Safe flow of traffic even during thunder and lightning

A Peter Meister AG control system will ensure, in the future, that traffic flows smoothly at Switzerland’s Brüttisellen junction. Future-proof surge protectors in the VARITECTOR PU series ensure the long-term reliability of the control system even in adverse weather conditions.

Safe flow of traffic even during thunder and lightning

Safe flow of traffic even during thunder and lightning

Safe flow of traffic even during thunder and lightning

Experiencing heavy traffic of 130,000 vehicles on average per day, the Brüttisellen junction in the Zurich-North metropolitan area is a real bottleneck.This key hub is where the A1 and A53 come together and merge traffic arriving from Zurich, eastern Switzerland, the Zurich Oberland and the Zurich Unterland.

Despite being regularly maintained, the four bridge structures that traffic travels across on the A1 have dropped below the permissible limits over the last few years. For this reason, extensive renovation work is currently being performed. In this context, Peter Meister AG, the control switch gear expert, has been commissioned with a new control system for the section of road near Brüttisellen.

Future-proof surge protection for greater planning security

“An absolutely reliable traffic control system is essential at the extremely busy Brüttisellen junction, as the only way to create a safe flow of traffic here is to use dynamic displays that automatically adapt to the vehicle flow,” explains Fabio D’Ottaviano of Peter Meister AG. “One of the main requirements we were tasked with fulfilling was to appropriately install a system that runs perfectly both day and night, and in all weather conditions. We satisfied this standard with a high-quality lightning and surge protection concept, among other things.”

A lightning strike involves a voltage discharge of several hundred kilovolts. In an extremely short time, there can be currents between 50 and 200,000 amps. Electronic components, in particular, are generally not able to withstand this massive voltage surge. To prevent downtimes, Peter Meister AG is relying on surge protectors in Weidmüller’s VARITECTOR PU series. These not only offer reliable protection, but also long-term planning security.

“Only Weidmüller was able to offer us surge protectors that already satisfy the IEC/EN 61643-11:2012 standard valid since September 2012,” states Mr D’Ottaviano. “As we’re already working for our clients with the latest technology, we’re saving them the necessary adaptations when the threeyear transitional period of the EN standard becomes a national one. Especially in an extensive construction project like this one, we’re playing it safe and are able to save planning costs.”

Protection against storm-related damage and downtimes is becoming more significant

With its tightened criteria, the newly introduced IEC/EN 61643-11:2012 standard takes the growing significance of reliable surge protection into consideration. The number of heavy thunderstorms the world over has increased significantly over the last few years and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) anticipates that, given globally increasing average temperatures, the number of heavy thunderstorms will continue to increase further. “Compared to the impacts of a lightning strike on people and material, the
costs for a modern surge protection system are quite low. Also, the longer a system is operational, the more likely it will suffer surge damage,” explains David Schüz, Industry Manager at Weidmüller. “I therefore clearly advised Peter Meister AG to protect the entire system with surge protectors featuring the latest technology.”

The VARITECTOR PU lightning and surge protectors work with combined Varistor gas discharge tube technology. The rapid status report in particular was a decisive criterion for Peter Meister AG. The remote signalling contact with “PUSH IN” socket can be connected in a flash and enables permanent monitoring of the surge protector’s status. Also, the large status window offers the best product overview, as the functional status of the surge protectors in the cabinet can be seen at a glance. With these product features, VARITECTOR PU will help to ensure a smooth flow of traffic at the Brütisellen junction once the renovation work is finished. Indeed, it is already doing so today thanks to the sophisticated planning security.