Time for a makeover

Time for a makeover

The Relay Retrofit Program makes product life cycle management easy

The 1980s was not only about bad hairdos, shoulder pads and great music. It was also the time SPACOM protection relays were introduced and started to gain lots of attention on the market. Luckily, we grew out of the big hair and moved on to the next fashion trend, but kept our eyes on the ball and kept on selling SPACOM protection relays.  And they are now ready for a makeover. There is a dedicated program to ensure a smooth and controlled replacement of these relays and update to leading technology solutions – a program aptly named the Relay Retrofit Program.

Written by Isa Ågren
Written by Isa Ågren

ABB’s passion for energy efficiency and industrial productivity is behind this program as well, and more precisely the aim to extend the life cycle of utility and industrial power distribution systems. The Relay Retrofit Program essentially makes product life cycle management easy, offering an innovative service solution to extend the life cycle of medium-voltage switchgear installations – as one critical aspect within switchgear is protection relaying and ensuring its availability.  With this program, you gain an upgrade to the latest standards and technologies, which brings along some great benefits such as improved performance, improved safety for the operating personnel and reduced maintenance costs.

Today, there is an installed base of roughly 700,000 SPACOM relays all over the world. If we put all those relays together, we would measure the same weight as a large goods vehicle, that is, amounting to what my son once would have described as a colossal truck, if that helps. Retrofitting just one of these SPACOM relays the traditional way would take approximately one month and would require considerable engineering effort and deep knowledge of both the existing and the replacement relays. With the launch of this new program, the process is simplified and accelerated substantially – reducing the amount of time needed to only an hour – a fraction compared to the traditional approach.

The program offers all the devices, accessories, hardware and software tools needed for a successful and timely scheduled execution of retrofit projects. With these carefully engineered tools and accessories, the time and effort needed to perform all the retrofit project phases – from engineering to final testing – is substantially reduced, amounting to considerable savings in terms of money, time and resources. Most importantly though it ensures that the downtime of production or power distribution processes is reduced to a bare minimum.

On top of the life cycle extension of the medium-voltage switchgear installations, retrofitting the protection relays improves the power system’s reliability and performance. The selected replacement relays all belong to the highly acclaimed Relion® 615 series, ensuring an update to the latest technologies and standards. The 615 series incorporates native support for the IEC 61850 standard for communication in substations and also offer the possibility to expand the functionality of the power protection system, for example, by adding arc flash protection for improved safety for the personnel.

Substations are the building blocks for any grid, and without adequate protection they can quickly come tumbling down. ABB has been preventing that from happening for more than a century, with protective relays and breakers. The Relay Retrofit Program is yet another addition to the existing relay preventive maintenance service concept and the post-manufactured relays offering.

About the author

I am a member of the marketing and communications team at ABB Distribution Solutions in Vaasa, Finland. I have worked with B2B communication/content creation my entire professional life.


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