ABB’s rugged PowerLine DPA UPS handles harsh conditions

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ABB’s PowerLine DPA UPS is built to withstand the harsh conditions found in many industrial settings. Inovyn – Europe’s largest PVC producer – opted for the PowerLine DPA due to its ability to survive the excessive dust, corrosion, humidity and heat in the Inovyn factory.

Paolo Catapane ABB Electrification, Smart Power, Quartino, Switzerland, paolo.catapane@ch.abb.com

For many industries, the consequences of electrical power loss can be disastrous – valuable production time is lost, costly and complex production line restarts may be necessary, product may be ruined, equipment can be damaged and safety issues may arise.

On top of total power outages, the voltage may sag or swell over short periods. It may also do so over longer periods – so-called brownouts or overvoltages. Moreover, there can be electrical noise on the line, or frequency variation or harmonics may appear in the voltage. Such events can result in data loss, production loss, nonavailability of essential services, risk to hardware, financial losses and safety concerns. For these reasons, many enterprises employ uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems.

However, industrial settings are notoriously tough places in which to locate electrical and electronic devices, due to the harsh conditions that may be encountered in terms of chemicals, dust, vibration, corrosion, humidity and heat.

ABB’s PowerLine DPA UPS is specifically designed to withstand such harsh environments →1. PowerLine DPA is based on ABB’s decentralized parallel architecture (DPA). DPA is a modular architecture that, by its nature, provides not only the best availability but also the best serviceability, scalability and flexibility. Taken together, these features deliver a low total cost of ownership (TCO) over the 15 years’ lifetime of the PowerLine DPA UPS.

01 Inovyn, the largest producer of PVC in Europe, settled on the ABB PowerLine DPA UPS as it can easily cope with the harsh conditions in Inovyn’s Belgian factory.
01 Inovyn, the largest producer of PVC in Europe, settled on the ABB PowerLine DPA UPS as it can easily cope with the harsh conditions in Inovyn’s Belgian factory.

Decentralized parallel architecture
UPS systems with a centralized parallel architecture (CPA) have some degree of hierarchical, centralized control or hardware (eg, a static bypass). This makes CPA devices vulnerable should a failure arise on one of these centralized components; one fault can bring down the entire UPS. With DPA, on the other hand, the UPS is modularized and each module has all the hardware and software needed for autonomous operation: rectifier, inverter, battery converter, static bypass switch, backfeed protection, control logic, display, and mimic diagram for monitoring and control →2. A module’s output is not affected by failures elsewhere in the UPS. If one module is lost, the others take up its load. In other words, a multimodule system is fault tolerant and there are no single points of failure. Availability is maximized.

02 With DPA, each UPS module has all the hardware and software it needs for autonomous operation; there are no shared critical elements.
02 With DPA, each UPS module has all the hardware and software it needs for autonomous operation; there are no shared critical elements.

The only UPS elements common to all modules are contained in the mechanical frame that accommodates the UPS modules – I/O connection, customer interface signaling, maintenance bypass and a system display. These elements are noncritical for UPS operation.

DPA – serviceability
One major advantage of DPA is that the modules can be online swapped, ie, removed or inserted, without risk to the critical load and without the need to power down or transfer to raw mains supply. This unique aspect of modularity directly addresses continuous uptime requirements, significantly reduces MTTR (mean time to repair), reduces inventory levels of specialist spare parts and simplifies system upgrades.

DPA – scalability
The modular nature of DPA enables modules to be added as UPS power requirements increase – if a new process line is opened, for example. This approach means the initial rated power does not have to be oversized to cater for future expansion – modules are simply added when needed.

PowerLine DPA
ABB already markets power protection products that are based on DPA and the ABB PowerLine DPA 20-120 kVA UPS is a recent addition to this product portfolio →3. The PowerLine DPA UPS is specifically designed to overcome the many environmental challenges faced when deploying such sophisticated electrical equipment in a harsh industrial setting.

03 Part of the Inovyn PowerLine UPS installation.
03 Part of the Inovyn PowerLine UPS installation.

Survivability is crucial, so particular attention has been paid to physical robustness. PowerLine’s protection, rated up to IP42, can easily cope with dust, water condensation, excessive humidity (up to 95 percent), corrosive air contamination and rough manhandling. The UPS is designed to operate in a temperature range of -5 to +450 C. High priority has been given to safety and PowerLine DPA features a high degree of protection for users and maintenance staff. The device’s compliance with the relevant standards – IEC/EN 62040-1 for general and safety aspects, IEC/EN 62040-2 for EMC and IEC/EN 62040-3 for performance and test – has been verified.

Real estate for electrical equipment is often a limited or expensive commodity. The PowerLine DPA UPS has not only a small footprint but has cable access at the front (top and bottom), which eliminates the necessity for rear access and the associated extra space this entails. Also, because the power modules are stacked vertically, no extra floor space is taken up when expansion modules are added.

PowerLine DPA is an online double conversion UPS: The incoming AC is first converted to DC, from which the output AC is then synthesized – giving a clean sinusoid. These two conversion steps give rise to the term “double conversion” and isolate the output voltage waveform from any disturbances on the input AC side.

The device has a high overload capacity and robust short-circuit capability. In some industrial applications, the UPS AC input power is fed from switchgear or motor control centers and often shares bus connections with electrically noisy loads such as variable speed drives. Therefore, an input isolation transformer is sometimes installed to protect the UPS input from the effects of electrical noise. With rated powers of 20 to 120 kVA and an input power factor of 0.99, the UPS requires no onerous electrical installation considerations and is straightforward to service.

Installation brackets that support easy installation, vibration dampers, IP42 cabinet protection, halogen-free cables and a black start capability are some of PowerLine DPA’s other features designed specifically for deployment in demanding industrial situations.

Remote monitoring
In a power-fail situation, it is important for all relevant personnel to be quickly and fully informed of the system status. For this reason, the PowerLine DPA UPS can be supplied with relay boards and a network management card that provide connection to the DCS (distributed control system) or SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system via SNMP, Modbus TCP or Modbus RS 485. These interfaces allow environmental monitoring, extensive alarm handling and dispatching, redundant UPS monitoring, integration of Power­Line DPA into multivendor and multiplatform environments and the supply of UPS data to Web applications.

PowerLine DPA at Inovyn
The Inovyn site at Jemeppe-sur-Sambre produces 475,000 tons of PVC per year – the equivalent of 50 semitrailers per day (the PVC in every credit card in Europe comes from here) →1, 4 – 6. Around 500 people work round-the-clock shifts to maintain the company’s position as the largest producer of PVC in Europe. Because their plant presents a challenging environment (excessive dust, corrosion, humidity, heat, etc.), Inovyn opted for the PowerLine DPA for their power protection needs.

04 Some of the process equipment at the Inovyn plant.
04 Some of the process equipment at the Inovyn plant.

Such a high level of PVC production requires a precision system. “Our factory has very many DCS I/O operations,” explains Pierre Henveaux, electrical engineer and Head of the HV and LV Sector. “The DCS – data control system – is a computer that controls the plant: it starts the motors, opens and closes the valves, etc. In short, it controls all the equipment. Jemeppe has the highest number of I/O operations of all our factories in Europe. It’s just not an option for the system to go offline and for us not to know what’s going on.”

05 Raw material for the manufacture of PVC at the Inovyn plant.
05 Raw material for the manufacture of PVC at the Inovyn plant.

PVC is produced in batches and the DCS must be as efficient as possible, especially as the number of I/O operations will only increase as technology advances. “Our standards are very high. One of our top requirements is for uninterruptible electricity supplies. 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.” Inovyn has its own electricity generation system, which produces one-eighth the power of an average nuclear reactor, but even this is not immune to micro-outages.

ABB-Inovyn partnership
Inovyn and ABB have been working together since 2000 and have built up a good relationship. Previous UPS systems were mainly developed for data centers, but the Inovyn application needed something much more robust and it was this requirement that led ABB’s teams to come up with the PowerLine DPA UPS.

Inovyn has installed two PowerLine DPA units →6. On top of the equipment quality, Inovyn found the system to be very robust as each module is enclosed in a solid housing protected by powerful filters. This sturdy construction delivers a UPS that will last 10 to 15 years – considerably longer than any competitor’s equivalent.

06 Polymerization equipment at Inovyn’s Jemeppe-sur-Sambre plant in Belgium.
06 Polymerization equipment at Inovyn’s Jemeppe-sur-Sambre plant in Belgium.

Inovyn is currently using an older-generation DCS, but plans to move to a more efficient system in coming years. The PowerLine DPA UPS will allow simple expansion when the time comes. The company will also install two new UPS systems in their new production line, which is to come on stream during 2019.

A UPS for the future
The guarantee of a continuous supply of clean power has become a prerequisite for the success of many enterprises. The PowerLine DPA UPS, designed to withstand the rigors of harsh industrial environments, can provide this guarantee. PowerLine DPA’s modular architecture makes it simple to service or expand and because its online swapping attributes mean it never has to be switched off, first-class availability is achieved.

With an efficiency of up to 96 percent and unity power factor, the PowerLine DPA UPS offers improved efficiency and optimization of investment as well as ease-of-use and enhanced safety in a wide variety of very tough industrial environments. As Inovyn are finding out, these characteristics, combined with ease of service­ability means PowerLine DPA delivers a very low TCO over its lifetime.

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