ABB to modernise the Oosterscheldekering barrier operating system, part of the world’s largest flood protection structure

The critical infrastructure is said to prevent 60% of the Netherlands from potential flooding.

Rijkswaterstaat, part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, has awarded ABB a contract to upgrade the Oosterscheldekering barrier operating system, the icon of the Dutch Delta Works, the world’s largest flood protection structure which protects the country against flooding from the North Sea. With 26% of The Netherlands below sea level, Oosterscheldekering plays a key role in keeping the country safe.

Delta Works consists of two locks, six dams and five storm-surge barriers. At 9km long, the Oosterscheldekering, is the largest of the 13 Delta Works dams and storm surge barriers, and it has protected the Zeeland and South Holland hinterland against high-water since 1986.

ABB’s Ability System 800xA has controlled the Oosterscheldekering barrier for the last 35 years. Under normal conditions, the barrier remains open, when water levels of more than 3m above the Normal Amsterdam Level are forecasted, by ABB technology, the barrier comes down in advance.

At present, 260 ABB AC 800M controllers enable 62 steel doors, each 42m wide, to open and close at the push of a button. This project demonstrates the capabilities of System 800xA, with 64,000 I/O under one single operating system, and will also ensure the barrier complies with the latest security regulations.

Gerton Dekkers, vice-president at ABB Benelux, commented: “We are proud of our role in providing the automation technology for this critical infrastructure which prevents 60% of the Netherlands from potential flooding.

“We have worked closely with Rijkswaterstaat for the last three decades, with both parties collaborating in sharing their skills and knowledge to optimise operational efficiencies at the barrier. This project exemplifies our core values of enabling safe, smart and sustainable operations.”

The contract, which was awarded to ABB last year, includes a pre-study and proof-of-concept to test the proposed set up. The contract, which includes a 15-year service and care agreement, will be phased in over the next three years.

ABB has also supplied the control systems for several other storm barriers in the Netherlands, including Maeslantkering, Ramspolkering and the Haringvlietdam.