Tag Archives: Trafo Power Solutions

TRAFO DISTRIBUTES WORLD-LEADING TEMPERATURE CONTROL RELAYS

Italy-based temperature control relay specialist TECSYSTEM has appointed Trafo Power Solutions – a leading local supplier of dry-type transformers – as its distributor in sub-Saharan Africa.

TECSYSTEM has, for over 40 years, been developing and manufacturing electronic and electromechanical devices for controlling temperature on equipment such as transformers, motors, generators and variable speed drives.

“We have been using temperature control relays from TECSYSTEM on our dry-type transformers for many years,” said David Claassen, managing director of Trafo Power Solutions. “The quality of this product makes the company one of the global leaders in this specialised field.”

Andrea Lorusso, sales area manager at TECSYSTEM, says the company is pleased to have the expertise and network of Trafo Power Solutions to give the South African market easier access to its products.

“Trafo Power Solutions understands their operating environment well, and also appreciates the value that our technologies can add to the market,” says Fabrizio Giavenni, sales & marketing manager. “As we continuously develop our product range, customers in South Africa can look forward to more exciting innovations.”

The synergy between the two companies is based on the fact that Trafo Power Solutions equips all of its cast-resin transformers with heat sensors that link to a temperature control system. Wherever there is an unusual temperature rise in a transformer, it is vital that the equipment can automatically generate an alert so that the problem can be investigated and solved, emphasises Claassen. 

“Customers purchasing dry-type transformers are often supplied with a temperature control relay as a separate item – almost as an optional extra,” he says. “This is not our approach; rather, we consider the control and protection requirements as an integral part of the overall scope of designing a transformer.”

Trafo Power Solutions designs a dedicated control and protection panel – which includes a TECSYSTEM relay – to suit the customer’s specific transformer. It is then a simple matter of cabling up the main supply, without having to deal with the complexity of linking up the control unit. 

“This is part of our philosophy of providing a full solution to the customer, not just products,” he says. “We are assisted in this by TECSYSTEM’s wide variety of highly reliable control relays, which ranges from hard-wired configurations to protocols such as SCADA and ethernet.”

The company will also be supplying TECSYSTEM’s air-forced (AF) fan cooling systems for cast resin transformers, says Claassen, with control systems designed and installed by Trafo Power Solutions. These fans are installed on the transformer feet, in a set of three fans on each side of the transformer, directly under the windings. 

“They are typically used for additional protection rather than continuous operation,” he notes. “The fans provide efficient and prompt cooling if and when the transformer temperature exceeds a pre-determined value.” 

The company’s regular use of TECSYSTEM products puts Trafo Power Solutions in an ideal position to assist the market in making effective use of these technologies. There are also adequate stocks held in South Africa to allow for easy availability and quick access to the required products. 

“Our facilities are equipped with the required equipment to test products before shipment to customers, as well as to pre-programme the units according to the planned application,” says Claassen. 

The programming is done on a dedicated simulation desk which is able to replicate the conditions in which the relay is required to operate. This simplifies the job for the customer, who then has only to follow a wiring diagram when installing the relay.  

“We can also play a valuable remote trouble-shooting role for customers throughout Africa who need to update parameters in a relay, for instance,” he says. “With our equipment and expertise, we can ‘mimic’ the unit on our side and then assist them over the phone.”

According to Giavenni, the first micro-processor unit was developed  in 1984 specifically to protect the cast resin transformers from temperature overloads. Continuous research and development by TECSYSTEM has seen ongoing product improvements ensuring reliability.

“Quality is an important cornerstone of our production and all our products comply with the latest technical specifications and ratings. Our R&D department conducts both  preliminary and routine testing from the initial engineering phase right through to production,” he says.

SUB-ZERO, HIGH-ALTITUDE CHALLENGE FOR TRAFO TRANSFORMER

Designing a dry-type transformer to function at minus 40⁰C temperatures at an altitude comparable to Everest’s base camp is one of the latest achievements of Johannesburg-based Trafo Power Solutions. 

Supplying to a gold mine expansion in Kyrgyzstan, the company has provided a 3,000kVA transformer with a primary 6,3kV and a secondary 400V specification, which will operate at 4,020 metres above sea level.

“The altitude alone presents particular challenges to the design, in terms of cooling,” says David Claassen, managing director of Trafo Power Solutions. “Most large electrical equipment is rated for 1,000 metres or below, so we had to derate this unit to account for the altitude. The higher the location, the less efficient the cooling – and the temperature range on site is between minus 40° C and plus 25⁰C.”

The eight tonne outdoor transformer has a specially designed enclosure to keep out snow, dust and moisture, while also extracting heat. Claassen notes that there is a risk of condensation when the transformer is turned off under these conditions. 

“We therefore built into our design a control system for automatically heating the enclosure when the transformer stops operating for any reason,” he says. “The heaters will then, of course, be turned off again once the transformer resumes operation.”

Under the demanding environmental conditions, the enclosure was coated with a corrosion resistant C5 paint plan. The design also included a neutral earthing resistor with special surge protection elements. He highlights that Trafo Power Solution’s strategic partner TMC Transformers – a leading manufacturer based in Italy – has extensive experience in producing transformers for these severe conditions.

“A dry-type transformer is well-suited to these cold conditions as there is no fluid involved in the cooling process, and it is fairly straightforward to provide the necessary heating and cooling as required,” he says. “There is also very little maintenance required, which is a great advantage in a remote location like this.”

With travel restricted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the customer could remotely witness the factory acceptance test conducted at TMC’s IEC-approved facility in Italy, which allows all routine and special testing to be done in-house. 

“The online factory acceptance test uses communication technology and cameras around the test bay, including cameras focussed on the technician performing the test,” says Claassen. “This allows the customer to check in detail all aspects of the specifications, and to interact freely with the TMC and Trafo Power Solutions team during the witness test.”

At the start of a project, Trafo Power Solutions will provide customers with a published theoretical test report of the tolerances – in terms of aspects such as losses and impedance – expected by the IEC. These are then compared to the actual readings obtained during the factory acceptance test, where he says the results are invariable well within IEC requirements.

DRY-TYPE TRANSFORMERS FROM TRAFO IDEAL FOR COAL MINE

Trafo Power Solutions has customised two dry-type transformers for a coal mine in South Africa’s Limpopo province, allowing the units to be fitted into existing enclosures while meeting the customer’s demanding duty requirements.

“While we would normally supply the transformer together with its enclosure, we are also able to design the solution according to the dimensions available on site,” says David Claassen, managing director of Trafo Power Solutions. 

This required one of the transformers – a specialised 3900kVA unit – to be copper-wound to achieve a smaller footprint suitable to the space constraints without compromising the technical performance. With 11kV capacity on the primary windings, this transformer included four separate secondary windings – for 1810V, 1515V, 1360V and 1210V output respectively. 

“Being located outdoors on a coal mine, the transformer had to be well protected from fine dust and moisture, requiring a specially designed IP54 enclosure,” says Claassen. “At the same time, the transformer’s large size meant substantial heat loss, which needed to be extracted from the enclosure. The design therefore included an air-to-air heat exchanger to recycle cool air in a closed loop.”

The second transformer supplied to the mine was a 1600kVA unit for indoor application, stepping down from 11kV to 550V. Working closely with transformer repair experts Koratech Services, who applied certain modifications to the enclosure, Trafo Power Solutions was able to meet the dimensional and electrical requirement of the application – complete with control and protection system.

“Underground mining often presents space constraints which have to be considered in the design of the transformer or the miniature substation,” he says. “With our expertise and our strategic partnership with leading Italy-based manufacturer TMC Transformers, we can readily cater for these conditions.”

He notes that Trafo Power Solutions also supplies dry-type transformers to the marine industry, which requires not only that transformers can be safely employed indoors, but that they often be accommodated in cramped spaces. This experience enhances the company’s technical capability in underground mines. 

Claassen highlights that both transformers were ordered during the tight Level 5 Covid-19 lockdown in South Africa. Despite similar restrictions in Italy, TMC Transformers proceeded with manufacturing, running a 24-hour, three shift operation to ensure the required social distancing. 

“The high level of collaboration with our strategic partner allowed us to design, build and supply the transformers despite the Covid-19 disruption in 2020,” he says. 

Claassen says the dry-type transformer is ideal for both hazardous and non-hazardous areas of coal mines, as the absence of oil as a coolant makes the solution much safer. There is also much less maintenance required on dry-type transformers.  

GROWING NICHE FOR DRY-TYPE TRANSFORMERS IN OIL, GAS PROJECTS

Demanding safety requirements in the oil and gas sector are being met by custom-designed dry-type transformers from specialist company Trafo Power Solutions.

“We are seeing growing success in the application of dry-type transformer technology in this industry, where all equipment must be safe to use in hazardous areas,” says David Claassen, Trafo Power Solution’s managing director. “Being air-cooled, these transformers are a safe alternative to conventional transformers, which generally use oil as their coolant medium.”

Oil presents risks of explosion, fire and environmental damage while dry-type transformers, by contrast, can be installed indoors, in confined spaces and in proximity to operational areas where people are present. 

“Through our strategic partnership with leading transformer manufacturer TMC Transformers in Italy, we can design, supply and install fit-for-purpose solutions for hazardous areas,” says Claassen. “TMC’s facilities include state-of-the-art technology and capability, and allow us to compete with the best quality and range available globally.”

In one of Trafo Power Solution’s largest projects to date, it is partnering with TMC Transformers to supply the world-class Mozambique liquid natural gas (LNG) project in that country’s northern Cabo Delgado province. Eighteen dry-type transformers are already on site, inside modular substations for the project’s first construction camp of about 9,500 contractors. 

Also being supplied are 20 specialised dry-type transformers for the project’s gas plant, delivering features that only a few players in the global transformer sector could deliver. 

“These 400 kVA to 1600 kVA transformers will be housed in IP56 enclosures, equipping them for high levels of ingress protection,” he says.

SPECIALISED TRANSFORMERS FROM TRAFO FOR LNG PLANT

Twenty custom-designed transformers are being prepared by dry-type transformer specialists Trafo Power Solutions for a liquified natural gas (LNG) plant being constructed in northern Mozambique. 

The 20 transformers feature a specialised design that ensures high levels of ingress protection, according to David Claassen, managing director of Trafo Power Solutions. These units – ranging from 400 kVA to 1600 kVA – are housed in IP56 enclosures, for protection from fine dust and water. This solution has been achieved despite the transformers being cooled by air rather than oil.

“By applying world-class technology and expertise, these transformers are designed to operate reliably in humid and dusty outdoor conditions, providing continuous rated power without the use of any forced cooling,” Claassen says. 

The specialised design of the transformers accommodates elements such as temperature rise, losses and insulation systems – suiting each unit for the application and the load it will supply. 

“They will step down voltages from 6,600 V in the medium voltage (MV) network to 420 V required in the plant, and will supply various motor control centres,” he says. “Their specific designs will meet the requirements for various different impedances, voltages and K-factors for non-linear loading.”

This specialised solution is being supplied in a strategic partnership with Italian technology leader TMC Transformers. Together, the companies competed with the world’s leading OEMs for the prized contracts in this LNG mega-project – reportedly the largest-ever single foreign direct investment in Africa.

Trafo Power Solutions will also be supplying dry-type transformers for a Zone 2 hazardous area of the plant, requiring compliance with strict classifications and stringent sign-off from certified professionals. 

Claassen emphasises the safety advantages of dry-type transformers, which do not use oil as a coolant. They therefore pose no hazard in terms of fire, explosion or environmental damage. The transformers also need minimal maintenance, which an important benefit when located on such a remote site. 

DRY-TYPE TRANSFORMERS ENSURE SAFETY AT LNG CAMP

Dry-type transformers supplied by specialist company Trafo Power Solutions are ensuring the safe and reliable operation of substations in a construction camp at a large liquified natural gas (LNG) project in northern Mozambique.

According to David Claassen, managing director of Trafo Power Solutions, 18 dry-type transformers were included in modular substations built in South Africa and shipped to site recently. The company is in a strategic partnership with leading Italian transformer manufacturer TMC Transformers, and is competing at the highest level with other global OEMs.

“These substations are for the project’s first construction camp of about 9,500 contractors,”  Claassen says. “Our transformers have been specially designed for the high ambient temperatures in northern Mozambique.”

Ranging from 500 kVA to 1250 kVA, the temperature of these units will rise to a maximum of only 80⁰C when under full load. With Class-H insulation on both the medium voltage (MV) and low voltage (LV) windings, they will withstand a temperature of 180⁰C. This is considerably more than the potential 40⁰C ambient temperature in the tropics plus the 80⁰C temperature rise. The transformers are also designed for levels of humidity up to 95%.

He highlights that the safety advantages of dry-type transformers allow them to be used in this application. As they do not contain oil – which is the usual coolant in conventional transformers – they pose no fire, explosion or environmental hazard. 

“A transformer containing oil would present a significant risk in a construction camp accommodating thousands of people in close proximity,” he says. “The safety level of dry-type transformers also means that they can be used in enclosed spaces like modular substations. The minimal maintenance required is an added advantage, being located on such a remote site.”

Claassen notes that the global competition to supply this mammoth project has been intense, and points to the vital partnership between the local knowledge and experience of Trafo Power Solutions, and the technology and expertise of TMC Transformers.

TRAFO GAINS GROUND WITH DRY-TYPE TRANSFORMER SOLUTIONS

Dry-type transformer specialist Trafo Power Solutions is growing its footprint in mining and beyond with increased take-up of its safe and reliable technology.

“Our contract pipeline is a clear demonstration of the market’s confidence in dry-type transformers, especially for indoor applications, hazardous areas, remote locations and demanding outdoor environments,” says David Claassen, managing director of Trafo Power Solutions.

Recent orders have included a specialised 3900 kVA unit for a large coal mine in Limpopo province. With a primary voltage of 11 kV, this dry-type transformer delivers through four different secondaries of 1810 V, 1500 V, 1400 V and 1200 V. To operate reliably in the dusty outdoor location, it is installed in an IP54-rated enclosure and cooled using air to air heat exchangers

Even during the Covid-19 lockdown, supply from the company has continued. Two 2000 kVA dry-type transformers were installed in a modular substation for a diamond mine expansion in Sierra Leone.

Trafo Power Solutions also recently supplied Africa’s largest liquified natural gas (LNG) project, under construction in northern Mozambique. Eighteen dry-type transformers are already on site, inside modular substations for the project’s first construction camp of about 9,500 contractors. Also being supplied are 20 specialised dry-type transformers for the project’s gas plant.

“We have been active in many other industries too, such as telecommunications, health, food and beverages, and commercial buildings,” says Claassen. “Our strategic partnership with a leading global player, TMC Transformers in Italy, allows us to leverage world-class technology and expertise for application in Africa.”

He highlights Trafo Power Solutions’ responsiveness to specific customer requirements, and its experience in custom engineering solutions that are fit for purpose. Backing up these offerings is a flexible, 24/7 support service from technicians in South Africa, who are ready to provide interventions on site where necessary. The company also provides customers further access to the engineering expertise at TMC Transformers’ state-of-the-art design and manufacturing facilities.

BENEFITS OF DRY-TYPE TRANSFORMERS EMBRACED IN AFRICA

The steady uptake of dry-type transformers in the African market is being driven by the range of advantages offered by this technology, argues David Claassen, managing director of dry-type transformer specialist Trafo Power Solutions.

“We have seen wider application of dry-type transformers in Africa, as they move from niche products to more universal use,” says Claassen. “The reasons are not hard to find, and include safety, reliability and low installation costs.”

A key differentiator is that the electrical core and coils in a dry-type unit are cooled by normal air ventilation. By contrast, liquid-filled transformers are cooled by oil, silicone or other liquid. The risk of this liquid spilling is one of the main factors behind the increased use of dry-type transformers. The latter has higher levels of safety and does not present an environmental hazard.

“This makes dry-type units more suitable for indoor use, and also for underground and marine applications,” he says. “At the same time, they are also resilient enough for hostile outdoor environments.”

To insulate the windings and protect them from dirt, moisture, corrosive fumes and conductive dust, special treatment techniques are applied. Depending on the application, one of three main types of insulation is used: open-wound, vacuum pressure impregnated (VPI) or cast coil.

Among their safety benefits is their low fire hazard, with their transformer insulation made up of epoxy resin and eco-friendly quartz powder, the winding is flame-retardant. This also means it will not generate toxic gases when arcing occurs. The cost implication is that costly fire extinguishing equipment is rendered unnecessary.

“When locations are remote, as they often are in African applications, the installation of dry-type transformers makes good sense,” Claassen says. “This is because they are reliable and need little maintenance, while being easier and more economical to install.”

Without the risk of oil spillage, no concrete bund wall or significant civils works is required – saving time and money. Using only air for cooling, liquid testing is not required. At the same time, the smooth coil surface eliminates the build-up of heavy dirt. Designed to meet Class E2 environmental requirements, the units resist condensation and heavy pollution.

“In terms of high reliability, cast resin transformers typically have a service life of over 25 years and the failure rate has been shown to be very low,” concludes Claassen.

DRY TYPE REACTOR FROM TRAFO SAVES POWER FOR SA BANK

When a specialised dry type reactor failed after many years of service in a major banking company’s backup power generating system, Trafo Power Solutions was there to leverage its expertise and applications knowledge.

Trafo Power Solutions supplied and assisted with the installation of a replacement reactor, providing a fit-for-purpose design that accommodated the limited space and awkward position in which the components had to fit.

“The reactor – or inductor – is a key part of the bank’s backup system that feeds a number of buildings in the central business district of Johannesburg,” says Aaron Rost, contracts and proposals engineer at Trafo Power Solutions. “This vital component serves as a link between the utility power, the backup generator and the buildings’ supply.”

Rost explains that the reactor is important for a number of reasons. Among the most important are reducing the bank’s electricity costs, raising the system’s efficiency and contributing to the stability of the municipal power grid.

With its vast data centres, the bank must constantly idle its standby generators online, so that the switchover between utility power and standby power is seamless in the event of a power failure. He notes that to make better use of the fuel consumed by this continuous operation, diesel generators can be repurposed to help alleviate the data centre’s reactive power requirements.

“While active power refers to that element of the power supply that actually does the work – such as driving motors or powering lights – the reactive power is essentially useless power that is being wasted,” he says. “This reactive power effectively draws more current from a grid than what is really required.”

Rost highlights that the reactor stops any of this reactive power from being used from the power grid, This reactor also allows only the active power to be supplied from the grid, and in so doing helps create a more efficient system.

The importance of the reactor’s role in this power system is two-fold, he argues. Firstly, it reduces the bank’s electricity bill, as local municipalities charge a premium rate for the reactive power consumed.

“The reactive power raises the tariff that the client ends up paying at the end of the day,” he says. “By preventing the use of reactive power by the grid, the reactor allows the client to save directly on their overall energy costs.”

The second contribution that the reactor makes is that the local municipality does not have to deal with a ‘troublesome’ load, as this type of loading increases the amount of current being drawn.

“This then leads to additional heating in cables, transformers and switchgear, which erodes the life span of this equipment and can potentially lead to premature failure,” he says. “On a grid which is currently in a fragile state, any failed equipment can have massive implications for the equipment that is attached.”

Rost points out that the reactor also serves as a voltage regulator and filter on the utility power being supplied, allowing a more stable power supply to the building. This delivers a further benefit – in the event of a fault, the reactor can help to limit the fault current, making it less likely that costly utility equipment will be damaged.

DRY TYPE REACTOR FROM TRAFO SAVES POWER FOR SA BANK

When a specialised dry type reactor failed after many years of service in a major banking company’s backup power generating system, Trafo Power Solutions was there to leverage its expertise and applications knowledge.

Trafo Power Solutions supplied and assisted with the installation of a replacement reactor, providing a fit-for-purpose design that accommodated the limited space and awkward position in which the components had to fit.

“The reactor – or inductor – is a key part of the bank’s backup system that feeds a number of buildings in the central business district of Johannesburg,” says Aaron Rost, contracts and proposals engineer at Trafo Power Solutions. “This vital component serves as a link between the utility power, the backup generator and the buildings’ supply.”

Rost explains that the reactor is important for a number of reasons. Among the most important are reducing the bank’s electricity costs, raising the system’s efficiency and contributing to the stability of the municipal power grid.

With its vast data centres, the bank must constantly idle its standby generators online, so that the switchover between utility power and standby power is seamless in the event of a power failure. He notes that to make better use of the fuel consumed by this continuous operation, diesel generators can be repurposed to help alleviate the data centre’s reactive power requirements.

“While active power refers to that element of the power supply that actually does the work – such as driving motors or powering lights – the reactive power is essentially useless power that is being wasted,” he says. “This reactive power effectively draws more current from a grid than what is really required.”

Rost highlights that the reactor stops any of this reactive power from being used from the power grid, This reactor also allows only the active power to be supplied from the grid, and in so doing helps create a more efficient system.

The importance of the reactor’s role in this power system is two-fold, he argues. Firstly, it reduces the bank’s electricity bill, as local municipalities charge a premium rate for the reactive power consumed.

“The reactive power raises the tariff that the client ends up paying at the end of the day,” he says. “By preventing the use of reactive power by the grid, the reactor allows the client to save directly on their overall energy costs.”

The second contribution that the reactor makes is that the local municipality does not have to deal with a ‘troublesome’ load, as this type of loading increases the amount of current being drawn.

“This then leads to additional heating in cables, transformers and switchgear, which erodes the life span of this equipment and can potentially lead to premature failure,” he says. “On a grid which is currently in a fragile state, any failed equipment can have massive implications for the equipment that is attached.”

Rost points out that the reactor also serves as a voltage regulator and filter on the utility power being supplied, allowing a more stable power supply to the building. This delivers a further benefit – in the event of a fault, the reactor can help to limit the fault current, making it less likely that costly utility equipment will be damaged.