Plugging in to ensure reliability

Oslo Airport chose pluggable protection devices for reliable electricity supplies in its new pier and new central building.


Gardermoen. Satema has been the main supplier of electrical switchboards for the new north pier and the new departure and arrivals hall – often referred to as OSL T2. The electricity supplies, from incoming power to final circuits, are constructed with a range of components from ABB, including plug-in modules in the sub-distribution boards.

"We are very happy with plug-in solutions, all the way down to MCB level. The concept is ideal where there is a high demand for uptime, flexibility and a certain amount of maintenance. We can replace devices under voltage. The solution has contributed to more effective commissioning of power supplies and it means that we can carry out rapid repairs with shorter stoppages," says Lars Erik Tronrud, Operations Engineer for electrical systems in the operations department at Avinor, which operates the airport.

Selectivity enhances safety

The sub-distribution boards primarily distribute 230/400-volt electricity supplies to all technical equipment and power outlets at the airport. They are fitted with ABB SMISSLINE– a modular system with MCB’s, RCD’s, RCBO’s, switch disconnectors and over voltage protection, all plugged into a socket system.

Magne Holdhus, Technical Consultant for low-voltage products at ABB, explains that SMISSLINE modules do not need to be screwed in, have finger-proof contact protection and extra busbars for signaling, for example for detected faults. He points out that the new sub-distribution boards at Oslo Airport have been designed for maximum selectivity.

"Proper selectivity is a vital contribution to operational reliability. In occasion of a failure in one circuit, it must not affect other areas,” explains Holdhus, who has been involved in the solutions for optimal selectivity for OSL T2. 

Reliability is absolutely everything at the main airport, which is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


"We have extreme requirements in terms of uptime for electricity supplies at the airport. Shops, restaurants, airlines and passengers take it for granted that there are lights, heating, cooling, power in socket outlets and that all electrical equipment functions all of the time," says Operations Engineer Tronrud.

His Avinor colleague Inge Lindbøl says that the operations organization has cooperated closely with the project team responsible for the expansion, on the development of specifications.

"The requirements from the operations department were based on experiences garnered from the opening of the main airport in 1998. We were focused on solid solutions and stipulated reasonable, but detailed, requirements for electricity supplies. Satema won because they were the best bidder and only the ABB equipment satisfied the requirement specification without any significant deviation," says Lindbøl.

Half a kilometer of switchboards

With 117,000 square meters of new building space, divided along the 300-meter north pier and extended central building with departure and arrivals hall, the area has almost double, to a considerable 265 000 square meters. The expansion has been Norway's largest land-based construction project, costing almost 14 billion Norwegian kroner. The electrical systems supply matches the comprehensive, physical expansion.

"We have supplied a half kilometer of electrical switchboards, divided across ten main distribution boards and a couple of hundred sub-distributions to the new project at the main airport. Apart from pluggable SMISSLINE, we have used ABB's circuit breakers in main distributions and sub-distributions," says Project Engineer Ole Halvor Afseth at Satema.

The electricity supplies are monitored from the airport's central control room via a KNX control system. ABB has supplied all of the KNX equipment for OSL T2 that is integrated with the remainder of the system at the main airport.

Those traveling from the new north pier from Oslo will have a truly open and airy experience.  The pier is actually a whole 40 meters wide, while the two existing piers, east and west, are only 28 meters wide. With the expansion, Oslo airport will increase its capacity to 30 million passengers per year and will be in keen competition with Kastrup airport in Copenhagen to be the largest in Scandinavia.

The new facilities will be in use from autumn 2016, with an official opening in April 2017.


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