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ABB extends available arc protection options with digital UFES solution

04 May 2023

With the new, smart and cost-efficient combination of UFES and Relion, ABB extends its portfolio for quenching arc faults with a type-tested solution that also provides a built-in protection scheme, which doesn’t rely on slow circuit breaker operation.

The solution sees ABB combine its Ultra-fast Earthing Switch (UFES) and Relion 615, 620 relay series, as well as the new all-in-one, digital REX 640 control and protection relay for the first time. 

The outcome is a low investment and simple upgrade for businesses currently focusing on arc fault detection, but at the same time requiring a higher level of arc flash protection for personnel, equipment and pressure-sensitive buildings.

The launch itself is the direct result of ABB’s customer-centric product development and product improvement approach.

The German manufacturer INEOS Phenol, having already successfully installed the Relion protection scheme, sought a way to enhance arc protection safety even further with minimum disruption and little additional cost. Cue the first UFES+Relion installation, which is now available globally. 

Due to rapid and reliable UFES fault detection and the short switching time of the primary switching element, an arc fault is extinguished very quickly. 

UFES+Relion is suitable for new switchgear and for upgrades of existing panels in both MV and LV applications. It also helps to ensure a secure power supply and reduces production downtime.

Relion already brings beneficial functionalities like advanced selectivity and event logging – and when used with its arc option in existing or new SWG projects, only the UFES primary switching elements and the electronic unit have to be added to complete the line-up. 

Light and sensor wiring is also limited to a single panel. In short, it takes minimum effort to install and is easier to maintain.

UFES+Relion actively mitigates an internal arc in <10ms after detection, which means any thermal and electrical damage can be significantly reduced, along with the mechanical impact on neighbouring panels – for enhanced operator safety when compared to using only conventional or fast relay protection.

Sami Raitakoski, Global Head of ABB’s Control & Protection Products Division, said: “The industries we serve are continually evolving in line with key market drivers like digitalisation, safety and performance efficiency. 

“So that we can continue to meet the needs of our customers, our product ranges must evolve too. Our recent work with INEOS Phenol is a perfect example of this. 

“While the business had already introduced our Relion technology at its Marl Chemical Plant in Ruhr, Germany’s third largest integrated industrial site, in order to enhance overall safety and operational reliability, it wanted to take it one step further. 

“With the cost and complexity involved in the ‘traditional’ route of additional relays and breakers not an option, the UFES+Relion package proved to be the ideal solution. 

“The end result is greatly increased safety, energy reliability and process continuity – all of which have been delivered at pace and with little extra cost.”


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