Electrotechnology MAW 101

A couple of weeks ago, my 8-year-old daughter asked me what I do all day at Mawson station. My answer to her was I play in the snow all day making snowmen and ride quad bikes around the station while eating ice cream and chocolate. I also told her that now and then I try to break things around the station so the carpenters (Chippies), Diesel Mechanics (Dieso’s) and Plumbers can fix things. I told her that we also play cricket and volleyball with the penguins on Saturday and enjoy a beer together in the afternoon together. She was so impressed that she said she would one day come down to Antarctica.

As we know, our primary role as electricians is a bit different to what I explained above. As electricians, in conjunction and in liaison with the other trades, we mainly operate and maintain the station's primary power source and the associated electrical reticulation systems, including all refrigeration equipment, the Building Management and Control System (BMCS) and the automatic fire detection/alarm systems.

We also carry out monthly, quarterly, half yearly and annual maintenance of electrical, refrigeration and fire systems. We prepare and submit monthly and annual reports, assist other trades and there is this other thing called Maximo (Asset and Maintenance Management System) which some of us are still trying to find under our beds. I gave up looking for Maximo under my bed and am starting to look for it around our pool table.

At Mawson we have four 120KW diesel generating sets and two 300KW wind turbines which generate our power. This supplies power to all our buildings via a ring main consisting of five RMU’s (Ring Main Units). Electricity generated is supplied for site services, heating, power, lighting and refrigeration systems, HVAC systems, communications and the good old Maximo. Depending on wind power, our wind generators can sometimes generate up to 80 percent of the power on station.

We also have a paging system of which one of the electricians are on call at night. When we have alarms at night we attend to them. These alarms are categorised into critical alarms, priority alarms and routine alarms. The electricians sometimes stand out from the rest of the crowd in the mornings, as they sometimes use match sticks to keep their eyes open in the morning meetings. These alarms are generated through our paging system.

At Mawson, our main control system is linked via ethernet, MODBUS/TCP, and CANBUS communications. Our SMS (Station Management System) is our main control for our Power generation which is linked to our GSS (Generator Supervisory System) and FMS (Feeder Management System). We also have INET which is our BMCS controls on the station also linked to some C-Bus around the station and RS Logix for powerhouse auxiliaries. All data acquisition is also monitored at Kingston. Maximo is also linked to this which reminds me that I have to pen off now and go look for Maximo.

We have brewing today so maybe it might be down stairs in the brewing room. These are the things some of us electricians look forward to at the end of the day: brewing, hydroponics and Maximo hunting. And there goes the pager again....Catch you all in the next Station News.

Jason Murray (Muzza)