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MicroSCADA Pro takes charge of lighting in Helsinki

Last one out, leave the lights to the machines

Automated lighting is a basic part of home automation, but when the port of Vuosaari wanted iPad control of 76 lighting towers, each of which is 40 meters tall, they turned to ABB’s MicroSCADA Pro for help.

ABB was already in the vicinity, having installed eight substations to power the harbor, and its lights, but controlling them was beyond the original brief. To extend the functionality ABB provided an additional MicroSCADA Pro system, which was easily integrated to manage the zoned lighting system, and save money for the harbor.

The lights themselves were the result of a competition, created by APRT Architects they’re designed to minimize light pollution (which wastes power as well as annoying the locals) and to cast a cohesive light across the harbor. But the addition of fractional control means the lights can be on when they’re needed, and off when they’re not, increasing safety and lowering costs all at the same time.

Initially the system worked by splitting the 76 lighting towers into 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 operators grew familiar with the system they realized that additional savings could be made. An intermediate generation added combined zones and gr eater control, while the final system provides complete control over the harbor lighting from the touch screen of an iPad – enabling a single engineer to vary the lighting from the field.

The iPads connect using Wi-Fi, and replicate the MicroSCADA Pro interface, so an engineer (once authenticated) can select a specific tower or control an entire zone, changing the lighting conditions to suit the work being done.  

That means less power is wasted, and fewer staff are needed to manage the harbor lighting, letting MicroSCADA Pro take the workload to the benefit those using the harbor – who get to see what they’re doing – and the harbor itself – which saves money thanks to more-efficient lighting – and ABB – who gets to show off another way that MicroSCADA Pro can improve the workplace, no matter how big, or dark, it is. 


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