The world’s largest food fair, a smog-eating building and ABB technology

Image credit: under a Creative Commons License

How ABB technology helped ensure that the Italian Pavillion, an air-purifying building, opened in time for the EXPO Milano 2015.

At the EXPO Milano 2015 in Italy, more than 140 different countries have been presenting solutions that help ensure the world has healthy, safe and plenty of food for everyone. The six-month long event will have welcomed some 20 million visitors by October 31 when the event will close its doors.

Smog-eating building
The Italian Pavilion, which was built just for this occasion, set the stage for Italy’s excellence, culture and tradition related to food and eating.  Known by locals as Palazzo Italia, the six-story building offers some 13,200 square meters of exhibition space and represents a technological innovation as well as an architectural masterpiece.  The most unusual part of the building is probably the fact that it’s designed to capture air pollution via a smog-filtering facade or perhaps is it its tree-branch inspired surface?    The building also captures solar energy via a photovoltaic glass rooftop.

Design of the electrical installation
The Italian Pavillion’s design was entrusted to Gruppo PSC S.p.A. of Rome, a company who has been designing and building electrical installations since 1958.

For the distribution system, Gruppo PSC S.p.A. chose ABB’s System pro E power unit. Under the supervision of Gruppo PSC, the electrical and mechanical installations were installed in little more than three months. Contributing to the fast turnaround was the fact that ABB delivered the materials promptly and assembled the switchboards on time.

Modular switchboard design
The time required for making the switchboards was significantly reduced thanks to ABB’s modular system design. The System pro E power contains various ABB low voltage components that can be very quickly installed, such as Tmax and Tmax XT molded-case circuit-breakers, miniature circuit breakers S200 and Emax 2 air circuit-breakers, M2M network analyzers and OVR surge protective devices.

All these products assemble quickly using rapid click-in spring connection kits. In addition, the symmetrical System pro E power structure leaves very little room for error when the various parts are assembled. Use of easily tightened Torx type screws for fastening the structures was another small contribution but a significant time-saving detail.

Need for speed
Speed of execution proved to be very valuable because the public utility company made the electricity supply connections only a few days before the EXPO opened to the public. This left very little time for activation and commissioning, which usually takes 30 to 40 days.

The quality of ABB’s components played a decisive role as faults or problems during the delicate start-up phase would have had devastating consequences. For example, materials were not allowed to “freely” enter the EXPO site because of security reasons. Calling in components and technical personnel to deal with faults would have taken considerable effort and time.

From 40 to 10 days
In the end, the work was finished in 10 days instead of the usual 40 – an outcome that wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of Italians and ABB’s System pro E power switchboards.

The Italian Pavillion will become a permanent architecture of Italy’s heritage and will likely remain a tourist attraction for many years to come. I’m proud to say that the project’s urgency not only produced speed of execution but also the very highest quality.

If you would like to learn more about this one-of-a-kind building [click here].


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About the author

Pavlo Tkachenko

II’m the Market Development Manager for Panel builders in the Protection and Connection Business Unit of Electrification Products division. I have extensive experience working as a project engineer as well as sales, marketing, marcom and product manager. During my professional career, I have enjoyed meeting and learning from many interactions with panel builders and electricians at power and utility plants. I’ve been with ABB since 2010.
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