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Trusted Wireless – wireless I/O systems in Yallourn brown coal-fired power station

Long-term energy generation using technology from Phoenix Contact

The Yallourn brown coal-fired power station, owned by TRUenergy (formerly Yallourn Energy), is the third largest power station in Victoria, Australia, and is located in the Latrobe Valley, 150 km east of Melbourne.

The power station supplies approximately 22% of Victoria's electricity needs and 8% of the national demand for electricity.

Electricity generation at Yallourn dates back to 1921. In 2001, TRUenergy launched a $500 million investment to upgrade the power station and coal mine. Phoenix Contact was chosen to supply a Trusted Wireless solution.


With the coal supply from Yallourn's East Field mine expected to be exhausted in 2007, work commenced on a diversion of the nearby Morwell River five years ago to grant unimpeded access to sustainable coal deposits from the Maryvale coal field.

Without this, the power station potentially faced significant modification or even closure. The Morwell River Diversion, and the access to coal supplies it allows, will ensure the power station can continue to operate until 2032. The upgrade of the coal material handling conveyor at Yallourn was implemented with products from Phoenix Contact.


Australia, IO signals, Trusted Wireless, Yallourn, Power generation  

Trusted Wireless I/O devices

The RAD ISM 900 BD module is a wireless transceiver (transmitter and receiver) for extending point-to-multipoint connections and repeater circuits, for 900 MHz bidirectional, wireless transmission systems.

The RAD wireless transceivers from Phoenix Contact had to undergo extensive testing at the Yallourn power station before they were accepted for the application.

TRUenergy decided on using Wireless I/O devices for the upgrade of the coal handling plant to avoid having to use catenary cables again, which had previously been a source of problems.

The coal handling plant delivers the coal from the open-cut mine's raw coal bunker to the power station boiler house bunkers. The equipment is used on 16 different sections of the plant (8 bunker discharge wagons (BDWs), 4 transfer conveyors, and 4 shuttle conveyors). This solution consists of 16 transceiver sets, 72 digital input modules, 72 digital output modules, 18 analog input modules, and 18 analog output modules.

Photos show one of the installed Wireless I/O systems. The distance between the distributed I/O cabinet and the furthest BDW is approximately 250 m. The multiple connection points for the I/Os and the front plate with enough space for additional RJ45 and D-SUB ports were an advantage here. VARIOSUB RJ45 industrial Ethernet plug-in connectors from Phoenix Contact were developed to transmit Gigabit Ethernet according to category 5e. The VARIOSUB plug-in connector is compatible with conventional RJ45 plugs and enables fast connection using standard patch cables. The plug-in connector is fully shielded in order to enable reliable data transmission in environments with electromagnetic interference.


Wherever analog and digital I/O signals need to be transmitted over large distances, Trusted Wireless is exactly the right technology. This system is a modular solution and can transmit up to 33 analog or 66 digital signals.

Trusted Wireless was developed specially to provide maximum transmission reliability and maximum immunity to interference. Planners and users therefore have access to an extremely reliable transmission path for industrial fields of application. Signals that could only previously be acquired with a great deal of effort, or not at all, are now quick and easy to acquire.

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