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Load limiting system eliminates the need for supply grid upgrade

When companies install additional machines and equipment, this often requires an upgrade of the electricity supply line. A load limiting system, however, can eliminate the need for costly grid expansion measures. Such systems ensure that facilities continue to operate in the event of a circuit breaker overload by selectively switching off individual loads. An on-site report from the Geriatric Clinic in the Swiss city of St. Gallen.

After installing new machines and equipment, many factories and businesses frequently find that their electricity supply line is inadequate. This problem can also occur with building extensions or when new buildings are constructed within an existing complex. Conventional solutions include the expensive upgrading of the supply line or the installation of a new transformer station. Usually, in such cases, new cables are routed and entire sub-distribution networks are redesigned and implemented.

When planning its project for a new industrial laundry facility, the St. Gallen Geriatric Clinic faced precisely this challenge. The electricity supply cable connecting the main building and the laundry located in a separate building was dimensioned for a maximum load of 125 A. This was adequate for the existing laundry system, because most of the machines drew the thermal energy they required from a steam generator. However, since this steam generator was decommissioned during the conversion, the capacity of the electricity supply line was no longer adequate for the five additional electrically heated washing machines and three tumble dryers.

Fully automated load limiting enables higher capacity

The clinic found the solution to its problem in a load limiting system from Xamax. The automated system is capable of handling higher power consumption without requiring the electricity supply line to be replaced or upgraded. To achieve this, the Xamax system continuously monitors the current and power requirements at the circuit breaker cabinet. When many machines and systems are in operation at the same time, the power drawn gradually rises towards the load limit. In the event of an imminent overload, the system intervenes and the Energy Manager automatically switches off one or several consumers. At the St. Gallen Geriatric Clinic, the system is capable of automatically switching five washing machines and three dryers. To make this possible, our technicians parameterised the switching times and priorities of the individual machines. When required, the machines are not simply disconnected from the mains supply, but the Xamax system temporarily switches off individual power-intensive processes, such as heating. Thus, the washers and dryers continue to operate normally even though individual sub-processes are switched off and subsequently switched on again.

The load limiting system guarantees the smooth operation of the clinic’s laundry facility without triggering any load protection mechanisms. “Without the load optimisation system, we would not have been able to implement our project, because the installation of a new, higher-capacity electricity supply line was not technically feasible,” explains Willi Büchel, Technical Director of the St. Gallen Geriatric Clinic. Thanks to the Xamax system, the clinic was able to avoid a costly and time-consuming upgrade to the supply grid.

This Xamax solution is also used to optimise charging stations for electric cars. In addition, it allows companies in electricity-intensive industries to reduce their peak loads, which incur costly monthly charges by local utilities, by up to 30%.

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