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Case Study

ABB Scientists Get a €6,5 million Grant for their Groundbreaking Project

The grant agreement was signed on July 12th 2017. The total budget of the project is € 8.5 million, of which 6.5 million comes from the resources allocated by the European Commission. The “NOVUM” project will last for four years and new, automated methods for the manufacture of insulation elements for cellulosic material transformers will be developed. As a result, both cost and time of production will decrease considerably and the amount of waste generated will be reduced by 60%.

Insulating elements play a key role in the windings and active parts of transformers and are manufactured at the ABB Insulation Department in Łódź, which is one of the largest transformer and component manufacturing centers for ABB Group Transformers. Products from the Łódź plant are delivered to all ABB plants in Europe as well as to Brazil, the United States and China. The Łódź factory manufactures kits for all types of power transformers, including the largest 1100 kV for HVDC connections. One insulation kit for such a device weighs over 20 tons and individual components can even have a diameter of 3.5 m. At present, the insulation elements are made from a preset in the process of manual production. The main assumption of the NOVUM project is the automation of the production of these components.

We will strive to produce the most complex insulating elements using 3D cellulose printing technology. For mass production we want to use two other methods: thermal and injection molding – says Krzysztof Kryczyński, Director of the ABB Insulating Materials Plant in Łódź.

Research on the development of a new production method was launched at the ABB Corporate Research Center in Kraków in 2014 and was based on 3D Printing technology – admits Łukasz Matysiak, Project Coordinator at ABB. – However, in order to obtain better results and parallel testing of several technologies, the company began searching for partners to implement a joint research project – explains Łukasz Matysiak.

As a result of these activities, 10 non-commercial companies and organizations have joined the international R&D consortium. The initiator of the project is ABB and the national research and development center – the VTT Technical Research Center in Finland is the main partner and coordinator of the project. The research is also supported by the AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków and partner companies: JRS from Germany, EcoXpac from Denmark, 3Dtech from Finland, Munksjö and Vertech from France, RMA from Poland and Exergy from the UK.

The consortium included entities with different competences, which gives us full potential to implement the project. There are organizations that have the ability to create new equipment for the production of insulating elements, materials, and companies that will deal with business models, finance and communications – says Marek Florkowski, the Director of the ABB Corporate Research Center in Kraków.

The joint research will not focus solely on 3D cellulose printing, but will also test the thermal and injection molding of this material.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leader in technologies for power, robotics and propulsion systems, industrial automation and power networks, serving customers in the utilities, industry, transportation and infrastructure markets worldwide. Continuing its 125-year history of innovation, ABB now creates the future of digitization of the industry, playing a key role in the energy revolution and the fourth industrial revolution. The ABB Group employs approximately 132,000 people in over 100 countries.

Photo by: Filip Grecki, Wojciech Wysocki

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