Hospital avoids power cuts through automation

Tuesday, 05 April, 2022 | Supplied by: Ovarro

Hospital avoids power cuts through automation

The likelihood of power failures in Europe is growing dramatically due to stretched supply networks, growing customer demand and a greater reliance on variable sources of energy. Power shortages are inconvenient for any business, but especially hospitals. That’s why Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands, turned to Ovarro, a control technology specialist, to provide an automated backup energy management and SCADA system to protect it from power outages.

For Erasmus University Medical Centre, any power outage can leave essential parts of the hospital completely in the dark, leaving everything from automatic doors to life-support machines without power. The risk would only grow as renewable energy becomes more common, with fluctuating supply that increases the likelihood of power outages. The need for an improved energy management and backup power system was clear.

The first challenge was the size of the hospital itself. Erasmus University Medical Centre is the largest of its kind in Europe, which makes it impossible to keep the entire hospital running on backup power. A more focused solution was needed that could prioritise critical systems, depending on the amount of electricity available at any given time, and switch these critical applications to the backup power as soon as an outage occurred.

The switch would have to be made without time-consuming manual switching or lengthy decision-making. The hospital also wanted a dynamic system rather than a hardwired one, so system priorities could be added or changed over time. In short, the hospital needed to automate its backup power grid.

More control

To achieve this, Erasmus University Medical Centre turned to Datawatt, now part of Ovarro, which designed a complete energy management and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system.

The system is unique in the level of control it gives for where the backup power is directed. Because the energy management system has fine-tuned switching capabilities, very specific areas or assets in the hospital can be swiftly provided with power — the emergency lights, for example.

As well as automating the distribution and switching of power in emergency or outage situations, the system also collects data. This information helps monitor power consumption and the switching of electricity, to maximise the efficiency of the system and address issues before backup generators are needed.

The hospital’s backup power supply is now controlled through an energy management and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. Image credit: Ovarro.

Modular design

The energy management system and SCADA supplied by Ovarro and Datawatt uses standard hardware connected through a fast and reliable fibre network. This, combined with the system’s modular design, makes it possible to connect more devices into the system as the hospital expands. With Ovarro’s support, the system has grown to include over 200 remote telemetry units (RTUs) around the hospital.

The system’s RTUs have also been gradually upgraded. The latest version is the DSG RTU from Ovarro, a cost-effective and state-of-the-art RTU for integrated network applications. The DSG RTU offers maximum security and even more flexibility than its predecessors. It combines with 600 remote input/output (I/O) units placed in various cabinets for complete control over where power can be directed. Ovarro has combined the DSG RTUs with other components to create a full-cabinet system that can be installed easily around the hospital.

As pressure mounts on the European electricity grid, power cuts may become more common. Fortunately, this needn’t be a major concern for Erasmus University Medical Centre. With its automated energy management and SCADA system supplied by Ovarro, backup power can now be supplied almost immediately to where it needs to go, keeping the hospital running safely.

For more information about Ovarro’s automated backup power or SCADA solutions, visit the company’s website.

Top image of Erasmus University Medical Centre, credit: © Images.

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