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Making transformers that last longer Generator sales are boosted by the availability of packaged transformers at a local and international level


ccording to the Power Rental Market by End User Report published in June 2015, the global power rental market is projected to grow from an estimated US$11.6bn in 2015 to US$21.3bn by 2020, at a compound annual growth rate CAGR of 12.9 per cent. Originally built upon a niche market, the temporary power industry is relatively new and a good proportion of the power industry is still unaware of the flexibility that it offers to the wider market-place. Although Crestchic is established in power generation from loadbank manufacture, temporary power is an area that still shows great potential and it is important that the industry keeps abreast of the benefits of products like multi-tap transformers in order to revolutionise power generation. We are seeing the regional and international temporary power business as the main driver behind the sales of step-up transformers, mostly where companies require a multi megawatt (MW) temporary power station at short notice. These can be provided by rental operators supplying reciprocating highspeed diesel and gas generators. Initially, industry leaders were tapping into areas where local energy providers were unable to supply power of the scale required or even at all - for example, for natural disasters or major sporting events. Where is the demand? Take, for example, Africa, where there is an insatiable, unstoppable demand for power. A continent which contains some of the fastest growing economies however, transmission and distribution generation capacity is generally under-developed and under-invested. Building multi-megawatt (MW) power stations can take years to design, build and commission – the type of power that temporary rental power stations can provide in less than eight weeks. There is a vast growth in population but this is not married with the pace of utility infrastructure


development. Another area creating demand for packaged portable transformers is the offshore oil & gas sector. Facilities are predominantly located in remote areas and away from the main electricity grid. Many facilities are being decommissioned, a process which can be highly demanding of power. Emergency breakdowns remain a key market area, where failure of old installed sub-stations may occur and especially in high value and time critical industries where plants need to be up and running quickly again to avoid costly downtime. Packaged portable step-up transformers are a complementary product for customers renting high or low speed generators. Crestchic’s packaged offering includes both cast resin and oil filled transformers designed and built to specification by a number of major transformer manufacturers. Built of steel Crestchic’s oil-filled transformers are built with significant strengthening in the oil tanks and are more robust for the punishing environments of the portable rental market which we sell into. This could be anywhere from the Middle East, Africa, or even offshore oil and gas. Customers in this market-place have significant demands and the packaged transformers need to be highly robust due to the harsh rental environment. However, along with this they need to be easily transportable. It is extremely common for old shipping containers to be re-used for this purpose, as they are readily available at low cost. However, recycled shipping containers are not necessarily the most robust solution, because cutting holes in the existing containers weakens the steel and general structural integrity. By manufacturing containers that are bespoke in design and engineered to be portable, Crestchic ensures that they are as strong and safe as possible. Using cross-sectioned steel and additional steel in the build process ensures a minimum

African Review of Business and Technology - April 2016

lifespan of 10 years. Furthermore the structural integrity is recognised by the Lloyds Register Quality Assurance (LRQA). The veins of the packaged transformer The sole reason for packaging portable transformers is to ensure accessibility and flexibility. This means no time is wasted dealing with several suppliers to obtain components such as the transformer itself, switchgear, ancillary electrical items and enclosures. There are also no costs for on-site assembly and little to no civil engineering is required. If an organisation is generating electricity between 400 – 480 Volts (V) at 50 to 60 Hertz (Hz), transformers step-up from this to a range of voltages typically anywhere between 3.3kV V and 36kV with multiple voltage taps available at a range of voltages in between, depending on the customer’s location in the world. Essentially this creates the capability of generating significant amounts electricity at a low voltage and which is then easily introduced onto medium/high voltage grid systems. Inside the container sit various components such as the input isolators, cooling fans and extraction, voltage tap selection and medium/low voltage switchgear arrangement. Everything is kept in separate compartments to accommodate the main transformer and ABB Safe Plus medium voltage switchgear, another important feature of the packaged transformer. Crestchic operates from two to four MVA in a 10 foot container and up to eight MVA in a 20 foot container. The voltage range covers a multitude of international standard grids and industrial applications at relevant frequencies – they have to be global because customers use them all over the world which allows them to work in broad spectrum of countries. ■ Paul Brickman, sales and marketing director, Crestchic Limited

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African Review April 2016  

African Review April 2016