The Challenge: Modernizing a major theater
While its focus over the years has largely been industrial, Elektronorm Falconi SA has more recently had a significant impact on the theater world in Switzerland. With the modernization of its theater’s data network, the Canton of Basel sought a provider to design and build electrical installations that complied with standing regulations. Elektronorm earned the winning bid and called on ABB to produce the electrical switchboard structures for the project.
Elektronorm Falconi SA and ABB have partnered since the 1990s in developing quality electrification solutions, and the working relationship between the two companies was strengthened further by the fact that ABB quality was known and appreciated already by strategic customer Telecom Italia.
The challenges presented in the Swiss market strengthened relations between ABB and Elektronorm to an ever further extent. Many of the processes and systems used in Italy were significantly different from those applied in Switzerland, so the combination of Elektronorm and ABB offered tremendous benefits in meeting a range of potential issues:
Certainly language differences posed potential challenges.
- The connections used in Switzerland were found to differ from those used in Italy.
- The switchboards, materials, type of measurements, numbering system, wiring logic and colors are all subject to different standards in various cantons.
- Thus, ABB products that were not marketed in Italy but that were available in other markets became necessary for the project, further increasing the importance of Elektronorm’s partnership with a multinational enterprise like ABB.
The Solution: System pro E power from ABB
To meet the demanding needs of the theater project, ABB provided its highly flexible System pro E power distribution switchboard solution, which can be configured in 120 different sizes to satisfy the needs for different solutions on the international scene.
Elektronorm Falconi SA opted for ABB switchboards after a thorough assessment. Using a simple conventional switchboard as a sample, it compared various brands of enclosures in tests where the overall assembly times were measured, along with the initial training periods. The practical solutions offered by ABB and its user-friendly, intuitive switchboard assembly led to the choice of System pro E power.
Having assessed the requirements imposed by the specifications, Elektronorm Falconi SA proposed the best solution with help from the ABB team. It comprised 25 modular units for 3,200 A rated and 50 kA short-circuit current.
Various families of ABB products were housed in the System pro E power switchboards:
- Emax 2 air circuit-breakers designed with cutting-edge technology to offer a new series of smaller-size releases. The power and auxiliary connections have been optimized to simplify all the switchgear connections.
- T7 compact molded-case circuit breakers with high breaking capacity. Extremely flexible, they offer a vast range of protection releases able to cover all installation requirements in System pro E power switchboards.
- HMI030 front panel interfaces for remote display of the electronic relay measurements.
- SlimLine switch-disconnector fuse gear in XLine units to create a large number of outgoing feeders in one single unit. Rear clamps connected straight onto the bus bars ensure extremely fast installation.
The Results: Speedy completion of a complex project with high quality
Although Elektronorm was using System pro E power for the first time, the technology immediately revealed an extensive set of important characteristics:
- A wide range of switchboard structure sizes with different types of external panels, plus internal arc-proof construction resulting from the IP65 glass doors.
- Compliance with both standard Italian installation requirements and those typical of the Swiss market (Touch Guard), guaranteed by the internal installation kits of the apparatus.
- A combination of different installation methods of the Mediterranean type (omnibus bars) and the Swiss-German type (feeder bus bars) created by means of a connection.
- Compliance with Swiss/German market rules regarding DIN rail fastening.
- Installation of a main circuit breaker up to 2,000 A per unit.
- Availability of a 300 mm plinth installed internally for access flooring.
Speed of execution was a strategic specification. Using combinations of ABB technology and its own systems, Elektronorm fulfilled the daunting requirements of organizing the work to ensure that everything was finished in less than a year and that the work did not interfere with the theater season.
System pro E power structures played a vital part in speeding up the work because of their flexibility and assembly ease. The system had no difficulty housing even unconventional products, while its intrinsic simplicity helped to cut down on assembly time. Moreover, the switchboards took what seemed to be no time at all to build, so compliance with the time schedule was problem-free.