ABB UPS system prevents loss of several millions at Novo Nordisk

2017-08-14 - A production standstill at Novo Nordisk in Gentofte, Denmark, can result in losses of several million Danish kroner. An ABB UPS system has prevented 30 probable production breakdowns in the power supply since August 2014.

PSC100 UPS-I system with touch screen to visualize the status of the plant and supply condition

Novo Nordisk in Gentofte, produce medicine for hemophiliacs. During the man­ufacturing process the environment is kept sterile by maintaining positive pressure via a ventilation systems to keep contaminants away from the products. Occasionally, voltage drops at the Novo Nordisk plant caused the sensitive ventilation system to cut out, resulting in large production losses.

“Whenever positive pressure is lost, all medicines must be discarded and the production premises and all the equipment must be cleaned thoroughly, which takes three days,” said Jesper Agertoft Pihl, electrical engineer and plant owner at Novo Nordisk in Gentofte.

A standstill may cost several millions Danish kroner and in the worst case, the pharmaceutical manufacturer will not be able to supply the market. Novo Nordisk in Gentofte is in production 24 hours a day throughout the year, which means that it is not possible to make up for a production loss and this can affect the security of supply to consumers. That is why the factory chose to install two offline PSC100 UPS-I systems from ABB in 2014, which keeps the voltage stable now and prevents shutdowns.

“An offline UPS system is connected in parallel to the supply. It monitors the network, and if it detects a fluctuation in voltage or a failure in the supply, it will step in and take over the load,” explains Rasmus Theill, product marketing director of Power Protection & EV Infrastructure at ABB in Denmark.

Increase in voltage dips
Typically, before the UPS system was installed, the pharmaceutical company would have four to six shutdowns a year, a number that was increasing. Once the UPS facility was installation in August 2014, everything changed and although 59 voltage dips were registered from the date of installation until mid-December 2016, 30 of which would have likely caused a downtime because the volt­age dip fell below 30 percent, which usually caused the ventila­tion systems to cut out.

“Within only three weeks the system had paid for itself by preventing a voltage induced shutdown,” said Jesper Agertoft Pihl.

A voltage dip occurs when mains voltage switches between different sources of energy, ie, when switching from a wind power plant to a solar plant. The number of these disconnections had been increasing during the last few years as more and more of the power supply comes from alternative energy sources. The voltage drops do not affect normal production lines, but it is problematic in highly sensitive facilities.

Best security in the market
The function of the UPS system is not only to prevent breakdowns due to voltage fluctuations, but also to act as a general emergency supply and here every precaution is taken. The construction of the system is redundant with eight modules per plant, each having five battery strings. Even if one module drops out, the remaining modules en­sure that there is supply. The plant has no less than ten minutes of battery backup.

“The uniqueness of the UPS-I is that the transfer time - the time it takes for the system to connect, is less than 1.4 milliseconds. Additionally, it does not have the same power loss as an online UPS solution, but achieves an efficiency better than 99 percent, which is the highest on the market,” emphasizes Rasmus Theill.

At the factory, they had previous problems with harmonic currents, which caused unintended trip­ping and affected the lifetime of the components. Each UPS system has two 100A active harmonic filters, which now solve this problem.

To find out more about ABB's power protection solutions visit or send an email to

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