Energy management specialist Schneider Electric will launch a number of its latest integrated mining solutions, which form part of the company’s Eco Structure method to improve energy consumption and asset performance, at the Electra Mining Botswana exhibition.
Schneider Electric Africa mining, minerals and metals VP Wilhelm Swart asserts that improving energy management in industry is vital to address the current energy crisis in Africa.
He adds that, because of the need for more efficient technology, the company is focusing on being the “energy-management company of choice” by developing integrated technologies, which improve process efficiency through promoting intelligent communication between equipment.
The company’s Blokset intelligent motor control centre (iMCC) solution, which employs Ethernet communication technologies to effectively improve the energy consumption of motors, will be one of the technologies on show.
Swart notes that the Blokset system is fully IEC 61439-compliant – a stringent new requirement of mining companies in the market for motor control centres. The system is also IEC 61439 certified for use with alternative vendor technology. Since July, Schneider’s Blokset iMCC has been manufactured in South Africa.
Meanwhile, Schneider Electric will also showcase its latest Process variable speed drives (VSDs). Swart explains that, when the VSDs and Blokset iMCC solutions are integrated, the VSD’s downtime is reduced by about 20%, compared with traditional technologies, thereby significantly reducing maintenance costs. The integrated system also offers energy savings of up to 50%, compared with those of fixed-speed motors.
Further, the new Process VSDs are energy management ready with built-in predictive maintenance. The dynamic QR code on the VSD allows online-related troubleshooting by simply scanning with a device, such as a smartphone, which will connect to the Internet and provide live customer care centre access and advanced technical documentation.
Swart points out that Schneider Electric will also launch the M580 – its latest and “most powerful programmable logic controller (PLC) system to date”, at Electra Mining Botswana. The M580 PLC system has improved Ethernet capabilities, enabling multiple high-speed connections with other equipment in full single or dual redundant ring networks topologies.
He explains that the M580 PLC is an ideal solution to improve the efficiency of medium to large automated process applications, adding that it addresses all the requirements of modern process automation, including Hart protocol, WiFi modules, cybersecure built-in, a selection of modules: digital or analog I/O expert modules and communication modules.
Schneider Electric will also display its latest generation of medium-voltage (MV) switchgears, the Premset.
Swart explains that the Premset MV switchgear is a completely shielded solid insulation system, making it significantly safer than previous MV switchgear technologies, as operators can make direct contact with the equipment without the threat of being electrocuted.
It also has a significantly reduced footprint, compared with older MV switchgear technology and the MV system is totally protected against environmental impacts, such as pollution, dust, humidity and condensation, he points out.
“Schneider Electric’s Premset MV switchgear is safe, flexible, simple, modular and smart grid ready. Further, its effective distribution intelligence, with a range of onboard protection relay options, enables various communication technologies from other vendors to be used with this technology,” he explains.
To address the need for secure electrical supply at mining operations, Schneider Electric will also introduce its APC-MGE uninterrupted power supplies at Electra Mining Botswana.
Meanwhile, Swart highlights that visitors to the Schneider Electric stand will also be exposed to the company’s sustainable development programme. This provides an outline of improving business sustainability through improved process efficiencies and effective methods for having a social licence to operate, including the roll-out of effective enterprise, job creation and skills development initiatives, and providing communities with essential services.
Electra Mining Botswana will take place at the Gaborone Fair Grounds from September 1 to 3.