China Mobile International scales up new Frankfurt data centre

ABB’s digital solution cut overall installation and commissioning time by 60% while using 90% less copper.

ABB has provided electrical switchgear and control equipment to China Mobile International (CMI), an international telecommunications company located in 36 countries and regions, for its new data center in Frankfurt, Germany. The solution was delivered via electrical power distribution supplier E+I Engineering, with the package including four medium-voltage (MV) switchgear panels equipped with ABB's Relion® 620 series protection relays, which communicate to the digital remote operating panels (ROP) using IEC 61850 - the international standard for communication in electrical substations. The solution was designed and delivered to meet CMI’s tight timescales, with installation and commissioning time being significantly reduced by use of fully-remote factory acceptance testing and because the digital protection and control scheme is based on a single fiber optic communications line instead of multiple copper wire connections.

Key components in the new data center are ABB’s ZEE600 Remote Operating Panels (ROP). The panels protect operator safety by enabling remote control over all four ABB UniGear ZS1 switchgear panels via a touch-screen interface mounted in a separate room. UniGear ZS1 is ABB’s mainline switchgear for air insulated primary distribution, manufactured worldwide with more than 500 000 panels currently installed. It is used in a variety of demanding applications allowing for high degrees of customization to best meet customer and project specific demands.

Importantly, the ZEE600 provides role-based access control, so that operators can only perform certain actions, according to their role and training. It has capacity for control over additional switchgear should CMI wish to extend its data center in the future.

“Installing ABB’s solution was as fast as putting up a bookshelf,” said Paul Dunne, Customer Engineering Manager from E+I Engineering. “Compared to a conventional ROP, ABB’s digital solution requires 90% less copper cabling and this cut cable installation times by 70% and overall installation and commissioning time by 60%. ZEE600 provides cost-effective remote supervision and control capability, while strengthening cybersecurity. Furthermore, reducing the resources needed for cabling, and avoiding the travel associated with an in-person FAT, were additional environmental benefits.”

“This solution showcases the benefits of increased digitalization,” said Stephen Doyle, Marketing and Sales Director, Northern Europe - ABB Electrification Distribution Solutions. “Digital control enables us to build flexibility into our project delivery and ultimately enables rapid construction. Doing so enables customers like CMI to onboard their end-customers sooner. Moreover, since the installation coincided with the height of the pandemic, we held our first-ever fully remote FAT for this type of project via video call. This saved time, cost and emissions, helping us deliver the best solutions for our customers.”

Gavin Zhao, Data Center Manager from CMI added: “As a rapidly expanding presence on the global telecommunications market, CMI needs solutions that can be deployed fast and flexibly so that we can serve our customers. E+I’s solution with ABB switchgear is helping us to achieve this.”

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