Sydney Airport Case Study
In 2009, Sydney Airport Corporation Limited (SACL) awarded MPower a contract to upgrade six generator facilities as well as the switchboard controls that regulate runway lighting. These upgrades were necessary to ensure safety requirements at the airport were being maintained in a compliant manner, making the facility one of the safest in the world.
MPower’s technicians and engineers worked to tight deadlines, minimising disruption to the operations of the airport. This was fundamental, and required a high level of organisation and skill to ensure the lights were powered on the runway each and every night during the upgrade period.
Sydney Airport is Australia’s international gateway, with a record 37 million passengers in 2012 and 615,000 tonnes of freight a year. This world-class facility is Australia’s largest transport and logistics hub, supporting 28,000 jobs across 800 businesses and organisations.
From the boarding gate to the runway, safety is paramount at Sydney Airport, ensuring international safety standards are maintained at all times.
Having power at all times is crucial for the safe landing of aircraft, particularly in low visibility during the night and in poor weather conditions when the landing path needs to be well lit. To improve airport operation standards and to remain compliant with international safety standards, Sydney Airport needed to upgrade existing emergency generation systems that provide critical power in an outage and the switchboards that control the lighting along the runways. By investing in these upgrades, the airport can be assured that emergency power is available in critical times and the airport remains operational.
Integrating the upgrade with the existing infrastructure ensured Sydney Airport had a dependable supply of power, even in the most critical moments. Woodward 3400 series generator controllers were installed with the existing emergency generator systems, enabling synchronisation to the mains in the event of low visibility conditions. This sophisticated technology ensured that the light output remained uninterrupted in the event of a mains failure, providing additional safety on the runway.
Essentially, each aspect of the system upgrade needed to communicate effectively and integrate with the existing infrastructure. This provided the capability to the existing system to rely on alternate power supply in the event the emergency system needed to be used. Applying an upgrade to Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) improved automation processes and reliability. In addition, the Automatic Transfer Switches (ATS) were modified, removing the mechanical interlock and increasing the function in synchronisation with the generator systems, providing immediate power when required.
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