Conversion of the Toni site in Zürich

Dairy product factory 7 becomes a centre for the arts and sciences

The gigantic structure erected in the 1970s operated until1999 as an industrial dairy production plant. The Toni dairy plant used to process up to a million litres of milk a day into yoghurt, butter, cream, cheese, ice cream and powdered milk. Then, from 2009, the complex was completely rebuilt and today has a new identity as the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) as well as for the Zurich University of applied sciences (ZHAW) with the pus are two departments: «Applied psychology» and «Social work». There is also a Museum, as well as about 100 apartments.

The total usable area is 87 000 square metres and the complex consists of a main building with roof garden, as well as a 75 metre high skyscraper. In total, there are approximately 5,000 students. The Zürich University of the Arts (ZHdK) boasts a varied study and research platform in the fields of design, film, fine arts, music, dance, theatre and dissemination of the arts, making it one of Europe's leading arts universities.

Working together with its partners, ABB created the electrical distribution systems throughout the building. The installation includes everything from the main distribution board with ABB Sace circuit breakers to the sub distributions boards where S800 high-performance MCBs are combined with the SMISSLINE TP pluggable socket system.  The immense size of the building indicates the scale of work involved.

Foto Allreal


The whole life cycle of electrical systems is highly complex regarding installation, operation and change of use and so required a system with a long-term future.

In terms of its life cycle, an electrical system must satisfy planning, construction and servicing needs, with the main focus on functional reliability, expandability and extension. Switchgear costs ultimately involve more than the costs incurred during installation and include everything throughout the life cycle of the system. ABB's total system package with everything ideally coordinated proved to be the best solution. ABB's sales department in Switzerland also provided advice regarding system design, back up and selectivity calculations.  The electrical planners and switchgear constructors carrying out the work were already familiar with the advantages of the Smissline Systems from other projects.

Vertical construction

For the Toni Campus reconstruction project, all the low-voltage distribution boards with the flexible ABB Smissline pluggable socket system were made touch-proof. This has the advantage for day-to-day operations that the system can easily be extended by adding or replacing devices, meaning that changes can be made load-free to the system in the electrical operating rooms.

Because the transformer station is nearby, the short circuit current at the installation site is very high, which is why S800 high-performance MCBs were selected as the solution. This guarantees back up protection. As the S800 is very compact, these devices could be installed straight into the vertical configuration of the SMISSLINE TP fields. See the photo below for this configuration.

The vertical design of SMISSLINE TP produces a compact structural form, which is very advantageous for both new and converted installations. The output wiring is connected directly to the devices, which cuts out the need for separate input terminals.  This again creates space-saving advantages as regards distribution.

Advantages of plug-in technology: working under voltage

With the SMISSLINE TP pluggable socket system, it is a very simple matter to make changes on the spot to cabinet installations. The system is completely finger-safe and enables devices under voltage to be replaced load-free, ensuring that operation continues uninterrupted. This is a very major advantage, delivering cost savings throughout the system's life cycle.

Economies of time, safety, availability, flexibility

The systems can be constructed without any major planning for the individual devices. If necessary, devices don't need to be plugged on to the socket until they are on site. Single or multiple-pole devices can be integrated with or beside each other on the system - with or without accessories added on. This delivers a very high degree of flexibility, unequalled in any other system. All devices can be plugged on in a simple manual operation. Even a later complete change of use of a whole installation can be effected rapidly and with little effort.

Plug-in technology also reduces the amount of assembly and wiring work needed. There is no need for input and cross wiring and devices can be changed load-free while under voltage. 

When we visited in summer 2015, the university was already a hive of activity and all the students and specialist teachers probably gave little or no thought whatsoever to all the technology buzzing away in the building behind the scenes.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader in electrification products, robotics and motion, industrial automation and power grids, serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure globally. Continuing more than a 125-year history of innovation, ABB today is writing the future of industrial digitalization and driving the Energy and Fourth Industrial Revolutions. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 135,000 employees.

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