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CFF Massaboden: command & control of hydraulic

The Massaboden power plant was built in 1899 to generate the power for construction of the Simplon tunnel. After completion of the tunnel in 1906, the plant was transferred to CFF and has been supplying power for rail operation since then. Two double, horizontal Francis turbines of 4.25 MVA each transform the hydraulic power into electrical energy for the 15kV rail grid.

The automation & control of the “wet” components (water intake, penstock and the penstock inlet valve) have becomeobsolete (electromechanical relay system). The CFF therefore called for tenders for the replacement of a complete automation & control system for the hydraulic components.

The CFF assigned the project to HYDRO Exploitation at the end of August 2016 with the following services:

  • Study of the network architecture.
  • Creation of an execution proposal for the automation & control of the hydraulic parts (programmable automaton, SCADA, remote transmission system, relay automation).
  • Creation of electrical schematics with EPLAN.
  • Awarding of the contract for the supply of the new electrical cabinets, quality control and factory acceptance testing with simulations and tests of the main functions, as well as implementation of the network architecture at the cabinet manufacturer's factory.
  • Dismantling of the old installations.
  • Installations of cables and connections to the plant, and on the remote sites (water intake and surge tank).
  • Replacement of the instrumentation (level measurements, flow, pressure as well limit switches).
  • Programming of the PLC’s, SCADA, remote communication system and level and purge regulation functions.
  • Commissioning of the new system in the power plant, on the remote sites and with the Bern CFF control centre.

The installation at the Bitsch factory as well as at the external sites was carried out in winter conditions by our employees in January 2017. In February, at the same time as the replacement of the automation & control of the main units, the automation & control of the hydraulic parts was tested and implemented by our specialists from the Automation & Control unit.

Thorough preparation for the project and close collaboration with the client made it possible to finish this project successfully while meeting the deadlines.


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HYDRO Exploitation SA
Rue des Creusets 41
CP 750 - CH-1951 Sion
T +41 (0) 27 328 44 11
F +41 (0) 27 328 44 12
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