JSE-listed power industries company Altron Group subsidiary Powertech Transformers broke new ground in August last year by successfully designing, building and testing new shunt reactors exclusively specified for the South African market.
The new range complies with international standards and covers the 30 MVAr/132 kV, 40 MVAr/22kV and 30 MVAr/22 kV range. These designs followed extensive studies of international technologies, but were uniquely adapted and perfected for State-owned power utility Eskom and the local grid.
The success of the project is a result of the collaboration between Powertech Transformers, Eskom, the Department of Science and Technology – through the Technology Localisation Implementation Unit (TLIU) – and administrated by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
A team of young local engineers was sponsored by the TLIU to assist with the development of the shunt reactors under the guidance of research and development specialists from Powertech Transformers’ technology division. The most advanced three-dimensional simulation tools from software companies Ansys and Infolytica were used to research and develop the reactors, with all simulations verified by external consultants.
“We are thrilled that Eskom is supporting Powertech Transformers by believing in our technology development capabilities and partnering with us to bring a brand new world-class product to South Africa,” says Powertech Transformers CEO Bernard Meyer.
Eskom has ordered three new shunt reactors from Powertech Transformers based on the new specifications. Currently, there are no other local suppliers with the capability to design, build and test these shunt reactors. The units each underwent six days of rigid testing and are now ready for use.
Meyer says the development of skills, as well as technology, was vital to this project. “We acquired international knowledge and transferred it to South Africa. Our young local engineers were the key players in developing this.
“[Further], the new shunt reactors open a niche market for us in South Africa as well as abroad. There is also a strong demand for the refurbishment of existing old shunt reactors, which [is a service] we also offer,” he concludes.