Less is more

2018-04-17 - The first truly all-in-one automatic transfer switch will bring real benefits to critical power applications

When power is lost to a critical application like a hospital, data center or telecoms installation, it is an automatic transfer switch (ATS) that must make sure the backup generator comes online immediately.

Starting the backup generator, switching the load, then reversing the process when things return to normal is a complex task. Installing an ATS is also complex. A host of sensors, controllers, switches and operator interfaces must all be wired up and mounted in an enclosure or panel.
The complexity can be a problem. It makes installation time-consuming and can compromise reliability – completely unacceptable.

When we developed the TruONE ATS we knew that customers wanted them to be safer, more reliable and more economical. The best solution, we believed, would be to eliminate the complexity by designing the world’s first truly all-in-one ATS unit.

Fewer connections, fewer faults
To achieve this, we had to come up with a few design innovations. A key aim was to eliminate all the wire harnesses, distributed electronics, voltage transformers, and external controllers. So instead, the TruONE ATS comprises only the needed parallel poles to connect sources to load, plus a side-mounted mechanism that drives the pole internal power contacts to the desired position and provides the control needed for full ATS functionality.

Another way of ensuring the TruONE ATS was truly all-in-one solution was by using the mains connection to self-power all the functionalities, removing the need for external voltage transformers. This simple idea made it possible to package everything within a single unit.
The benefits of ABB’s design are far-reaching. A single stock-keeping unit (SKU) is not just easier to store: it is significantly more reliable. Every connection we removed meant one less potential reliability issue – and we removed dozens. That means far fewer potential failure points and loose connections to find during commissioning.

Truly simple
Having a truly all-in-one ATS solution will also make installation a lot easier. It just needs to be put into an enclosure and fixed with four screws. Overall, installation is around 80 percent quicker than a conventional ATS. With all the assembly work performed on an ABB production line with automation and quality assurance processes, our ergonomic studies indicate that TruONE cuts cabling times by up to 90 percent.

The TruONE’s complete integration also makes it easier to use. From the start, we knew we could improve on the usual set-up with its separate controller, electronics and user interface. They’re bulky, add to the installation workload and are then fixed in site. For most jobs, they limit the ATS installation design, particularly the door layout for enclosed solutions.

With the TruONE, the HMI provides local control of the ATS functionality. It can be mounted on the switch itself and can be detached tool-free, providing remote control via a 10m RJ45 cable.

This means customers can move the HMI to a different column, grouping it with the installation’s other control equipment. Just being able to detach the HMI from the switch body during commissioning makes the work that little bit easier – because all the functionality is integrated into the switch itself, the ATS can still operate even when the HMI is detached.

Safer by design
Safety is another big benefit. The TruONE’s design means that dangerous line voltages no longer need to be connected to the door, increasing the level of protection for operators as the detachable HMI is completely isolated. In addition, the selector switch is housed next to the ATS mechanism and can be accessed easily to switch to manual operation with no need to open the panel door.

Some customers will wonder if all this integration compromises flexibility. In fact, the opposite is true. Snap-on accessories, including current transformers, communication modules and terminal shrouds, all mount within the TruONE's footprint without tools or the need for an enclosure or panel to hold everything together.

Up until now, ATS designs have just been collections of components installed within an enclosure or a panel. For such a critical piece of equipment, that’s no longer good enough. Reliability requirements can only continue to increase and we believe ABB’s TruONE ATS will soon become the go-to ATS solution for critical power applications.

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