There can be fewer greater requirements for an ever-reliable standby power supply than in a busy hospital. Put simply, lives could be lost if vital electronic equipment fails.
FG Wilson, one of the world's leading manufacturers of gas and diesel generating sets, recently strengthened its stellar pedigree in delivering resilient power solutions to hospitals which ensure unlimited power when the mains power fails.
The international engineering manufacturer, headquartered in Northern Ireland and with operations in China, the US, Brazil and India, was tasked in 2008 with supplying and delivering a standby system to power the entire £300m Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert.
Scotland's largest NHS hospital, the Forth Valley Royal opened in 2011 and features 860 beds and 16 operating theatres. The facility includes a mental health unit and a women and children's unit across an area the size of nine football pitches. It also boasts Scotland's first fully-robotic pharmacy system, in which robots dispense and label medicines.
The project has been successfully delivered by Dieselec Thistle Generators, an official FG Wilson Dealer, under contract from Lang O'Rourke. The 8MVA of power capacity, distributed via the site's 11,000 volt network, covers everything from the state-of-the-art kitchens to the hi-tech operating theatres.
Indeed, as a result of the work completed at this facility, FG Wilson and Dieselec Thistle have been awarded contracts with NHS hospitals in Fife and London as well as Europe's largest hospital, Southern General Hospital in Glasgow.
During a competitive pitch for the Forth Valley Royal contract in 2008, Dieselec Thistle and FG Wilson demonstrated their expertise and excellent track record with case studies of turnkey power solutions, which they had previously delivered for New Stobhill Hospital and New Victoria Hospital in Glasgow.
Dieselec Thistle Generators was awarded the tender following the submission of clear and transparent technical documentation about the full turnkey solution. The project consisted of four 2 MVA, 11,000 volt, 50 Hz generator sets synchronised together and arranged in a N+1 configuration to deliver a reliable standby power system to the hospital - even when one generator fails or is out of service for maintenance.
Crucially, FG Wilson designed the system so that it could accommodate critical loads in key areas of the building. As a key element of the power management system designed by FG Wilson, operating theatres, X-ray rooms and medical imaging centres could be brought back on line rapidly via generator standby power. The ability to implement this level of prioritisation was made possible by the span and reach of master hot/standby PLC and distributed I/O outstations.
The complete power system designed by FG Wilson delivers uninterrupted control of the power system, even when individual elements of the PLC control equipment and communications fail. In order to deliver this control, 14 PLC input/output outstations are located at main LV and HV switchboards throughout the hospital, with the outstations connected to the hot/standby PLC via a Fibre Optic cable system connected in a ring configuration.
With the ability to reduce the level of damaging earth fault current whilst still enabling protection to operate, FG Wilson also delivered an earthing system for the HV generator.
In addition, SCADA, a touchscreen Power Management Supervision system, was installed, enabling the hospital engineers to oversee the power management system and monitor and control any element of the system when required. FG Wilson ensured SCADA could be controlled from both the master PLC panel as well as remotely via the energy centre control room.
A key priority for the hospital was also to keep sound levels to a minimum, so FG Wilson designed and manufactured bespoke low noise containers which were housed in a compound on the hospital site.
George Hobbins of Dieselec Thistle Generators, project manager on the Forth Valley Hospital project, commented:
"As with any NHS hospital, ensuring costs remained viable was a priority for Forth Valley. Working in conjunction with FG Wilson, we delivered substantial savings compared to a conventional installation solution. It was a very rewarding project and a great success thanks to the co-operation and collaboration of all involved."