Remote Panel HMI Unit from NOJA Power improves personnel safety and simplifies control of multiple ACRs

NOJA Power, in collaboration with EMR Switchboards, introduces customised Remote Panel HMI Unit for remote operation of multiple Automatic Circuit Reclosers, eliminating the need for personnel to enter hazardous switching facilities

Press Release

May 2016
NOJA Power Custom Remote Panel HMI Unit

NOJA Power Custom Remote Panel HMI Unit

Electrical switchgear engineers NOJA Power today announces that in a collaboration with Northgate, Qld-based EMR Switchboards, it has introduced a Human Machine Interface (HMI) panel for remote control of its OSM series Automatic Circuit Reclosers (ACR or “auto recloser”).

The Remote Panel HMI Unit can be customised to meet specific user requirements and employs a number of NOJA Power HMIs––identical to those used in the OSM series ACR’s RC10 control and communications cubicle––mounted on a panel, mimicking the topology of the switching facility. The panel is enclosed in an IP66-rated steel cabinet––suitable for indoor or outdoor mounting––which also houses a fibre-optic modem and a power supply.

Traditionally, technicians operate a NOJA Power ACR directly from the HMI in the RC10 cubicle which is located within 21 metres of the unit. This brings personnel into close proximity to medium voltage cables and switching ACRs, which can be hazardous. Moreover, in a switching facility with identical multiple ACRs it is possible to confuse one device with another and implement an incorrect switching procedure.

The Remote Panel HMI Unit lowers personnel risk because it allows technicians to operate ACRs without entering a hazardous switching facility. The unit is typically mounted hundreds of metres from the ACRs, isolating technicians from the medium-voltage cables and switching equipment and enabling them to work in an enclosed, centralised facility protected from the weather (which is particularly important during emergencies when personnel could be on site for many hours). In addition, centralising control of multiple ACRs in an enclosed location makes it easier and quicker for technicians to take notes, operate a computer or access network information.

The first installation of the Remote Panel HMI Unit is at a switching facility situated at a coal mine in Queensland, Australia. The customised unit was designed and built by EMR Switchboards, primarily using NOJA Power components. Housing eight HMIs to control the switching facility’s OSM38 Three Phase ACRs (see “About NOJA Power OSM38 Three Phase Recloser” below), the Remote Panel HMI Unit connects to each ACR via a fibre optic cable and two fibre modems.

Technicians are able to interrogate, configure and operate each ACR from the Remote Panel HMI Unit in exactly the same way as they would if using the HMI on the RC10 cubicle. However, the process can be completed much more quickly than attending individual ACRs in turn and the unit’s mimic panel makes it easier to obtain an overview of the status of each ACR and confirm the switching procedure has been carried out correctly. The HMI in the RC10 cubicle can be used as an alternative to the Remote Panel HMI Unit in the event of panel failure.

“A switching facility is a dangerous place,” explains Neil O’Sullivan, NOJA Power’s Managing Director. “In addition, each part of a typical facility looks the same so it’s possible for personnel to get confused about where they are and which auto recloser has been switched.

“We are constantly working with our customers to improve safety and the Remote Panel HMI Unit is just the latest in a line of products which do exactly that. The panel addresses risk concerns by allowing technicians to operate the auto reclosers at a safe distance and in comfort while being able to gain an overview of the status of all the units at a glance - thereby quickly applying and confirming the correct switching sequence.”

The Remote Panel HMI Unit complements NOJA Power’s Dual Remote Panel HMI Unit which is intended for use inside a substation control room. The Dual Remote Panel HMI Unit is suitable for 19-in rack mounting and also allows engineers to configure and control ACRs or access network performance information from a safe and comfortable environment.