Schneider Electric and Ampcontrol Join Forces to Optimise Underground Coal Mining

schneider-ampcontrol-partnershipSchneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management, and Ampcontrol, Australia’s largest privately-owned electrical engineering company, today announced a partnership to co-develop an operational intelligence solution that will specifically address the needs of underground coal mining operations.

The collaboration will see the development of an effective solution modelled on Schneider Electric’s current Ampla Manufacturing Execution System (MES), leveraging Ampcontrol’s underground coal systems and process expertise. The partnership will result in a seamless and holistic operational management solution capable of providing mining customers with an improved level of production insight into the performance of underground operations.

“As the importance of mining efficiency and reliability grows, the combined expertise of Schneider Electric and Ampcontrol ensures these specific needs of underground coal mining will be met,” said Yong The, Global Strategic Alliance Manager, at Schneider Electric.

“We are confident that the integration with Ampcontrol and their capabilities in offering electrical and control system implementation in the underground mining domain, we will continue to guarantee that solutions offered cater for the high standards and requirements this sector demands.”

The relationship will give Schneider Electric and Ampcontrol’s customers a significant advantage by empowering them to make more proactive and informed decisions to both benchmark and improve asset and production performance. These benefits can be achieved across the entire spectrum of underground operations, including longwall, continuous mining and coal clearance solutions.

“Schneider Electric was the perfect fit to partner with Ampcontrol as the company’s solutions complemented our existing range of services,” said Troy McKay, Business Development Manager – Automation, Ampcontrol.

“We are considered an authority on system integration, with 45 years of experience, in electro-technology and real-time solutions for the underground mining sector, and the collaboration with Schneider Electric will further expand these capabilities. Although the short-term focus is the Australian market, we are excited that the relationship will be a great opportunity for both companies to work collaboratively on wider reaching global customer opportunities and long-term prospects,” he said.

“Schneider Electric and Ampcontrol have a long history of working together in the sector. The evolution of the relationship creates an opportunity for both companies to provide comprehensive, viable and effective solutions for Australian customers”, concluded Sam Yfantis, Industry Sales Director, Schneider Electric Australia

What Does Power Factor Mean For My Business?

What solutions are readily available for business owners to improve energy savings and reduce electricity costs? Installation of Power Factor Correction equipment (PFC) is one answer.


Power factor is a ‘snapshot’ of how efficiently a consumer is using electrical power supplied from the network. In mathematical terms, it is the ratio of the active or usable power measured in kilowatts (kW), to the apparent or total power measured in kilovolt amperes (kVA), calculated as kW/ kVA = PF.

Apparent power (kVA) is the vector sum of the required active power (kW) and reactive power (kvar). While not performing any ‘useful’ work, reactive power is an essential and unavoidable element of electrical networks.

A consumer with a lower power factor than a neighbour of identical size will require additional kVA be supplied by the network. As such, additional power has to be generated and transmitted which has inherent incremental costs to the consumer and provider.

Power companies address the additional costs in a number of ways. Most commonly consumers are billed based on their kVA demand rather than kW demand to encourage more efficient use of energy, or in some cases consumers can face penalties for having poor factor.

Generally a consumer will have a connection agreement with an energy provider that dictates and defines requirements of power factor. Falling outside of these limits can result in penalties, imposed restrictions on expansion or in extreme cases disconnection. So it is generally in a consumer’s best interest to monitor and regulate power factor.


Power Factor Correction (PFC) is the process of reducing the kVA demand of a consumer by locally generating the site’s reactive power requirements. Local generation results in a reduction of reactive power drawn from the grid and hence a reduction in overall kVA consumed.

PFC is most commonly achieved by the installation of optimally sized capacitor banks that automatically switch in and out based on measured power requirements to achieve a target power factor (typically 0.95 or greater). By improving power factor, consumers are greatly improving the efficiency of their site and will potentially generate large reductions in energy costs.

 Benefits include:

  • Reduced PFC tariffs and penalties on your electricity bill
  • Increased available load/equipment capacity
  • Improved system efficiency
  • Improved quality of electrical supply
  • Reduced greenhouse emissions
  • Extended working life of plant machinery

Find out more about Ampcontrol PFC