New approvals for GE pressure sensors

The latest pressure sensing platform from the Sensing business of GE Measurement & Control Solutions now carries FM and FMc Approvals in addition to its existing IECEx/ATEX Intrinsically safe certifications. As a result, these pressure sensors can now be used worldwide in hazardous zone applications in the oil and gas and process industries, as well as in mining.

The sensor is called the UNIK 5000, and comes from the Groby factory near Leicester that was famous for Druck pressure sensors and transmitters. I suppose that might have been an alternative name that GE considered before adopting the UNIK 5000 styling.

With its flexibility, versatility, accuracy and reliability, the UNIK 5000 platform is said to have already made a significant impact throughout the industrial, aerospace, power generation and instrumentation sectors, as a pressure measurement range, that is available at short lead times to satisfy the majority of user requirements.

As Ian Abbott, product manager for the range, explains, “We have already made significant inroads into the oil and gas sector with our existing intrinsic safety certifications. The achievement of FM Approvals means that we can now satisfy hazardous zone requirements on a global scale.”

By combining silicon technology and analogue circuitry with modular design and lean manufacturing techniques, the new platform offers custom-built pressure sensors from standard components, matching accuracy and specification to meet individual requirements.

The high quality, piezo-resistive sensors in the platform offer high levels of performance without the use of digital electronics, so that the sensors are suitable for sensitive applications such as those requiring low power, pulse power, and fast response. They are available in a range of pressures from 70 mbar (1psi) to 700 bar (10,000psi) and in three grades of performance: industrial, improved and premium. These offer a range of accuracies from ±0.04% FS to ±0.2% FS. A choice of pressure connectors is available and electrical connectors may be selected to suit most environments with operating temperature ranges from–55 to +125°C. A suite of eight electronics boards allows outputs suitable for most applications and a further configurable option is to allow individual specification of voltage output. All the 5000 sensors feature low noise and high over-pressure capability and are constructed from stainless steel.

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True loop powered Coriolis meter

Endress+Hauser announces the Promass E 200 Coriolis flowmeter, the world’s first Coriolis flowmeter with true two-wire 4-20mA HART technology. The Promass E 200 is the only two-wire Coriolis meter with a full 16 mA of measurement span without the need for excess adapters, power supplies or barriers.

This advanced meter design results in simplified integration into existing control systems, and allows the flowmeter to be used with DCS, PAS, PLC and other remotely operated controller systems. The 4-20mA interface makes it easy to replace legacy flow sensors without any change in field wiring. In many cases, the Promass E 200 can simply be “dropped in” to replace an existing flowmeter, without the need for additional hardware or rescaling of control systems.

The Promass E 200 is the world’s safest Coriolis meter because its two-wire technology enables it to be used in intrinsically safe applications for Class 1 Division 1 locations. The Promass E200 has been submitted for a SIL-2 rating for critical applications and complies with NE43 (NAMUR) safety standards, including operating down to 3.6 mA in a fail-safe condition. Self-monitoring and error diagnostics are standard features that are designed in strict accordance with the specifications of NE107 (NAMUR).

The Promass E has built-in diagnostics, and displays clear English text errors and root causes on its local display in case of a fault. The flowmeter can also be commissioned and diagnosed with Endress+Hauser’s FieldCare software.  If servicing is needed, the HistoROM function automatic data backup function ensures automatic reconfiguration of a repaired or new meter without the need for recalibration.

Promass E 200 simultaneously measures mass flow, fluid density and temperature. In addition to liquids such as acids, alkalis, and solvents, it also measures most gases. The Promass E 200 measures mass flow and volume flow with 0.25% accuracy, and measures density with accuracy of 0.0005 g/cm3. It operates in process pressures of Classes 150 to 600, and process temperatures up to  284 °F.

The Promass sensor is highly immune to external disturbances such as pipeline vibration, and is stable under changing process conditions such as pressure, density, temperature or viscosity.

Promass E 200 can be supplied in line sizes of 3/8 to 2 inches (DIN 8 to 50) with 904L Stainless Steel as a standard wetted material. Transmitter options include aluminium and stainless steels to meet various chemical, oil, gas, process, food, beverage and life sciences applications.

Commissioning and Diagnostics

Operator, maintenance and expert menus can be called up immediately at the touch of a button. “Make-it-run” wizards guide the user through flowmeter configuration, and “Tool tips” allow setting of additional parameter information. In the event of an error, remedy information is immediately displayed.

Promass E 200 flowmeters produced for the Americas are calibrated on the ISO/IEC 17025 Certified Gravimetric Primary Calibration Rig at the factory in Greenwood, Indiana, and shipped to the customer with a NIST traceable calibration certificate. The calibration is fully traceable to national and international standards.

 

SPX to acquire Clyde Union Pumps

A long story came full circle to a conclusion this week, as Jim McColl, the Scottish entrepreneur who leads Clyde Blowers Capital, announces the sale of Clyde Union Pumps (the amalgamation of Weir Pumps and Union Pumps, originally of the USA to the SPX Corporation, an American Fortune 500 Company. Jim McColl is therefore selling the business where he started as an apprentice, that he rescued by acquiring it from the Weir Group in 2007.

The current sale to SPX

Clyde Union will continue to be run as a standalone business with a head office in Glasgow, under the leadership of the same management team.

SPX has agreed to acquire Clyde Union for a headline price of GBP750m ($1.25bn). Of this, GBP700m will be in cash at completion and GBP50m is subject to an earn-out agreement, based on future performance.

North Carolina-headquartered SPX is a publicly-traded multi-industry global engineering solutions company with annual revenues of $5.5bn, employing over 15,000 people in 35 countries.

Clyde Union was formed under the direction of Clyde Blowers Capital chairman and chief executive Jim McColl out of two major acquisitions – the GBP48m purchase of the former Weir Pumps business in Cathcart, Glasgow from the Weir Group in May 2007, and then the acquisition of Union Pumps as part of a $1Bn deal with another Fortune 500 company, Textron, the following year.

Clyde Union has grown rapidly, and now manufactures in seven countries with 25 service centres worldwide. Only two weeks ago they announced what McColl described as “continuing impressive growth” for the year 2010 – with profit increased by 28% and orders up 18%. Employee numbers have increased to 2,037 – almost 900 of these at Cathcart. Clyde Union Pumps is structured into seven customer focused business units. These business units focus their expertise separately on the six main markets for centrifugal and reciprocating pumps:  upstream oil, downstream oil, nuclear power, conventional power, water and industrial, minerals and mining sectors, plus there is an aftermarket service and support business.

Promises made at the start of Clyde Union in 2007

The results are even more remarkable when compared to the figures at the time of the Weir Pumps acquisition. The three years to the end of 2010 have seen an almost tenfold increase in profit (EBITDA) from GBP4.5m to GBP40.1m, with a rise in turnover from GBP44.7m to GBP259.9m for the same period, rising to over £400m projected for the current year. Jim McColl will play no part in Clyde Union after the sale. He today joined his senior management team in holding a series of information meetings with Cathcart employees and other workers around the globe as they arrived for their various shifts. Commenting on the decision to sell the former Weir Pumps business, where his career started as an apprentice at the age of 16, McColl said:

“Our success over the past four years has created a lot of interest in Clyde Union Pumps, and we have had many enquiries about the business. Until now, our response has consistently been that the company was not for sale, because we still saw significant growth opportunities and were firmly focused on delivering the growth strategy which we had put in place.

“However, earlier this year we were approached by SPX, who were very keen to talk to us about acquiring the business.

“Since then we have been in discussions with SPX management and have reached an agreement for them to acquire Clyde Union.

“A very important part of our discussions has centred around us being convinced that SPX would be a good responsible owner of this business and would continue to support its growth. As a very large corporation, we firmly believe SPX can provide that investment and be a safe custodian of our business going forward.

“But this is about more than money. I went to America personally to meet the Chairman and Chief Executive and to satisfy myself that they were committed to growing Clyde Union, and that was a key part of my due diligence.

“I made it clear to them that I had more invested in the company than just money. I told them I had strong emotional investment, and I genuinely wanted to see the business and the employees go on and prosper.

“I would not have sold Clyde Union to anyone who wouldn’t take the company to the next level. There had to be a long-term commitment.

“When we bought Weir Pumps from the Weir Group and saved it from almost certain closure, we made certain promises, all of which have been kept. I’m proud of that.

“We promised to retain and grow the workforce – we have increased the staff from 535 to 891 at Cathcart, and to 2,037 globally, all high-level jobs.

“We promised to take on apprentices – we have taken on over 100, including 22 this year.

“We promised to grow the business – we have increased turnover from GBP44.7m to over GBP400m in the current year.

“We recently committed to buy the site at Cathcart from Weir Group for GBP25m, which was important for the long term stability of the company, and we have invested cash in new machines and new test facilities at the site.

“My goal at the start was to take a company that was on the brink of closure when we bought it and rebuild it into the world-class business that it once was and should be.

“We’ve created a world-class business headquartered in Glasgow with a world class facility, and really good people. We’ve also put in place the infrastructure for education and life-long learning – the ability for people to upskill, to better themselves in their earning capacity.

“We also leave Clyde Union with a very healthy order book, and in the ownership of a trusted buyer that will take it to the next level.

“The only regret is that I won’t be part of that journey, and in a personal sense, that is the sad part.”

The vision from SPX

Clyde Union will be part of SPX’s Flow Technology business, the largest and most profitable part of the corporation, which brings in $2Bn in annual revenue.

Don Canterna, President of SPX Flow Technology said: “Our board of directors and senior management are very committed to the Flow Technology segment and growing it through both organic initiatives and acquisition opportunities.

“SPX has a very strong track record of successful acquisitions and we have demonstrated an ability to repeatedly create value by partnering with high quality companies like Clyde Union Pumps, which will bring Flow Technology critical mass in the power and energy sectors and will serve as a platform for future growth in these markets.”

“We see tremendous value in Clyde Union’s products, brands, factories, and most importantly, its people. Americans know and respect Glasgow and Scotland’s place in engineering heritage.”

“Our current SPX Flow Technology product portfolio has a niche position in power & energy markets through well-recognized pump brands including Bran & Luebbe and Plenty Mirrlees, as well as our Copes-Vulcan and M&J valve brands.  The acquisition of Clyde Union will expand our niche market position and create a global power and energy platform for SPX Flow Technology.”

“The company under Jim McColl has experienced very impressive growth and SPX is committed to investing in Clyde Union in order to ensure continued growth in the future. We firmly believe in its current, long-term strategic plan and will work together with existing management to continue this plan going forward.”

“We are confident that SPX’s global footprint, financial wherewithal, and industry relationships will provide additional resources for growth to Clyde Union. We are here for the long-term, and we believe we are the ideal owner for this business.”

The 2007 deal with Textron for Union Pumps

Clyde Bowers acquired various businesses from Textron, an American Fortune 500 company, in September 2008, in a deal with a total value of $1Billion. Four separate businesses were acquired, these businesses previously making up the Textron Fluid and Power Division. These were:

1)               Maag Pumps systems – Based in Oberglatt, Switzerland, a global provider of highly engineered polymer and compounding pumps, extrusion pumps, screen changers, filtration systems and high end industrial pumps. Maag has approximately 275 employees at eight locations in seven countries.

2)               David Brown Gear Systems – Based in Huddersfield, England, a leading provider of gearing solutions to large and growing industries, including defence, mining, metals and minerals, power, cement, oil & gas, food and beverage. It employs 1,113 employees at 18 locations in 11 countries.

3)                David Brown Hydraulics – Based in Poole, England, a niche provider of Hydraulic Pumps, motors, valves and power take off units. The product line primarily targets industrial and defence original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and small to medium sized OEMs which do not have in-house hydraulics expertise, differentiating itself through support in design and optimisation of the entire hydraulic system within its customers’ products. DB Hydraulics outsources most of its manufacturing. With 119 employees at 10 facilities located in nine countries, DB Hydraulics has global design, services and supply chain capabilities.

4)               Union Pumps – Based in Battle Creek, Michigan, US, a global producer of highly engineered centrifugal and reciprocating pumps and associated aftermarket parts and services. The company supplies pump solutions to the nuclear power, petrochemical processing, desalination and industrial markets. Union Pumps has approximately 730 employees at 10 locations in six countries – including the US, Canada, France and Yorkshire in England.

Three of the four companies acquired – Maag Pumps, David Brown Gear Systems and David Brown Hydraulics – were planned to be separate portfolio companies within the Clyde Blowers group, which also comprised Clyde Process Solutions, Clyde Bergemann Power Group, InterBulk Group and Clyde Pumps.

Union Pumps was to be integrated with Clyde Pumps – where McColl (55) started his working life as a 16-year-old apprentice engineer. The McColl purchase of Clyde Pumps saved 600 jobs, as Weir Group had planned the sale of Weir Pumps to Swiss company Sulzer, whose intention was to close the Glasgow plant.

Together, the companies will offer a comprehensive range of centrifugal and reciprocating pumps for the conventional power, nuclear power, downstream oil & gas, upstream oil & gas, water and industrial markets, including desalination, as well as a comprehensive range of after market services.

Both companies have a strong heritage, with Union dating back to 1885 and Clyde Pumps, incorporating Weir Pumps, dating back to 1871. The companies have a combined rich brand heritage including brands such as Weir Pumps, Mather & Platt, Girdlestone, David Brown Pumps, Union Pump and Pompes Guinard – and enjoy a loyal customer base of major contractors and end users.

Jim McColl said: “The integration of these two businesses together with an exciting Clyde Pumps joint venture with WPIL (formerly Worthington Pump India Ltd), and a joint venture in China which is expected to be finalised by the end of October, will create a new global pumps business capable of competing effectively in several high growth, high margin markets.”

The transformation in 18 months of the Weir Pumps business, as acquired by Clyde Blowers, from a single site business based in Glasgow, to a truly global company with the products, scope and scale to serve all its customers across the globe, was a key driver for this acquisition. Now that this has been achieved, a detailed plan to integrate the two businesses, which had been worked on for several months, will be put into action. For Clyde Blowers, which then had just under 5000 employees throughout the world, these acquisitions took turnover for all companies to a total of GBP1.2 billion.

HERITAGE

Clyde Union Pumps has at its base the two companies Clyde Pumps and Union Pump. Both have a rich heritage and a combined history of almost 300 years.Clyde Pumps

In 1871, two brothers, George and James Weir, founded the engineering firm of G. & J. Weir. From their Glasgow works, in Scotland’s central belt, they quickly established a reputation for inventing pump and valve technologies that were utilised successfully on ship engines, oil pipelines, desalination plants and power stations across the world.

On Tuesday 8th May 2007, over 135 years after the Weir brothers founded their business, Jim McColl (chairman and chief executive of Clyde Blowers) announced the acquisition of the Weir Pumps (Glasgow) business from the Weir Group plc. As a result of this transaction, the diverse portfolio of technologies, process knowledge and expertise generated by Weir Pumps was incorporated into a newly created company, Clyde Pumps Ltd.

Weir Pumps combines the well known brands of Weir, Mather & Platt, Drysdale, WH Allen, Girdlestone, Allen Gwynnes and Harland.

Union Pump

Union Pump has an equally interesting history, bringing together various heritage products and skills that were fully incorporated into Clyde Union Pumps.

Since Union’s inception in 1885 in Michigan, USA the company has been creating class leading pumps for industries around the globe. Union have incorporated the David Brown Pumps brand as well as its significant capabilities when their Annecy, France, operation was acquired, and along with it the respected DB Guinard Pumps brand.

Union Pumps brands include Union Pump, David Brown Pumps, DB Guinard Pumps, American Pump, and Pumpline.

Hima record results for 2010

Hima Paul Hildebrandt GmbH has announced their financial results for 2010, which showed the company resilience through the recession of 2009, and a return to the previous growth trends. Sales in 2010 were Euro 75.1m, an 11% increase over 2009, and approx 1.5% higher than the previous record results in 2008. Possibly because of the launch of the HIMax safety system in 2008, Hima recorded a 2% increase in orders during the 2009 recession year, and was able to avoid any layoffs of staff. For the current year, sales are forecast to rise again.

Since its introduction, the HIMax safety system has ensured plant safety at a variety of companies around the world, while demand continues to increase. Thanks to the nonstop operation of the system throughout the entire plant lifecycle, HIMA was able to secure several major international projects. These include a five-year framework agreement recently concluded with BP for the supply of safety systems for five North American refineries.

Due to its extremely high performance, HIMax offers new possibilities for integrated applications. In the field of turbo machinery control and burner control systems, these possibilities have resulted in successful implementations. Further investments in developing integrated applications are planned.

In 2011, HIMA is focusing on developing new and enhanced safety-related solutions for the oil and gas industry and the chemical and petrochemical sector. Logistics and machine safety as well as railway solutions will also be further extended. Hima has 10 subsidiaries worldwide, and a joint venture in China: less than 30% of sales are generated in Germany, and over 50% are outside Europe.

Recent installation for RWE Power

RWE Power manufactures lignite dust, fluidised bed lignite and hearth furnace coke at the Fortuna-Nord plant in Bergheim, Germany. Hima HIQuad safety systems were recently chosen for at the plant to process a total of 800 signals in protecting boiler controllers against excessive temperatures and pressures, while monitoring the water level in the drums, to join other Hima systems that provide nonstop safety for the respective hearth furnaces and the lignite dust-grinding plant.  Hima coupled the new safety systems to the Siemens DCS: the inputs and outputs for safety requirements can be used up to SIL 3. RWE Power project engineer Gregor Maron cited Hima’s safety expertise and experience among the reasons his company chose Hima for the ESD systems. “The Hima safety professionals speak our language, and are constantly bringing their experience to the table. Over the course of a project, these specialists show themselves to be highly flexible, and they’re with us every step of the way, from planning right through to commissioning.”

Pneumatic valve networks use fieldbus

In 2010, the global market for pneumatic valve blocks increased 18.4% to reach $861.5 million, which represented 1.05 million blocks reaching the international market. Almost half of these products included a facility to be networked. However, according to the latest market report from IMS Research, for every valve block networked with an Ethernet based protocol, nine were networked with a fieldbus.

The advantages of closed loop communication and intelligent feedback have become increasingly desirable for pneumatic set-ups, and have enabled engineers to reduce air wastage and provide system monitoring and diagnostics. However, the absence of an industry standard network protocol leaves the user with a wide variety of options from which to choose, ranging from supplier specific, proprietary fieldbusses, to universally compatible Ethernet TCP/IP.

Research Manager Rob Carter comments “In 2010, Profibus was used for over quarter of all valve block networking applications and DeviceNet almost a fifth. These two supplier championed fieldbus protocols are currently each more prevalent than the combined variants of Ethernet which account for only fourteen percent total”.

Carter continues “The additional complexity of Ethernet variants far outweigh the advantages of its higher speed communication in pneumatics systems, where actuation speeds are determined to a greater extent by air flow rates. The comparable simplicity of many fieldbus protocols makes this a more desirable option in most stand-alone systems, limiting Ethernet use to instances of large scale networking from factory floor to control room.”

Whilst Ethernet is still expected to remain the fastest growing networking protocol for pneumatic valve blocks, by 2015 it is expected to account for only 18% of global pneumatic networking applications, still a long way behind fieldbus technologies.

The IMS Research report,  “The World Market for Pneumatic Valves”, covers all pneumatic single valves and valve blocks used for direction, flow and pressure control. It is a global report built up by separately analyzing four major regional markets EMEA, Americas, Asia Pacific and Japan. To find out more, contact IMS Research on enquiries@imsresearch.com; phone +44 (0) 1933 402255; or visit http://imsresearch.com

How secure is your Automation System architecture?

Stuxnet has given us a wakeup call and we now need to take a fresh approach to how data is transferred and managed within all industrial control systems,” says Chris Evans of Mitsubishi Electric.

Last year’s incident involving the Stuxnet malware has shown that a typical automation architecture has weak points and vulnerabilities when it comes to security and this is leading many companies to question the traditional methods used to move information around and from the plant/asset to the enterprise level. While Stuxnet was targeted at one particular plant, it has far wider implications.

The stuxnet virus changed the point of attack in the business from the seemingly very secure top end to the somewhat vulnerable middle ground. So, are we seeing the start of a revolution?

Certainly, when business managers understand the implications of “doing nothing” then it is inevitable that changes to system architectures will follow.

Stuxnet was a malicious and targeted attack, which is very difficult to protect against.

The structure of the virus is now in the public domain, so mutations of stuxnet remain a threat and it is realistic to assume that ‘copycat’ malware will appear in the coming years targeted at a whole range of plant and applications.

However most incidents are not as sophisticated as Stuxnet, but they can still have wide ranging consequences for the businesses under attack.

There are two fundamental factors to consider, “probability” and “risk” and it is the analysis of these two elements which should shape any organisation’s security strategy going forward.

It is generally accepted that “gateway PCs” found in many automation architectures, represent weak points and are vulnerable to potential malware attacks from “the outside” and also from CDs and USB sticks.

Many of these PCs are used as networked workstations and therefore often contain the software to change and program the PLCs beneath this layer. This makes them an attractive target for anyone wishing to disrupt operations. Couple to this is the fact that many of these PCs have in the past been poorly maintained in terms of security patches and often contain unsupported legacy versions of operating systems, raising the risk factor considerably.

These gateway PCs were originally included to provide visualisation/control (SCADA etc), data/alarm logging and the link between the plant/asset and the enterprise systems. Initially PLC technology was not capable of delivering these requirements in an acceptable way, in other words, there was no alternative to this architecture.

Clearly from an operational point of view, these requirements are still fundamental delivery points for any system architecture but there are now alternatives to the traditional methods.

Mitigation or Change?

Many IT security companies can provide products and services to mitigate against attacks on PC based systems. These solutions are fine and coupled with a good business security regime can help protect the perceived weak points in any architecture.

However it is important to understand that many of the recent cyber security offerings in the automation arena have concentrated on dealing with the problem rather than exploring how to minimise the problem happening in the first place!

A New Way Forward

Over the last few years the more innovative companies have been developing technology which challenges the traditional automation architecture, so that they can offer a robust environment whilst delivering the operational requirements needed.

The basis of the new approach is to develop a solution which offers direct connection from the plant/asset to the enterprise systems within a ruggedized industrial form factor.

These systems are non PC based and are therefore not susceptible to the same operating system legacy issues that are found in a traditional PC based system.

This is complemented by the simultaneous development of intelligent solutions to provide data and alarm logging to be carried out locally at the PLC.

This technology has created the possibility of removing the gateway PC from the topology altogether. “But what about visualisation and control?” I hear you ask.

Well this is a fair question and there is no crusade here to remove SCADA/visualisation from the system but there are other ways of achieving the same criteria.

If data and alarm logging is happening directly at the PLC, then visualisation and control could be achieved by intelligent HMIs. Significantly, these HMIs do not have to be running a Windows operating system.

If SCADA PC nodes simply must exist, then moving the critical data/alarm logging to the local PLC means that the SCADA node can be the control and visualisation element of the system, whilst protecting this vital information in a more robust PLC environment. This is a simple but effective change in architecture that offers a viable alternative to traditional methods.

Mitigation techniques can then be deployed to minimise the risk with respect to the PC based SCADA or visualisation system. By using these techniques and technology the link between plant/asset and the enterprise can be achieved directly from the PLC level, thus minimising the risk.

Best of Both Worlds

It would appear that, as is often the case, the best approach to this new generation of malware threat is a multithreaded combination of a good set of mitigation techniques and “best practices” with a willingness to look at new innovative architectures to achieve the operational requirements but also reduce the inherent risk. Perhaps more than ever, good advice from acknowledged experts, an open mind, and awareness of current and potent new issues are critical.

The essential hardware

Mitsubishi’s “C Controller” range of automation solutions offers a flexible, secure, ruggedized environment that can house multiple “apps” to perform complex and challenging tasks. The C Controller forms part of the integrated iQ Platform and provides a non-PC based system that is not susceptible to the same operating system legacy issues that are found in a traditional PC based system.

The C Controller platform has enabled a whole host of solutions to be developed including a distributed secure database application and various connection options from asset to enterprise level, interfacing to SAP, Oracle, DB2 and other business systems solutions. This coupled with intelligent solutions to provide data and alarm logging to be carried out locally at the PLC, means that Mitsubishi can offer a secure, alternative architecture to traditional automation system topologies

This article was submitted by Chris Evans of Mitsubishi Electric.

ABB $1Bn order for offshore HVDC wind power connection

ABB has won an order worth around $1 billion from the Dutch-German transmission grid operator TenneT to supply a power link connecting offshore North Sea wind farms to the German mainland grid.

This is the largest power transmission order in ABB’s history. It will deploy the world’s largest offshore HVDC (high-voltage direct current) system with a rating of over 900 megawatts (MW), keeping electrical losses to less than 1 percent per converter station. The completed link will be capable of supplying more than 1.5 million households with clean wind-generated electricity.

ABB will design, engineer, supply and install the offshore platform, the offshore and onshore converter stations and the land and sea cable systems. ABB’s innovative and environmentally friendly HVDC Light transmission technology will transport power from the 400 MW Gode Wind II and other wind farms to an offshore HVDC converter station, which will transmit the electricity to the onshore HVDC station at Dörpen on the German coast via 135 kilometers of underwater and underground cables. A converter station here will feed electricity into the mainland grid.

“Offshore wind power is emerging as a major source of large-scale renewable energy in Europe to help meet emission targets and lower environmental impact,” said Peter Leupp, head of ABB’s Power Systems division. ”ABB is uniquely positioned with in-house manufacturing capability of converter stations, cables and semiconductors, the essential components of HVDC systems, and has invested significantly in these technologies.”

ABB’s HVDC Light transmission technology offers environmental benefits such as neutral electromagnetic fields and compact converter stations. It is ideal for connecting remote offshore wind farms to mainland networks and overcoming distance limitations and grid constraints, while ensuring minimal electrical losses and efficient performance. The 320-kilovolt cable voltage capacity in this latest system is the highest level used for HVDC transmission with extruded cables.

Scheduled to be operational in 2015, this offshore network will help to avoid more than three million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year by replacing fossil-fuel based generation. Germany’s installed wind power capacity of over 27 gigawatts presently meets about eight percent of its electricity requirements. Plans are to double that by 2020. This is the third offshore wind connection order for ABB in Germany, following the 800 MW Dolwin1 link awarded last year and previously the BorWin1 project.

ABB provides a wide range of products, systems and services that enable the efficient generation and integration of renewable wind energy into the grid and its reliable transmission and distribution.