Project: Key technology at ABB improves energy efficiency

For more than 30 years, ABB has been making high-performance semiconductors for energy technology at its production site in Lenzburg, Switzerland. A master key system from Kaba provides protection and security for the highly sensitive cleanrooms where the semiconductors are made.

Energy is a valuable commodity, but its use and transmission still involve a great deal of loss and inefficiency. Even getting it from the power station to the end user results in about four-fifths of that precious energy being wasted. It is therefore essential to improve efficiency – with ABB semiconductor technology, for instance. This enables lots of power to be transmitted with minimum wastage.

For 30 years, ABB has been making semiconductors from silicon at Lenzburg (CH). Since then, the product and the production process have been adjusted on an ongoing basis in line with the latest research findings. In 2010, ABB further expanded its capacity and in April brought another production facility on stream, where the latest generation of high-power semiconductors is made in sterile cleanrooms.

Compatibility, the key to success

All doors and entrances at the new production site have been fitted with online readers and Kaba elolegic components, or are connected up to the access system via Kaba CardLink. Secure entrances to the cleanrooms are provided by Kaba turnstiles. In addition, preparatory work is under way to upgrade the locking systems in the older buildings to the same high standard.

ABB has been using secure Kaba master key systems in its buildings for many years – in earlier days with mechanical systems like Kaba star, now with the online system solution Kaba exos. Important milestones in this long-standing and successful partnership were the switch-over to Kaba elolegic cylinders and the introduction of Kaba c-lever components. ABB has adjusted its locking systems in line with the increasing demands placed upon them. This has been and remains possible thanks only to the forward and backward compatibility of product and system generations which is a hallmark of Kaba’s work.

As hygienic as an operating theater

In the highly sensitive work of manufacturing semiconductors, security is a top priority. It is important, first of all, that the cleanrooms are accessible only to those who have been trained in how to conduct themselves in these delicate areas. The cleanrooms have to meet more stringent hygiene requirements than an operating theatre in a modern hospital. It is also important that the person in charge of the production operation knows how many people are there at any one time. This information can save people’s lives if the building has to be evacuated because of a gas or chemical leak, for instance.

Only with a high-powered online system like Kaba exos is it possible to manage the high-frequency arrival and departure data in a tour-shift operation efficiently. As Urs Doering, Facility Technician at ABB, explains: “Kaba exos and the master key systemmodel are central tools for us. Their potential uses go far beyond access control for staff and visitors. We will be extending their range of functions on an ongoing basis.” An application is currently being discussed at ABB in Lenzburg which would allow employees at the production plants to identify themselves with a badge, making login and password superfluous.