Shell in Rotterdam: rewiring during operation

Shell Nederland: major European production of base chemicals

Subsidiary company Shell Nederland Chemie B. V. operates one of the largest production plants in Europe for ethene (ethylene), ethylene oxide, ethyne (acetylene), and butadiene at its Moerdijk site near Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

These base materials are used in the production of numerous hydrocarbons. These are used to produce plastics, fixtures for vehicles, detergents or latex paints, for example.


In the Moerdijk plant, 15,000 sensor/actuator signals are collected via terminal boxes (junction boxes) and then processed in two switch rooms and a control room.

In order to increase the safety and processing speed of the plant and to further reduce susceptibility to interference, a modernization project was initiated by Shell in 2007.

One of the requirements was 60,000 new maintenance-free modular terminal blocks.


Rewiring of switchgear with QT fast connection  

Rewiring of switchgear with QT fast connection

The challenge of this project was to modernize the plant within just four months while still in operation. This time period was fixed due to other associated modernization measures.

Interrupting production was completely out of the question, since the cost of just one day of system downtime could easily amount to one million euros.

Shell chose QT (QUICKON Terminal) fast connection technology from Phoenix Contact.

One advantage of this technology: the conductors to be connected do not need to be stripped or crimped. The terminal block has two defined switching states and indicates secure and correct connection with a click. In this way, a gas-tight connection is established in the terminal point.

Furthermore, the terminal blocks have numerous approvals, including IEC/EN Ex as well as offshore approvals such as GL, NK or Bureau Veritas. In addition, the QT terminal blocks satisfy the standard for modular terminal blocks – IEC 60947-7-1/2. Industry-specific approvals such as Ex e and Ex according to IEC/EN 60079-7/-11 are also available.

The QT terminal blocks are tested by an accredited laboratory, e.g., insulation tests.

In total 160 marshalling cabinets were rewired. According to the specific application, QT terminal strips with feed-through, double-level, and QUATTRO modular terminal blocks as well as knife disconnect terminal blocks were used for this.


The modernization of all the marshalling cabinets at Shell Nederland Chemie B. V. in Moerdijk was completed in just four months.

The company chose modular terminal blocks with fast connection technology – these provide a 60% time saving over screw terminal blocks during installation.

By using this innovative connection technology, Shell has become a pioneer in the field of process technology.

Phoenix Contact UAB

Svitrigailos str. 11M
03228, Vilnius
+370 5 2106321