Across Airports, Power Monitoring and Control Systems Often Determine Passenger Experience

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Today’s public airport operators are focused on keeping visitors happy by providing a high level of service in an environment that is both safe and reliable. A successful airport experience makes it easy for passengers to find their way through check-in, bag drop and security, and to get to their gate. It also provides visitors with opportunities to eat, shop and relax along the way.

Airport PowerBut as airport management strives to create an airport experience that is more efficient, more comfortable and safer than ever before, they are constantly challenged with the operation of complex infrastructure and subsystems including electrical distribution infrastructure and the power monitoring and control systems that run it. This is one of the key pillars that provides the behind the scenes foundation for what has evolved as a “smart” airport. Failure or inefficiency of such systems can result in both short-term frustration (passengers who spend more time waiting in lines and less time relaxing and enjoying the amenities of the airport) and traumatic experiences (panic and anger when the power fails, the airport goes dark, flights are cancelled and luggage is lost).

Modern airports now seek support to minimize downtime and to modernize control systems through use of digitized hardware and software solutions. In fact, a number of major airports have recently engaged with Schneider Electric to help boost power infrastructure and control system modernization initiatives.

In the US, multifaceted power system saves thousands each month

One US airport, which supports an average travel volume of 50 million passengers a year, recently invested in an EcoStruxure™ Power system. The power monitoring and control system connects over 2,000 devices including power meters, relays, circuit breakers and transformers.  This helps the airport maintain uptime and drive down energy costs in the following ways:

  • Power event notification – The power quality meters provide important information such as Power Quality Disturbance Direction Detection with magnitude, duration and waveform capture data. The power monitoring system constantly monitors power quality parameters and informs staff if an anomaly occurs anywhere in the power distribution system. Power event notifications are sent directly to facility team members so that any issues that surface can be quickly identified and addressed to minimize damage, reduce disruptions and avoid outages.
  • Tenant billing – The airport manages many tenants and must administer monthly electricity bills and issue them to their 700 tenants, comprised of shops, restaurants, airlines, electrical charging services and many others. EcoStruxure Power Monitoring Expert (PME) software automatically calculates and generates electricity usage reports per tenant so the accounting department can easily issue prompt and accurate bills. Having this integrated tenant sub-billing option as part of the EcoStruxure Power system saves the airport thousands of dollars in labor and software licensing costs compared to having a manual billing process or a separate tenant billing solution.
  • Advisory services – Power and energy management specialists from Schneider Electric use an advanced, cloud-based software platform called EcoStruxure Power Advisor to review the quality of the power and energy data being collected by the EcoStruxure Power system. Energy data inaccuracies and meter configuration and wiring issues are quickly identified and the powerful analytics suggest probable causes for each problem. The Power Advisor platform is also used to find potential Power Quality issues that were not readily apparent previously. The prescriptive capabilities of the analytics platform even suggest potential solutions for power quality problems. Power Advisor helps the Schneider Electric service provider and airport facility management determine how best to allocate financial and electrical resources in order to optimize operational performance.

In Spain, a single control platform facilitates integration of disparate systems

One of the major airports in Spain that hosts 35 million passengers and processes 96,000 tons of cargo each year, prides itself on the advanced service they can provide their tenants, visitors, and staff. The advanced technology systems that deliver the visibility to the airport’s physical infrastructures are based on one control platform that successfully integrates infrastructure hardware and software products from many suppliers.

The Wonderware by AVEVA software suite provides a control environment that processes over 1 million signals and includes the control of 250 escalators, ramps, elevators and moving walkways, 10,000 regulators, sensors and lines, 300 primary electrical panels, 1,300 secondary electrical panels, 26 transformer centers, 247 wells, pumps, and valves, and 30,000 fire detectors and controlled items. The control system also offers monitoring support of the airport’s automated luggage transport system which consist of 6,000 motors and 20 kilometers of conveyors. When all of these systems work together, the result is a positive experience for the passenger who is visiting the airport.

The single Wonderware system provides an easy to use, scalable and flexible platform that allows airport staff to create control templates that can easily be deployed by any of the airports many system integrator contractors. Wonderware helped to create an optimization model during both validation and implementation phases of the airport’s modernization project.

The Wonderware platform was selected to serve as the overall system architecture that links the several processing layers required to successfully manage the site’s extensive operations. Airport management staff benefit from a collection of integrated common services including visualization, configuration, deployment, communication, security, data connectivity, data storage and management, people collaboration, to name a few.

With the implementation of Wonderware software solution, the airport management team has achieved a scalable system that requires lower operational and maintenance costs, with little to no disturbance to operations. In addition, because the system is able to obtain information on energy consumption, the team is able optimize the site’s overall energy use.

To learn more about how our digitized power monitoring solutions and AVEVA infrastructure control can help to enable aerospace industry modernization and expansion, visit our EcoStruxure Power web site.

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