How NES and Elpro are working for green fjords and ferries

Our fjords are among the most central parts of the Norwegian national heritage, and for that reason they are protected to an ever increasing degree. The fjords will now be even a little greener. In close cooperation with Norwegian Electric Systems (NES), Elpro has contributed to making ferry links in Western Norway emission free.

Elpro has custom-made and developed switchboards with additional products for the ferries as well as the charging stations for the Western Norwegian ferry links, which are now served by both electric and hybrid ferries. The new ferries form an important part of Norwegian electrification.

Close design phase follow up

The system integrator NES has been responsible for the design, planning and delivery to the ferry projects. When choosing the panel supplier, they had to find a company which could adapt to the continuous innovation of the project.

We chose Elpro as our partner since we were completely dependent upon close follow up in the design phase. At the same time, we knew in advance that Elpro would make the products as agreed – and at the agreed time. The cooperation has been very good, and Elpro has been extremely helpful whenever there were changes and modifications underway. This is greatly appreciated, says Martin Aasheim, Sales Manager at NES.

Will recommend Elpro to others

At the very outset of the project, Elpro designed a concept which fitted in with NES’s demanding specifications. Elpro and NES have worked closely together throughout. Among the specifications from NES, a requirement was that their self-developed system for programmable logical controllers (PLCs) should be integrated in the panels.

— As for us, Elpro’s ability to always deliver on demanding specifications has been a positive experience. We are very happy with the results of the panels and do not hesitate to recommend Elpro as a switchboards maker and partner to others, Aasheim says.

Specifications and custom made products hand in hand

Many of the panels have been developed with an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). This allows for critical functions in the charging stations to be ensured of uninterrupted power supply – and thus the risk of interrupted operation is dramatically reduced.

— The UPS solution is connected to certain operation critical circuits and makes sure that the charging station’s most vital functions are supplied with electricity even after a potential power failure, Magnus Greiff at Elpro adds.

Greiff is Head of Engineering at the switchboard department at Elpro Solutions. In addition, the switchboard team has built a separate control panel for several charging stations. This lets the operators control parts of the system without being close to the charging stations.

Image: Switchboard cabinets ready to be delievered, coated in NES’ distinct blue.

Battery powered ferries

Some of the ferries in Western Norway have now had their own charging system installed on board.

— Elpro has also been involved in projects where we cooperate with NES about rebuilding switchboards. The object has for example been to facilitate the installation of battery packs on board the ships. The battery packs provide for a more even load on the diesel engines and more electric operation of the ferry, Greiff says.

Customer specific colours

Elpro’s ability to deliver custom made products has been important for NES. The modern powder coating facility, which gives the customers an unlimited number of colour variations to choose from, means that the customers may showcase their own brand on the delivery – and that the end product looks good. NES has had the products coated in their own blue colour.

— As all the cabinets and switchboards are coated in their own blue colour, it is clear to those who see the cabinets who is behind the project, Greiff says.

Image left to right: Copper bus bars drawn and manufactured at Elpro’s factory, control panel with screen to remote control the charging station.

The final stages of the project

The big ferry project is well underway for Elpro, and many panels have been delivered, but some remain. Several panels are now ready for delivery from the Elpro factory, whereas some of the charging stations are still under production.

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