ABB’s UPS innovation is enabling manufacturers to integrate technology designed for clean rooms with dusty production floors.
At a PVC plant in Belgium, ABB has demonstrated how true innovation can overcome emerging challenges, creating a new type of UPS device for industrial environments.
Inovyn, operating in Jemeppe-sur-Sambre, is Europe’s largest producer of PVC, manufacturing 475,000 metric tons of the synthetic plastic polymer every year. The Inovyn factory relies on a computerized distributed control system (DCS) to control all its equipment.
“It’s not an option for the system to go offline,” says Pierre Henveaux, electrical engineer and head of the HV and LV electrical sector. “One of our top requirements is for uninterruptible power supplies (UPS). If we lose control for two milliseconds, all is lost. The data does not get through, and the system goes into safe mode. If we lose a DCS for longer than 40 milliseconds, it’s a catastrophe!”
UPS systems are designed primarily for power backup in spotless data centers. “But we are not a data center,” notes Inovyn Technician Anthony Kinif. “Here we have dust, corrosive substances, etc.”
So, Inovyn called on ABB, its technology partner for nearly two decades, to come up with a UPS device, one that would tolerate factory-floor conditions while remaining highly reliable.
ABB understood that the needs of production plants are different from those of data centers. Therefore, the ABB team had to adapt the technology that was available for data centers to the extreme conditions often found in industrial applications. The result was the birth of the PowerLine DPA UPS.
“We created the PowerLine DPA UPS based on what had been designed for data centers,” explains ABB Sales Engineer Simon Lamsens. “ABB was among the first to have developed modular UPS technology. Each module contains all the equipment and software necessary to operate an entire system. If one module goes down, the remaining modules take up the slack.”
For Inovyn, ABB equipped its DPA UPS modules with a solid housing protected by filters. “Here you have filters, condensers, fans and more that make up a system enabling the UPS to last 10 to 15 years” Lamsens says.
Inovyn integrated two units--each with four of the newly invented PowerLine DPA units--into its system to support two electrical networks, and Henveaux is proud of the serial numbers on his trailblazing UPS devices. “We have numbers 4 and 5,” he proclaims. “We wanted equipment that was top-of-the-range and robust. Only ABB was able to supply this. ABB was the only company to listen to our requirements and bring us a solution.”
Henveaux notes that everything in the new UPS is built to last. “The boards have been ruggedized,” he explains, “the components are extra-large, and the filtration systems are hyper-efficient. And everything is made in Switzerland, with the degree of quality that comes with that, while others make theirs in China. I expect to have no trouble for at least 15 years.”
Currently, Inovyn is using an older-generation DCS but plans to move to a more efficient system over the next eight years. PowerLine DPA is already preparing the company for the future. “These UPS’s are suited to our needs and will be able to maintain top-quality power supplies even when the new hardware arrives,” Henveaux says. “We will also install two new UPS systems in our new production line, which will start operating in 2019. We needed UPS systems that are durable; ABB heard us.”