ABB circuit breakers reduce critical downtime for major Singapore hospital

Direct replacement and cradle-in-cradle technologies help keep KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital operating on schedule after an upgrade with ABB’s latest smart breakers.

ABB circuit breakers reduce critical downtime for major Singapore hospital

While hospitals across the globe may vary in size, specialty and patient load, they all depend on the same fundamental resource: a reliable power supply. Eventually, this power-reliability mandate will require upgrading outdated switching technology without lengthy shutdowns of lifesaving services and equipment. This is an important capability offered by ABB to facilities like the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) in Singapore.

Founded more than 160 years ago, KKH is the largest hospital specializing in healthcare for women and children in Singapore and serves as a tertiary referral center for women and children with high-risk conditions.

After many years of service from the hospital’s ABB Megamax air circuit breakers, the KKH facilities management and engineering team found that those breakers had become outdated. With patient safety the top priority, reliable power supply is vital, especially during surgery and the operation of life-support equipment. The hospital therefore needed to organize for the installation of new, reliable switchgear without impacting the continuity of healthcare.

An ideal solution provided by ABB enabled the facility to maintain its normal operations while gradually modernizing its electric-power protection system.

Simplified, quicker replacement of breakers

ABB has been making staged replacements of KKH’s Megamax breakers with advanced new type breakers, an undertaking only possible during a few carefully planned shutdown hours each year. Work is scheduled for completion in 2019.

To upgrade the Megamax breakers, ABB employed its Direct Replacement technology that replaces only the moving part of the old breaker, equipping it with a special moving part and standard Megamax sliding contacts.

To substitute smart Emax E4.2 breakers for the old Megamax F5 devices, ABB used a “cradle-in-cradle” technology, which enables the replacement of any manufacturer’s older low-voltage circuit breakers with ABB Emax breakers. The technology consists of an interface frame with inner and outer interfaces. The outer interface mounts physically and electrically in the switchgear cubicle, minimizing downtime. The inner interface matches up with the Emax 2 breaker, allowing for quick and easy installation and removal.

Fast replacement meets short shutdown window

“We were able to provide KKH with a direct replacement solution that does not require a hard-bus retrofit, since they were unable to power down the switchboard fully as a result of critical outgoing loads,” said Chang Chean Fei, ABB Technical Service Specialist. “These solutions gave KKH the opportunity to change out many of the old breakers over a short shutdown window period.”

ABB also carried out servicing and testing for the hospital on all its low-voltage and transformer switchgear units.

For KKH, the most important element of this upgrading process was the wellbeing of patients. “As a public healthcare institution, ensuring that our infrastructure is healthy and well-maintained is vital for patient safety and the delivery of optimal and uninterrupted patient care,” said Alan Liang, Senior Facilities Engineer from the Facilities Management Office, KKH. “All replacement work has to be completed within one shutdown window, and eight air circuit breakers were replaced in seven hours.”

The hospital has also awarded ABB yearly service contracts to provide quick technical support during any unforeseen circumstances, such as tripping incidents, and for any mechanical issues with the old Megamax gear until all of them are replaced.

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