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Demand for modular substations increasing

1st September 2023

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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As demand for dry-type transformers increases, particularly for difficult operating environments, dry-type transformer specialist Trafo Power Solutions is accelerating its delivery of complementary systems, including modular substations.

Trafo Power Solutions, which was established in 2017 and has experienced exponential growth, has been increasingly focusing on complementary systems related to its dry-type transformers amid significant demand, says Trafo Power Solutions MD David Claassen.

In line with this, he says that the company is leveraging its extensive expertise in designing and providing custom engineered electrical solutions to provide packaged solutions that include their dry-type transformers.

Dry-type transformers are a fit-for-purpose and reliable option for harsh environments and are designed to be more resistant to the environmental conditions often found in mining operations, such as moisture, dust and vibration.

These types of transformers offer higher levels of uptime, as less inspections are required, and more cost-effective installations, as they do not require civils infrastructure, compared with oil-cooled transformers which typically need their own structures to be built.

Further, the safety of dry-type units allows them to be positioned closer to the load, thereby reducing amount of cable required between the transformer and the load, further decreasing the cost of installation.

With the success of its dry-type transformers, a natural progression for Trafo Power Solutions was to examine the design and manufacture of different types of enclosures for different applications and environments, Claassen tells Mining Weekly.

This includes modular substations, which are increasingly in demand for many applications, including at industrial sites and data centres, as well as in the mining and the oil and gas sectors, where reliable and efficient electrical power is essential.

These modular substations, also known as e-houses, are prefabricated structures providing centralised and secure housing for critical electrical components and infrastructure, including switchgear, transformers, motor control centres, distribution panels and other power distribution and control devices, he explains.

They offer rapid deployment, lower installation costs and more flexibility as an alternative to building electrical infrastructure on site, particularly in remote and inaccessible locations.

The custom-built modular substations, housed in a standard 20 foot or 40 foot shipping container, or constructed as a customised e-house, are already fit for road and sea travel and, once on site, they can be quickly connected and commissioned, with assembly and testing undertaken at the workshop prior to delivery, reducing the need for costly civil works or professionals on site.

A customised e-house, which can be built to specification, also allows for larger applications where more space for equipment is required.

“Dry-type transformers add considerable value to the modular substation concept, as these can be installed inside a container or e-house,” he adds, highlighting the increased demand for packaged and integrated solutions which includes its dry-type transformers.

“There is certainly a trend in the market where customers are looking for more integrated solutions, which allows better quality control and ease of installation.

“We expect the trend towards modular substations to continue strongly,” Claassen continues.

According to the company, it has designed and supplied containerised transformer solutions for mining customers, including the remote Bisie mine in the north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the success of which led the mine to order three more substations equipped with dry-type transformers.

It is also currently manufacturing about 40 mini-substations with dry-type transformers following a large order from a copper mine in southern Africa.

This demand is not only in Africa, but interest is being seen from international operations, he says.

Over the years, the company has been involved in projects across the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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