve safety in mining and industrial operations

2013-04-23 - New feature will ensure better protection for people working with high voltage equipment
ABB in Australia announces enhancements to the PASS (Plug and Switch System) range of high voltage hybrid switchgear modules for substations. The new module is designed to improve safety for operators and electrical maintenance workers by ensuring that high voltage (HV) equipment in substations can be isolated, earthed and locked out safely and securely.

ABB’s PASS Hybrid modules are now available with an innovative mechanical key interlocking system which ensures it can only be switched in the correct operating sequence. The modules can also be isolated and earthed remotely before personnel enter the substation to perform maintenance tasks. Once inside the substation, operators are then able to perform a simple, error-free, mechanical operating procedure which is carried out at ground level ensuring that the equipment is isolated, earthed and locked out safely and securely.

“This new safe and simple interlocking system for our PASS Hybrid modules is a continuation of our ongoing commitment to help our customers in the mining industry operate safely and efficiently,” said David Olofsson, marketing manager of ABB’s Breakers and Modules in South Asia. “Another benefit of the modules is that they perform extremely well in harsh operating conditions, as the critical components are encapsulated in a grounded aluminum tank which is filled with pressurized SF6 gas. This also increases safety as it reduces the need for personnel to interact with the HV equipment for either planned or unscheduled maintenance.”

David added: “Ensuring worker safety was the top priority and challenge nominated by 374 of the world’s mining organisations in a survey recently published by Ventyx, an ABB company. We feel this innovative product goes some way to providing a technical solution to ensure a safer working environment for personnel that are required to maintain HV substation equipment. The module also offers mining companies cost savings, as the unit is supplied as a pre-tested module by the factory and does not require high voltage testing during on-site commissioning.”

PASS is a family of compact, prefabricated high voltage modules for substations, providing the flexibility to incorporate the functions of circuit breaker, disconnector and earthing switch and instrumentation current/voltage transformers. It is a 72kV-420kV hybrid version of air-insulated switchgear (AIS) and gas insulated switchgear (GIS), which is manufactured in ABB’s factory in Lodi, Italy. The compact module can save up to 60 percent space when compared to conventional substations and possesses a major benefit in extension and/or refurbishment projects.

The PASS Hybrid range has been well received internationally and ABB is now actively promoting the range to its Australian customers following the recent and successful installation of the solution at one of Australia’s leading mining companies.