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Reliable power supply for airports

ABB updates the RTU network control system


Zürich Airport is Switzerland’s largest airport. In 2015, the airport was used by 26.3 million passengers and 265,095 flights. The airport also acts as a cargo hub, handling more than 400,000 tons of cargo annually.

For an airport like the one in Zurich, reliable power supply is the highest priority. The power supply of the airport includes more than 2 main supplies from 2 independent substations each in all its sectors and has several emergency power supply groups.  The 16 kV medium voltage (MV) network is divided into autonomous sectors. Each sector has an MV distribution station (so-called terminal station) as well as several transformer stations. The transformer stations include a main connection to a terminal station with ring connection option among the transformer stations. This concept increases the power supply reliability in the buildings.

Zuerich airport system overview


ABB designed a network control system based on the RTU560 Remote Terminal Units to control and monitor the MV power supply. The secondary control equipment is designed following the primary network structure. Each terminal station has its own Remote Terminal Unit with the visualization of each corresponging sector. This way, every sector is controlled and monitored autonomously.

If a power failure occurs in the automatic mode, the system will try to reestablish the power supply via an alternative route as fast as possible.

Scope of delivery

ABB delivered the expansion and upgrades for the proven RTU560 Remote Terminal Unit with HMI, communication devices, Relion® REF615 protection relays, providing the expertise for the efficient completion of the project together with the engineers at Flughafen Zürich AG.

Airport-Zuerich-SystemZHR-w750Network control system with RTU560

System Key Figures

The ABB control system handles and monitors several generators and generator types in the primary switchgear (e.g. ABB, Panel Gardy, Schneider, Siemens).

  • Approx. 8000 process signals in the entire system
  • 1 central control system with a control station
  • 6 sectors with control stations
  • 5 sectors with 16 kV medium voltage power supply
  • 1 sectors with emergency power supply
  • 25 16 kV/400V transformer stations
  • 126 MS protection devices
  • Upstream communication: IEC 61850, IEC 60870-5-104
  • Downstream Communication/Process connection: IEC 61850, SPAbus, RP570, Parallel

Client advantages

The modern control system is designed in a very flexible and cost-effective way, ensuring high reliability with its proven RTU560 technical platform.

Client feedback

“ABB has provided a timely, streamlined and reliable solution, tailored exactly to the needs of power supply. The hardware from the previous system could be largely taken over to the new one: Our earlier investments were not lost as a result.”

Rolf Gisler, Power Supply Engineering Manager, Flughafen Zürich AG

For more information, please contact:
ABB Switzerland AG
Power Grids Division
Bruggerstrasse 72
CH-5400 Baden, Schweiz
Tel: +41 58 585 77 44
Fax: +41 58 585 55 77

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