Finland’s Largest Hospital Area Modernizes Electrical System to Future-Proof Power Supply

Nov. 6, 2023
The Meilahti Hospital Area is responsible for delivering healthcare to more than half a million people annually, and it has committed to creating a reliable and safe power supply

The Meilahti Hospital Area in Helsinki, operated by the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS), is responsible for delivering healthcare to more than half a million people annually. But to keep these operations powered, the Hospital Area requires the same amount of electricity a year as a small town. For HUS to continue providing dependable service, it has committed to creating a reliable and safe power supply.

To help accomplish this mission, the Meilahti Hospital Area, in partnership with ABB, has upgraded its electrical system to maximize uptime, eliminate the use of SF6 – a potent greenhouse gas – in the medium-voltage (MV) switchgear, extend the life of electrical equipment, and optimize hospital operations.

One upgrade included a turnkey MV circuit breaker retrofit, which replaced SF6-insulated models with next-generation VD4 vacuum circuit breakers. These new devices clean potentially harmful short-circuit failures in tens of milliseconds, preventing severe damage to the hospital’s electrical infrastructure and minimizing the risk of downtime.

To prevent severe environmental impact and adhere to strict national laws, ABB disposed of the old SF6 breakers and gases safely and sustainably.

Another upgrade included replacing the aging relays in the switchgear with ABB’s REF615 protection relays. These relays offer extensive protection and control functionality to ensure an uninterrupted power supply.

Sixten Holm, Business Development Manager at ABB in Finland, said, “For service providers such as HUS, one of the greatest opportunities for improving reliability and reducing carbon and costs is by modernizing outdated components, rather than replacing the entire switchgear. Replacing aging circuit breakers and protection relays can also be done quickly with minimal downtime.”

This overhaul has given the HUS a technologically driven and environmentally friendly solution that improves reliability, security, and safety. To continue reducing operating costs in the long term, the HUS also decided to integrate ABB’s Ability Energy and Asset Manager system to optimize the hospital group’s maintenance activities.

The manager system remotely monitors assets and provides HUS personnel with real-time information on the condition of the equipment, such as temperature. This predictive maintenance system delivers early warnings of any potential failures, providing crucial information employees can act on to prevent unplanned downtime.

Jari-Pekka Korhonen, Operations Manager for HUS Kiinteistöt Oy, the organization that manages real estate services for HUS, said: “What matters most is that in our hospitals, the healthcare professionals can perform surgeries and treat patients safely – and that the power supply won’t cause any problems for them."