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Safely to the Top: Industrial Switches of MICROSENS Applied for ERGO Lebensversicherung AG

40,000 square metres of fully air-conditioned office space, distributed over 12 floors, eight lifts, and more than 1,800 persons who all need to be transported in the same direction during the rush hours all make high demands on the facility technology applied in the ERGO Tower Überseering 35 in Hamburg. A high-performance network serves to centrally control all tasks of facility technology. In this context, the industrial switches of MICROSENS play a pivotal role. They are integrated via fiber optic connections into the network. They work reliably even with high temperatures and therefore also function smoothly and without faults in lift compartments. In addition, they won over the ERGO specialists by means of their high flexibility.

As one of the leading companies in the German market both for private and corporate customers, ERGO Lebensversicherung AG offers a comprehensive portfolio of individual solutions for old age pensions, acquisition of personal assets, and income maintenance. Up to a few years ago, the insurance company operated under the corporate name Hamburg Mannheimer and can, thus, draw on more than 100 years of experience in the industry. At the company site in Hamburg, the corporation operates several buildings, among them the previous Shell House in Überseering 35. It accommodates modern office spaces, numerous conference rooms, a proper catering service, and even has its own bowling alley. In addition to the employees of the ERGO Group themselves, tenants such as the police force of Hamburg or the EDEKA corporation benefit from the comprehensive service portfolio provided by the facility services corporation Gebäudeservice Gesellschaft Überseering 35 mbH as the subsidiary of ERGO Lebensversicherung.

All processes within the building are controlled by means of state-of-the-art facility technology over a central network. Up to two years ago, this network consisted of standard components as they are used in office environments. These switches were not designed for the application under extreme conditions. The planned migration of the lift unit, however, required the expansion of the network. In the future, all lifts were meant to be controlled and monitored over the IP network.  For this purpose, the switches had to be accommodated in the machinery compartment of the lifts on the 13th floor of the building. This led to specific requirements made on the new components:

  • Robustness: They also had to work reliably at high temperatures and in case of electromagnetic interferences.
  • Expandability: In the first stage of expansion, only 12 ports were required, but it was evident that this demand would rise in the following years.
  • Flexibility: Numerous protocols are used in facility management, such as  Rapid Spanning Tree, LACP, or LLDP. The new devices were meant to support these protocols.
  • Power supply included: It had to be possible to supply connected video cameras with power by means of Power-over-Ethernet independent of the power network.
  • Security: For reasons of EMC, the switches must permit a galvanic separation. Because of this, it was decided to opt for the coupling via optic fiber.
  • Authentication: Further basic requirements included the support of port security according to Standard 802.X as well as the connection to a RADIUS server.

Three providers made it to the tests of the ERGO experts. In the end, the Profi Line Modular Series of MICROSENS was the solution which was selected as the ultimate and convincing choice. The industrial switches also work at temperatures between -40 and +75 degree centigrade without fault, fulfil all further requirements made by the ERGO IT specialists, and offer top performance in extremely confined spaces with up to 25 Gigabit ports. The application of TP/SFP Combo ports permits the use of four existing Gigabit accesses both as optic fiber uplink or copper access. Since their installation at the beginning of 2013, the MICROSENS switches have been working without fault. The expansion of the basic switches from 13 to 25 ports is currently being implemented.

The switch in the lift machinery compartment on the 13th floor serves to connect all components of the modern lifts of the company OTIS to the IP network. Moreover, further industrial switches are used in the meantime to control numerous additional applications:

  • the systems for uninterruptible power supply as well as the emergency lighting,
  • the controllers of the heating and air-conditioning technology, the access systems, as well as the network analysis components,
  • the access control systems of the basement car park,
  • the video cameras at the entrance and exit points of the basement car park are coupled via the MICROSENS switches and are supplied with power by means of PoE.

Currently, the manifold energy measuring devices, among other components, require new network ports. The keyword in this context is electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). From the central grounding point up to the detailed monitoring of half waves, the ERGO experts check numerous parameters to be able to ensure the network quality and to assess the harmonic oscillations. The flexibility of the industrial switches of MICROSENS has paid off just as much as their high reliability.