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Powertech Transformers: Powering the transformation of Africa

Powertech Transformers (PTT) consists of three world class operations involved in the design, manufacture, installation and commissioning of transformers.

PTT supplies a full range of transformers, from generator step-up to transmission and distribution transformers. The range includes three-phase and single-phase units, auto-transformers, arc-furnace, locomotive and traction transformers, miniature sub-stations, NECRT’s as well as shunt reactors. PTT has also recently entered into the renewable power market which has resulted in orders being placed for several projects.

PTT designs every transformer to meet the customers’ exact requirements.

The power transformer factory in Pretoria West is a well-equipped factory and is among the biggest and most sophisticated transformer manufacturing plants within the Southern Hemisphere and one of two large manufacturers within sub-Saharan Africa.  PTT Pretoria manufactures 20MVA to 800MVA transformers with a primary voltage up to 500kV.  Other products include arc-furnace, on-board locomotive and grid-connected traction  transformers as well as shunt reactors up to 100MVAr.

The Johannesburg operation manufactures 100kVA to 20MVA transformers with a primary voltage up to 132kV.  They also produce neutral earthing resistors, compensators, and NECRT combinations, as well as 100kVA to 3150kVA cast-resin dry type transformers with a primary voltage up to 36kV.

The Cape Town operation manufactures 16kVA to 1000kVA transformers with a primary voltage up to 36kV and 200kVA to 2500kVA miniature substations with a primary voltage up to 36kV.

All operations carry ISO accreditation. Both the Pretoria and Cape Town operations have ISO 9001 -2008 quality, ISO 14001 – 2004 environmental, and OSHAS 18001-2007 health and safety accreditations. The Johannesburg operation has the ISO 9001 – 2008 quality accreditation.  Recently the Pretoria operation’s ISO 14001-2004 and OSHAS 18001-2007 health and safety accreditations were recertified.

The Pretoria West facility includes a laboratory, which has been in existence since 1973. The main activities are testing of materials for transformers and calibration of instruments. The testing of transformer oil is very important and this service is also offered to external companies. The laboratory has SANAS accreditation IEC 17025: 2005 for competence of testing and calibration laboratories and calibration work is performed in-house.

In order to capitalise on synergies, the engineering and technical departments were divided into two groups. The engineering department which concentrates on the day-to-day production of electrical and mechanical  transformer designs and the Technology Group which focuses on research and development, support and testing of transformers.

The intention is to enhance our own research and development. The main emphasis of the Technology Group at present is the development of new transformer technologies. One of the projects that the group is currently working on is a collaborative research and development project with the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Pretoria, through funding received from the Department of Science and Technology’s (DST) Technology Localisation Programme.  The R&D project relates to the short-circuit withstand ability of transformers.  Through this project PTT will further develop knowledge, empirical factors and engineering models representing the short circuit characteristics of transformers, establishing a local knowledge base.

PTT would like to increase their level of local manufacturing capabilities and activities, and thereby reducing the reliance on imports, resulting in increased skills development and sustainable work opportunities.

PTT has also invested in continuous improvement thereby ensuring that all improvements are in line with customer requirements and plan to keep investing money in improving and upgrading our facilities.

Features of our transformers include the following:

  • Robust design features which meet global design criteria.
  • Test records verify continuous quality improvements: Design and manufacturing are carefully monitored.
  • First-class suppliers: Suppliers are subject to regular quality audits.
  • On-time delivery with quality guaranteed.
  • Low life-cycle costs: Low losses, high quality insulation and hot spot control are just a few of the features that keep our transformers performing efficiently and the lifetime running costs down to a minimum.
  • Built-in systems know-how: The company has years of experience of transmission and distribution technology

PTT believes empowering its employees is of utmost importance and as such we have training centres at our Pretoria West and Cape Town operations.  Our Cape Town operation is recognised as an Accredited Trainer by MERSETA.

PTT has also invested in an Engineers-in-Training program where we are able to fast track electrical designer training from 4 years to 12 months.  The course comprises 6 months of practical training within the factory (in order for the trainees to have practical knowledge of the transformer industry) followed by the 6 months classroom training.

The training centres in our Pretoria West facility include a winder training centre facility which was opened in January 2007.  The intention of this training facility was to augment the amount of transformer winders as our industry was experiencing an extreme shortage of these skills.  Here, the intention was to train all our winders in all types of windings that we manufacture.  Our boilermaker/welder training facility is at present seeking regional accreditation as a training facility at MERSETA. Within the transformer assembly area, a training centre has been installed to cater for training of power transformer assemblers.

PTT’s Transformer Manufacturing and Design training course has been accredited by the South African Institute of Electrical Engineering (SAIEE).  The training course has been awarded 4 (four) Continuous Professional Development points (CPD) and the validity period stretches over a period from July 2012 until June 2015.  The course, which includes both practical and classroom training over 5 (five) days, covers various aspects of transformer production, inter alia: design processes (both electrical and mechanical); tank fabrication; insulation; paper-lapping; core-cutting; core stacking, winding manufacture; winding assembly; active part assembly; oil processing; tanking; quality assurance and control; factory testing, protection components, first line maintenance, transport and dispatch of the transformers as well as research and development.  Feedback from delegates has been very positive.

PTT has also developed an after sales service division which offers complete peace of mind for our customers.  Services include maintenance of their transformers and related equipment for an extended period specific to each and every customer.

Another recent addition in PTT’s Pretoria laboratory is the Brockhaus equipment used for testing of core steel.  This means that Powertech Transformers is the only company in Africa and one of the few companies in the world with this type of equipment.

Powertech Insulation (formerly Calidus) was recently incorporated into the Transformer Group.  This division manufactures insulation materials for power and distribution transformers as well as supplying transformer accessories for this market.

Powertech Transformers is a Level Three Contributor to BBBEE.

Course dates for 2015

  • 11-15 May
  • 13-17 July
  • 14-18 September
  • 16-20 November

Registration for any course closes two weeks before course date. First paid, first booked. Maximum of twenty delegates per course.The cost is ZAR4,260 excl. vat per delegate.


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