ABB protecting the most sensitive equipment for high-end technology and improving the power supply by 100 percent

2014-09-03 - ABB has provided a 1500 kVA industrial UPS (PCS100 UPS-I) to Sensirion, a leading sensor manufacturer based in Switzerland, improving the power supply by 100 percent.
The area Stäfa (near the lake of Zurich and where Sensirion’s headquarters are located) is known to have very short power disturbances. Contributing factors can be an inadequate utility grid or natural forces, such as weather. The most common power quality problem however is voltage sags, which accounts for more than 92 percent of all power quality events. Sensirion was suffering from monthly power failures, all between 10 ms and 2 seconds and the production of sensors, such as micro sensors their factory were making was being affected.

The utility provider was not able to improve the situation on the 50 Hz grid side, therefore Sensirion reverted back to a power protection solution already installed by ABB in 2013. This was a 150 kVA PCS100 UPS-I. However due to a higher power protection requirement, a 1500 kVA PCS100 UPS-I was installed and commissioned into the factory to cope with growing power demands.

The small footprint in design of the PCS100 UPS-I played a vital role in successful installation. The Sensiron factory was already built, highlighting limited space where the PCS100 UPS-I could be placed. Due to this, the function of the Failsafe Bypass had to be integrated in the external Manual Bypass. The PCS100 UPS-I was connected by cables to the main distribution instead of busbars. Therefore, a special option of a cable connection cabinet had to be used. This flexibility created assurance for Sensirion that even though this was a unique installation, no additional expense was included. Over other solutions, ABB’s PCS100 UPS-I was the only product that could cope with the available space and cooling facilities. Further advantages, beside the compact footprint of the PCS100 UPS-I, is the efficiency of the system. “In addition and based on our experience, an autonomy period of up to seven seconds (depending on the load) covers our needs totally,” says Patrick Good, Infrastructure Manager at Sensirion.

ABB’s 1500 kVA PCS100 UPS-I installed at Sensirion in Stäfa

The PCS100 UPS-I complied with the energy saving policy of Sensirion (long lifetime energy storage). The use of ultracapacitors instead of lead acid batteries was also favored by Sensirion. This was because ultracapacitors provide seconds of coverage for short power quality events, which was the main problem facing Sensirion. ABB offer battery options that are designed to deliver autonomy up to several minutes. However, ultracapacitors have extremely high power density and long lifetime, resulting in a very compact and low maintenance solution.

Since installation, Sensirion has seen no problems with the power supply system when manufacturing sensors, an improvement of 100 percent. Patrick further commented, “during the past two months after installation of the PCS100 UPS-I, the system was recording 18 events, where a quarter would had affected our production (due to the length and depth of the sags). This means Sensirion could avoid four total outages during that time. This ultimately increased our productivity.”

ABB ( is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 150,000 people.