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Dry-type transformers for security at mini-substations

Used by both the private and public sectors, mini-substations are often located in unprotected areas, making them vulnerable to vandalism and theft.

Oil-cooled transformers are often targeted for the copper in their windings as well as the oil in the cooling system. This makes a dry-type transformer a particularly useful and safer alternative to the regular style.

Dry-type transformer company Trafo Power Solutions will supply two custom-engineered mini-substations to a motor plant expansion in Pretoria, South Africa.

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The two units will be located outdoors, serving to power the lighting system and security requirements of the facility, as well as other loads. While most mini-substations are equipped with conventional oil-cooled transformers, these units have dry-type transformers.

David Claassen, managing director of Trafo Power Solutions, says benefits include both security and environmental factors. The dry-type transformer’s windings are cast in resin so the copper or aluminium cannot be readily accessed. There is also no oil to harvest, further reducing the incentive for criminals to destroy the structure.

“In terms of environmental considerations, the dry-type transformer does not require any additional protective structure like walls or bunds to contain leaking oil or fire. These units also require very little maintenance, easing the managerial and technical burden on the owner,” said Claassen.

Dry-type transformer at a substation. Image: Trafo Power Solutions.

While these two transformers are manufactured in TMC Transformers’ facility in Italy, the design and manufacture of the balance of the mini-substations happens in South Africa.

“This also allows us to fully test the equipment locally before it is delivered, installed and commissioned on site. We embrace the opportunity to manufacture locally as much as we can, to support local industries and enhance job creation,” said Claassen.

Theresa Smith
Theresa Smith is a content producer for Clarion Events Africa.