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Replacing seven ABB Otomax circuit breakers by Schneider ones

ArcelorMittal Gent

We are in the heart of ArcelorMittal Gent’s operational facility. The blast furnaces are the starting point of everything that comes next. Every year, this is where we tackle the switches that are currently oldest. The latest project: replacing seven ABB Otomax circuit breakers by Schneider ones. Project Manager Service Claudio Liberato and Business Development Manager Steven Perrault explain.

Steven: “This Arcelor department wants to uniformise so that everything is Schneider Electric. There are standard kits to replace old switches by new ones of the same make. But converting from one brand to another, that takes some customisation. With lots of copperwork on site.”

Claudio: “First, we measure up. How are the connectors of the existing switch positioned? How deep? We compare that to the new one. That way, we can adjust the new switch to the existing connectors. Working with copper is craftsmanship; just look at what our guys at Arcelor manage to achieve, each time battling against the deadline.”

Steven: “At P&V Panels, we have always manufactured our own copper. Therefore, we put a lot of effort into internal training sessions. For on-site works, we can employ our own mobile cutting and bending machines.”


"Our technicians are copper specialists”
Claudio Liberato, project manager

The heart of the plant

Claudio: “Why retrofit and not an entire new installation? Because the panels and the wiring are still in proper condition. Only the old switches are an uncertain factor.”

Steven: “A second reason is the crucial role these lines play within the site. This is the beginning of the plant. When things stop here, the supply to the next lines is obstructed. A third reason is that the underlying control system is very complex. Integrating a new panel would take up too much time; which we don’t have. The downtime needs to be limited to the absolute minimum. Replacements can be implemented per area, so not everything needs to be shut off.”

Claudio: “To limit that downtime, proper preparation is crucial. And when the time has come: working in shifts to speed up things, sometimes even with six technicians at the same time. The schedule is always a challenge. Planned shutdowns are sometimes postponed in order to be able to proceed with production. So, from our part, we need to be able to shift quickly when the timing changes.”

De nieuwe Masterpact MTZ van Schneider Electric.

Replacing 7 switches

On-site conversion of 7 ABB switches to the latest Schneider MTZ switches. MTZ is the successor to NW.

  • Disassembling old circuit breakers
  • Copperwork
  • Connecting new switches

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