Re-thinking Traditional Fixed Infrastructure

Traditionally, the construction of permanent electrical infrastructure has been thought of as just that, permanent. It’s constructed using time consuming and site labour intensive bricks and mortar construction techniques. But does it need to be? What if fixed infrastructure was in fact relocatable? What benefits would this bring to infrastructure projects?

Typical Applications

Surface and underground mines typically employ relocatable power equipment. They do so to accommodate the dynamic nature of a mine site, where the electrical system must move, regularly extended and be rapidly deployed as mining progresses. This equipment is invariably relocatable, compact and relatively high voltage. In addition, it’s designed for transport with minimal disassembly and reassembly with an aim to streamline site works.

Mining substation

A typical relocatable substation used in above ground mining applications 

Non-Typical Applications

We’ve seen this type of relocatable and rapidly deployable power equipment becoming used in a range of non-typical applications. At Australia’s two largest solar farms in Broken Hill and Nyngan, Ampcontrol completed 117 identical power conversion skids housing control panels, inverters and transformers.

Using the rapidly deployable model these electrical skids were fully manufactured and assembled at Ampcontrol’s workshops before being transferred to site as complete units. This resulted in significantly simplified onsite works and ensured the skids could be delivered at a rate of four per week.

Modular electrical equipmentPower conversion skids being manufactured in Ampcontrol’s workshops

Power conversion skids

Power conversion skids installed at the solar farms 

Due to the dynamic nature of their environment, the tunnelling industry is familiar with rapidly deployable power equipment during the construction phase. It is not however typically used for permanent electrical infrastructure within tunnels post construction.

Westconnex, Australia’s largest infrastructure project, recently implemented this rapidly deployable style of infrastructure for their 46 Electrical Equipment Rooms (EERs). The EERs all included a transformer, switches, circuits and communication systems but were all individual in design, dependent on location and requirements.

These EERs were manufactured in Ampcontrol’s Tomago NSW workshops before being transported to the Sydney tunnelling site at a rate of two rooms per week.

Westconnex was the first tunnelling project in Australia where EERs were manufactured offsite and installed directly into the tunnel, compared to the traditional method of building them in-situ. This approach resulted in significantly reduced and simplified civil works, and faster installation with fewer people underground.

relocatable power infrastructure Power infrastructure tunnellingEERs being delivered and installed in the Westconnex tunnels

The Benefits

Manufacturing in a dedicated workshop enables many variables to be easily controlled, ensuring a safer, better cost controlled and time managed build.

Safety improvements

  • Minimal staff required for underground siteworks, installation and commissioning
  • Construction managed offsite in a controlled environment where risks can be better managed

Cost control

  • Manufacturing efficiencies are gained through modularised repeated assemblies, designed specifically for a workshop environment

Time management

  • Fast install and commissioning
  • Manufacturing, transport, installation and commissioning can all happen simultaneously ensuring project construction continues unimpeded by siteworks

Rapidly deployable relocatable equipment for fixed applications is a viable option for a variety of industries and applications. Ampcontrol is expertly positioned and experienced in the design, manufacture, testing, installation and commissioning of this type of equipment across typical and non-typical applications.

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Remote Transformer Health Check Enables Fast Repair at Sugar Mill

Our transformer maintenance services team were contacted by an Asset Manager at a large Queensland sugarcane refinery after they reviewed their most recent transformer insulating oil analysis report. Results indicated occurrence of a serious T3 Thermal Fault – high temperature heating (> 700°C). Typically, these faults include large circulating currents in the tank and core, loose connections in the HV winding circuit, and misalignment of contacts in de-energised tap changers.

The request was to further review the test data provided by the Asset Manager, to offer an independent engineering opinion and to help pinpoint the cause of the problem. Recommendations for further investigation and management of the asset were also sought.

Resulting recommendations included regular DGA testing to monitor the fault and electrical testing to investigate the cause of the DGA gassing problem. Further recommendations also included an internal inspection / videoscope to identify burnt / misaligned contacts in the DETC (off load tap changer). Acetylene generation in the transformer pointed to either the severity of the fault or the involvement of electrical contacts.

On receipt of Ampcontrol’s recommendations, the Asset Manager conducted an internal investigation on the transformer. The source of the fault was identified as a contact in the DETC.

Read the full case study here.

Now offering remote transformer condition auditing and diagnostic support, our team can review third party oil analysis reports and provide technical expertise to diagnose issues while providing repair plans to ensure continuity of services when access to site can be challenging. Contact us for more information on how to access these services at your site.

Offering Customers A Cost Effective Lighting Power Solution

Moranbah North Coal Mine had become dependent on using development substations in mined panels in order to maintain area lighting, requiring the purchase of additional substations. When the company was looking for a cost effective lighting alternative, it turned to Ampcontrol for a solution.

The Ampcontrol team designed and manufactured a fit for purpose 11kV to 110V lighting enclosure to facilitate extra lighting along with 110V circuit connections for the site. The solution maintained the power to the lighting at a much lower cost than a typical substation. This lighting power solution provided power and featured our IS LED Longwall Mine Light while freeing up a substation so it could be used for the purpose for which it was designed.

Read the full case study here.

UK Team Help Power Resources Tunnelling Project in North Yorkshire

Our UK team have delivered a containerised substation for a new, large resources project being undertaken in North Yorkshire. Ampcontrol are set to provide a range of equipment, cable and maintenance services throughout the construction phase of this new resources tunnelling project.

Designed to supply power to tunnel surface operations including a welding factory, the containerised substation designed and built by Ampcontrol will act as the main distribution system on-site. Stepping down the voltage from 11kV to 433V, the substation will power on-site manufacturing facilities and all low voltage plant equipment.

The containerised solution is housed within a 20ft steel container with separate personnel access with Alphalite MAX LED lighting, 230V IP rated power points, an expandable single phase distribution board and dry powder fire extinguishers. The unit includes a 1000kVA 11/433 ONAN DYN11 transformer, a medium voltage ring main unit was also included, along with a tee-off circuit breaker, MV cable test access, self-powered VIP300 transformer protection relay, phase protection and earth leakage protection.

Read the full case study here.

Hire Stock and Fast Action Ensures Minimal Downtime

During routine high voltage maintenance at a surface mine in western NSW, conducted by Ampcontrol’s High Voltage Service team, a transformer failed testing and required inspection and overhaul. To ensure the mine experienced minimal downtime, the on-site team placed a call to our Tomago base to see if a suitable hire replacement was available.

The hire team received the call at 3:30pm and a suitable hire transformer arrived at the mine site at 8am the following day. Prior to leaving for site the following was undertaken:

  • An oil sample was taken from the transformer and delivered to Ampcontrol member company Verico to conduct fast turnaround oil testing
  • A sketch of the transformer was sent to the customer and a number of small alterations were undertaken
  • Delivery trucks and cranes were ordered

The replacement hire transformer was loaded to the truck at 6:30pm that same day for transport and an overnight stay in Mudgee. The following day a new gland plate was made in Ampcontrol’s fabrication workshop and driven to site by an Ampcontrol High Voltage Service team member.

Onsite, the existing failed transformer was uninstalled and loaded on the truck; while the hire transformer was installed, tested and commissioned. The failed transformer was delivered to Ampcontrol’s transformer workshop in Tomago NSW for inspection and overhaul.

Operating within an extended 16 hour shift so as to minimise customer downtime, the on-site HV service team conducted significant planning to ensure site alterations were kept to a minimum. Undertaking this planning ensured the failed transformer could be easily re-installed following the conclusion of repair works.

Read the full case study here.

2020 Transformer Maintenance Webinar Series

As a leading provider of transformer lifecycle support services, we’ve launched the Ampcontrol Transformer Maintenance Series and our next webinar is scheduled on 16 June. Managing a large fleet of ageing transformers is a technical challenge faced by many Asset Managers onsite. Reliability surveys show that the On Load Tap Changer (OLTC) can account for up to 30% of all transformer failures. To manage the overall reliability of a transformer, a condition monitoring program should also include condition assessment of the OLTC

Delivered by our Oil Services Manager Philip Reilly and titled ‘Oil Analysis: Testing OLTC & Managing Corrosive Sulphur in Transformers‘ this webinar will address failure modes and available condition monitoring techniques and will also outline the role of oil analysis.

Backed by his extensive technical experience in transformer oil testing, oil analysis’ condition assessment and oil filtration, Philip will provide insights into the mechanism of copper sulphide formation in transformers, failure modes, details of service experiences, and what assessment and mitigation techniques are available.

We’re committed to connecting industry contacts across Australia with practical insights into the best way to manage their critical HV assets – register to attend this free event today.

If you missed the first two webinars in our series covering the Ageing, Assessment and Management of HV Oil Filled Transformers and Power Transformers: Oil Diagnostics, Failures and Life Extension, you can view them at any time on our YouTube Channel.