ABB supplies drive systems to Vard Electro for PSVs

12 Mar 2014
The ABB PLCs and drives went through detailed testing at Vard Electro’s test facility in Norway

The ABB PLCs and drives went through detailed testing at Vard Electro’s test facility in Norway

ABB reports that its modular liquid-cooled drives and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) are part of an application-specific propulsion and thruster power system for offshore supply ships from Vard Electro.

Vard Electro’s electric propulsion technology is specified for a series of six PSVs, the first two of which are currently being built in Japan. Vard is said to have sought a drives and control supplier that could provide a highly configurable drives platform, and it opted for drives from ABB's ACS800 range, with control provided by ABB's AC500 PLCs.

Advantages claimed by ABB for its system include modular configuration of controller and drives, the Automation Builder engineering software suite which provides PLC development tools, and local programming and HMI capabilities of the drives themselves. Together, these are claimed to provide the economy and versatility that Vard Electro was looking for. Additional benefits, according to ABB, include fast real-time control updates and low harmonics power conversion of the drives, and compactness resulting from liquid cooling.

For each of the six PSVs, ABB is supplying five PLC-controlled variable-speed drives to control a total of over 6MW of power: two 2MW drive systems for the main engines, two 730kW drives for bow thrusters, and one 730kW drive for a dual-fed bow thruster that is able to survive the failure of either of the vessel's two power generators.

The ABB system forms part of Vard Electro's new SeaQ Power intelligent power systems range, with the PLCs claimed to provide good real-time control performance. The propulsion control system includes all standard features, with variations to optimise performance in a differentf situations, including a 'ride through' specification to overcome power supply glitches. The system is controlled from large touch-screen HMI panels, also supplied by ABB to DNV standards, located on each cabinet.

Vard has successfully tested the system at its and-based test facility in Søvik, Norway, with the tests witnessed by the Japanese shipyard. The first two propulsion systems have now been shipped, with the first vessel scheduled for launch in mid-2014.

"By combining ABB’s high quality drives and PLCs with Vard Electro’s specialist system integration know-how, we have been able to deliver a propulsion solution offering state-of-the-art performance", said Tommy Damm, drives specialist at ABB in Norway.

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