Specialised dry-type transformers for Saldanha port upgrade

June 2020 News

Transnet’s upgrade of its port facility at Saldanha Bay will include dry-type transformers from specialist company Trafo Power Solutions.

The company is supplying specialised transformers for the Tippler 3 project at the iron ore load-out station. Factory acceptance testing was completed in December 2019, and, according to Trafo Power Solutions managing director David Claassen, delivery to site was achieved on schedule during February 2020.

The construction of a third tippler at the Saldanha Bay port is to sustain iron ore export volumes of 60 million tons per year when the existing tipplers are refurbished in future. It will integrate with the rail system bringing ore via the 860 km line from mines in the Northern Cape. Key aspects of the new infrastructure comprise the 285 tonne tippler itself, a loading vault below ground and a conveyor tunnel. New buildings, service roads, bridges, railway lines, conveyors, lighting and bulk electrical supply infrastructure are also part of Transnet’s upgrade project.

Trafo Power Solutions’ contract was for the design, supply and commissioning of five dry-type transformers. There are two 1000 kVA units and a 3150 kVA unit, both stepping down from 11 kV to 400 V. The other two units are 3500 kVA and 4500 kVA capacity respectively, taking 11 kV down to 3,3 kV.

To resist the corrosive sea air, all the transformer enclosures are manufactured from 3CR12 grade of stainless steel. The enclosures are also IP33-rated to ensure a high level of ingress protection against moisture and dust.

Designed locally by Trafo Power Solutions, the dry-type transformers were manufactured in Italy by TMC Transformers, experts in cast resin transformer technology, and all products were factory-tested according to IEC standards. At Saldanha, Trafo Power Solutions was also responsible for building auxiliary protection and control panels, located remotely from the transformers. These include temperature control sensors that communicate with the port’s broader control and monitoring network.

For more information contact David Claassen, Trafo Power Solutions, +27 11 325 4007,,

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