The Linth-Limmern Power Stations AG (“KLL”), located in the Swiss Linthal valley, is a partner company of Axpo Power AG. Originally built in 1957-1958, the plant was extended during the seven years “Linthal Project 2015” starting in 2009. This is one of Axpo’s most important expansion projects.

A new underground pumped storage facility extracts water from Lake Limmern, pumps it up to Lake Mutt, situated at 630 m higher elevation, and then uses it to generate electricity as needs be. As storage power stations, KLL primarily produce valuable peak load energy, playing a crucial role in maintaining the balance between energy supply and consumption.

Inexpensive electricity bought on the European energy market can be used to pump the water that creates the electricity which can then be sold at higher prices. The Linthal Project 2015 increased the facility capacity from approximately 520 MW to 1520 MW, the equivalent of a nuclear power plant. All the power production processes and the entire plant is monitored and managed in the KLL control centre located in Tierfehd.

Modern control centre

Given the expansion of the pumped storage facility and the corresponding quantum leap in energy output, the KLL decided to build a modern control centre. The mandate was to create a highly dynamic, ergonomic cockpit environment from which the on-duty operators can quickly, safely and efficiently manage the power plant around the clock. This includes monitoring both new and legacy systems which actually run the power station, as well as security technology for buildings, tunnels and construction areas on site.Given the expansion of the pumped storage facility and the corresponding quantum leap in energy output, the KLL decided to build a modern control centre

Meteorological systems also had to be integrated as weather conditions are essential to production planning. KLL chose WEY for this challenging project because of the company’s modern yet reliable, system- independent technology and convincing experience with similar reference projects. Bringing extensive experience in the integration of control systems like Rittmeyer to the table, WEY became involved in the early stages in the project and supported KLL from the beginning of the conceptual phase.

WEY Distribution Platform

WEY’s solution for this demanding work environment is implemented on the WEY Distribution Platform, an IP-based network that connects and switches virtually any system to any workplace or video wall, in real-time and in accordance with user rights. Sources and peripheral systems are remoted to the system room and controlled from a WEY Smart Touch keyboard at both main and backup operator desks. The solution achieves consistent and intuitive control at operator stations with a multitude of peripheral devices, such as monitors, audio devices, a video wall, mouse and keyboard.

All the systems and computers have been remoted to a secure and cooled system room. This eliminates bothersome noise emissions at the desk and enhances system security by protecting computers from unauthorized interventions. Operators benefit from a clearly arranged desktop featuring only those devices which are necessary.

A single multifunctional WEY Smart Touch keyboard with an integrated 10" touch screen controls all the diverse sources and systems, and affords users a fast, interactive, and intuitive user work experience. Existing systems such as RITOP, the process management system from Rittmeyer for controlling turbines, water pumps, fire protection and lake capacity, are fully integrated in the WEY Distribution Platform and managed from the main operator position.

Video wall

A fully integrated 2x4 video wall from eyevis consists of eight 60" rear-projection cubes and provides an overview of all systems, sources and closed-circuit TV feeds. The video wall features a multitude of individual pre-sets displaying up to 80 different views. Eyevis rear-projection cubes based upon DLP technology are first and foremost among professional video wall systems. This leading technology offers decisive advantages: for one, it is not prone to the so-called “burn-in” effect whereby the image quality suffers from static content. Further, DLP cubes are practically the only option to realise virtually “seamless” video walls designed for 24/7 applications in control rooms.

WEY Smart Control

WEY Smart Control enables the operators to manage a comprehensive alarm and event management solution which encompasses a whole host of peripheral systems. For example, a typical KLL access control scenario starts when a visitor or worker buzzes the control room to gain access to any of the entry points (barriers, gates, turnstiles or doors). WEY Smart Control automatically projects the closed-circuit TV images onto the videowall.The new system allows each operator to customise their own workflows and create individual scenarios on the video wall

Using the touch screen on the WEY Smart Touch keyboard, the operator takes appropriate action, such as activating voice communications, moving the cameras or opening the door. Building services such as lights are also controlled using WEY Smart Control technology and a multifunctional keyboard.

The KLL now benefits from a fully integrated, state-of-the-art control room. All systems can be controlled from a single workplace. Department Head, Mr. Martin Steiner has this to say about the project: “The integration of the systems is a huge benefit and simplifies our working processes significantly.” The well organised workplaces facilitate faster interventions and simplify control of the energy production processes. Processes such as access control have been fully automated. All the facilities are being centrally monitored and controlled. The coordination of interventions using modern team collaboration techniques is assured.

Flexible and scalable system

According to Mr. Martin Steiner, KLL Department Head, “The flexibility and scalability of the system is something very positive. Further, KLL benefited from WEY Technology’s profound experience in the integration of control systems. The quality is excellent. Budget and the timetable have been respected. We enjoyed individualised consultation services from the very beginning, and our visit to the showroom helped us to conceptualise our project and make our decisions.

KLL employees were involved in the planning phase of the project from the outset. Surveys were conducted, and the corresponding concept was developed together. “The new system has been well received by all the staff. It allows each operator to customise their own workflows and create individual scenarios on the video wall.

Mr. Steiner is very satisfied with the overall project and recommends WEY to all power plant operators who face similar challenges.

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