Switzerland has around a dozen duty-free warehouses. These warehouses are transit zones for the storage of goods whose main advantages are the temporary suspension of customs law and taxes. They benefit not only from a location in the heart of Europe, but also from legal and political stability. The company Ports Francs et Entrepôts de Genève SA, is based in La Praille, where it manages a floor space of 150 000 m², half of which under the Swiss customs regime (duty-free).
To ensure it is able to meet high standards in quality and security, Ports Francs opened a new warehouse in 2014. It was specially designed to store valuable products in accordance with the requirements of insurers. To establish the necessary climatic conditions, Rotronic HF1 temperature and humidity transmitters were installed to enable control of the optimum storage climate.
Hygroflex Transmitters HF1 Series
1000 commercial premises in La Praille
There are currently 10 duty-free warehouses in Switzerland. Duty-free warehouses are usually located near national borders and airports. In contrast to most other countries, there is no time limit for storage in Swiss duty-free warehouses for goods not stemming from Switzerland. In 1888 the canton parliament approved the establishment of the operating company Ports Francs de Genève SA, which was later renamed to Ports Francs et Entrepôtsde Genève (PFEG).
Ports Francs et Entrepôtsde Genève
There are almost 1000 commercial premises of all sizes available in la Praille. The type of goods stored in duty-free warehouses has changed immensely over the years. The
strong development in the art and wine market has given rise to special security and quality requirements concerning,in the first instance, storage conditions (temperature, humidity and vibrations). The new warehouse building, designed in collaboration with specialised contractors, was inaugurated in 2014. The building, which serves mainly to store valuables such as antiques, works of art and wine, is the result of close co-operation between various specialists in security issues, insurance, energy and architecture as well as the end users. The numerous elements listed in the requirement specification included the critical details relating to climatic conditions (temperature and humidity) in the building’s storage rooms.
Like in our wine cellars
To ensure a high standard of quality and security, Ports Francs et Entrepôts de Genève SA approached the Zurich-based company Rotronic AG in Bassersdorf. “We need precise and stable measuring instruments,” says technical director Marc Golay. The building concerned is equipped not only with a ventilation and air-conditioning system (humidity and temperature), but also with a central building management system utilising the concepts of MSR (measuring, control and regulation). The building is divided into two large parts. The first is for storage of wine in accordance with applicable regulations (70% humidity, 13°C), as in the cellars of our forefathers. The second part is reserved for sensitive and valuable goods, primarily paintings (55% humidity, 21°C). “Since it was one of the main aspects of the building concept, we also wanted to have the possibility to trace the climatic conditions during storage.” This very functional location enables arrival of the goods by road with a loading platform and direct access to the premises. Equipment rooms, escape routes, freight elevators, elevators and sanitary facilities round off the building. “We wanted a system able to maintain a constant level of humidity and a constant temperature everywhere and at any time of the year. To ensure control and logging of these parameters, we opted for the measuring instruments from Rotronic”, adds Marc Golay.
Depending on the storage area of the goods, it is not always easy to check whether ventilation and air replacement are working effectively everywhere. The solution was to utilise 227 Rotronic HF1 transmitters within the complete premises. The instruments are monitored remotely by the MSR system from the Geneva manufacturers EnerBat – a specialist in the technical and energy monitoring in buildings – the system checks daily that the temperature and humidity requirements are being met. Since the building was designed to guarantee the best storage conditions, it does not have any windows so that the climatic conditions can be kept as stable as possible. To improve security for protection and prevention of fires, all stores are equipped with a common, dedicated gas extinguishing system.
The importance of using measuring equipment
Why was Rotronic preferred over other companies?
“It is a company with an excellent reputation that takes action immediately when necessary. It is extremely important that the probes work reliably and accurately as they deliver all the information on the climatic conditions in the building,” explains the technical director. Thus the importance of the measurements. The wall mount T/rh probes for the duty-free warehouse were fastened to the walls at a height of about 150 cm from the floor. They enable control of the temperature and humidity in the room air and emit a warning signal when limits are exceeded. The probes are also connected to the wider systems via analogue and digital outputs and finally integrated in a Scada monitoring system. “We decided to use the products from Rotronic because they were the best value for money,” says Fabien Caradot from Elitec. “There were of course other possibilities, but at the same price Rotronic scored higher with its HF1 product range in terms of quality, reliability of the material, technical support and calibration.” Elitec, which originally worked in the manufacture of electrical switchboards, today employs around 20 people and rounds off its portfolio of services with the fields of building automation, home automation and various inspection services such as technical and schematic analyses.
The Probes used the get the perfect temperature and Air humidity for Ports France et Entrepôts de Genève SA
- 260 Main HF135-AB1X Probe (227 installed, the rest are reserved)
- 22 Probes 9 Wall and duct mount probes) in the logistics hall of CICR
- 2 Wall mount T/rF probes and 1 duct mount T/rF probe in the archives of CICR
- 3 Duct mount probes in the red cross museum
- 1 Ventilated outdoor probe for the Swissquote building in Gland
- 35 Duct mount CO² probes for the school Le Sapay
Access to all our products or for more details please visit @www.rotronic.co.uk