ABB High Voltage Products Pass Extreme Arctic Wind Tunnel Tests for Improved Reliability

Wind variations up to 40 mph at minus 75 degrees differentiate circuit breaker testing

Chicago, IL, April 22, 2008 - Not every company can claim to have products on the market that function reliably in brutal Siberian-like temperatures like 75 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, combined with 40 miles-per-hour winds.

But ABB, the leading power and automation technology company, announced today that its high-voltage circuit breakers have passed such a test. Officials at ABB's High Voltage products and services headquarters, located in Mt. Pleasant, PA, arranged for an extensive arctic air and winds evaluation paid for and conducted by ABB.

Sub-Zero Testing Conditions

ABB utilized an Arctic Wind Tunnel to evaluate its line of high-voltage dead tank circuit breakers. This Arctic Wind Tunnel has the ability to create temperatures ranging from minus 70 degrees (Fahrenheit) to 120 degrees F, with 10-90 percent relative humidity. Rain can be simulated at rates up to four inches per hour, with wind speeds up to 40 miles per hour.

The ABB dead tank breakers already exist in substations all over the world. However, further testing will help make these circuit breakers even more effective in even the most severe weather possible.

"These circuit breakers will be used in extreme cold weather areas, such as Northern China, Russia or Canada - anywhere where the temperatures would fall below minus 50 degrees with strong winds," said Steve Ryan, Quality Manager at ABB who oversaw the evaluations.

The Wind Differentiator

"The biggest benefit - and the biggest differentiator from other extreme-weather tests we've conducted in the past - is the application of wind," said Jason Stull, development engineer with ABB. "You can simulate cold with gas, but this unique test allows us to see the impact that wind has on heat loss. We've learned from experience in the field that wind has a major impact on product performance and reliability."

One of the primary purposes of this test was to determine the required wattage to maintain a gas temperature above minus 29 degrees Celsius at various chamber-temperature and wind-velocity combinations. Testing was conducted from zero degrees Fahrenheit down to 75 degrees below zero. Wind velocity ranged from three to 40 miles per hour.

The test unit was equipped with a new heater design as well as a new insulation package.

Testing Results

The ABB high-voltage circuit breakers performed admirably and with great reliability under the most extreme sub-zero, high-wind conditions possible, according to test results.

ABB personnel were able to determine the minimum and maximum-required wattages to maintain a gaseous state around the circuit breakers' interrupters. If gases get too cold inside the breakers, they will go into lockout mode and cannot be re-opened until they warm up again. This could potentially shut down power for an entire section of a city.

Evaluators were also able to see what impact these changes might have in extreme-weather environments, allowing them to identify problems and recommend product modifications. For example, test results helped evaluators conclude that density monitors should be well insulated from ambient conditions to ensure accurate monitoring of gaseous conditions.

About ABB
ABB ( is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs more than 110,000 people. The company's North American operations, headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut, employ about 12,000 people in 20 manufacturing and other major facilities.

For more information, please contact:
Bill Rose
ABB Media Relations
919.807.5743 - office
919.244.4879 - mobile

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