Major tradeshow exhibits high levels of visitor safety with the latest in arc fault protection

Major tradeshow exhibits high levels of visitor safety with the latest in arc fault protection

The show goes on at one of Germany’s busiest trade fairs thanks to the latest digital switchgear technology from ABB

One of Germany’s busiest trade fairs has taken steps to reduce its energy consumption and improve guest safety by installing the latest in digital switchgear.

Tradefair Düsseldorf has upgraded its electricity distribution by installing 30 panels of ABB UniGear* ZS1 Digital medium-voltage switchgear and 23 Ultra-Fast Earthing Switch (UFES) arc-fault protectors.

The project – which was implemented with ABB’s long-term business partner WISAG Elektrotechnik GmbH – takes safety to the next level and brings improved power and switchgear reliability, while retaining the customer’s existing infrastructure and meeting strict utility requirements about connection to the grid.

One of the main priorities for the project was to reduce the potential for dangerous arc faults within the 613,000 sq. m exhibition space. Demand for power in an exhibition is extremely intense and the risk of potentially fatal arc faults is high, with temperatures in the center of an electric arc reaching as high as 20,000°C. The pressure this creates can be lethal to anyone nearby, causing fire as well as serious damage to the switchgear’s metal structures.

The high number of UFES systems now installed allows Tradefair Düsseldorf to shut down any internal arc fault in less than four milliseconds after detection, which is 20 times faster than standard equivalent solutions, without disrupting the power supply. 

The investment also supports Tradefair Düssledorf’s sustainability targets as the digital switchgear panels consume less energy.  For example, over an estimated 30-year period, the 30 UniGear ZS1 panels will save approximately 200 MWh, which is equivalent to running a TV set for 275 years¹.

A spokesperson for Tradefair Düsseldorf said: “Any downtime during a trade fair would be disastrous for us and our reputation, so we needed a solution that would deliver reliable and resilient power supply. With people now returning to ‘real life’ events and audience numbers continuing to increase we also want to make sure that we keep our exhibitors and visitors as safe as possible. These new digital technologies will do just that; avoiding long-lasting disruption in power distribution and reducing the risk of internal arc faults.”

Barbara Panella, Technology Manager of ABB's Distribution Solutions Division, added: “Our overriding focus is on working together with our partners and clients to meet their changing needs and challenges via digitalization initiatives that deliver a smarter, safer and more reliable flow of electricity.  This integrated ABB digital solution not only makes sure the show goes on uninterrupted while using less energy, but that exhibitors and visitors are as safe as possible.”

*Part of the ABB Ability™ portfolio of connected solutions, UniGear Digital combines protection, control, measurement and digital communication over IEC 61850, for a safe, flexible and smart electrical network that delivers power reliably and efficiently. This readily adaptable and innovative switchgear solution takes full advantage of ABB’s sensor technology to maximize uptime and brings considerable energy savings.

  1. Considering how much a typical TV consumes (approx. 100watt/hour), 200Mln watt/hour in 30yrs is what Unigear saves. 200Mln/100= 2Mln, therefore in 1 year there are 8760 hours saving and 2mln /8760 hours = 228 years

Photo caption/credit: Copyright (Messe Düsseldorf/Ansgar van Treeck)

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