Electrical Power & Protection

ACTOM supplies transformer units to Kamoa Copper Mine

April 2024 Electrical Power & Protection

ACTOM Distribution Transformers, a division within the ACTOM Group that designs and manufactures a range of 16 kVA–10 MVA distribution and lower range power transformers, recently secured an order for the supply of its neutral electromagnetic couplers, with earthing resistors, and an auxiliary transformer (NECRTs) to Kamoa Copper Mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

NECRTs combine three-phase neutral electromagnetic couplers with neutral earthing resistors and auxiliary transformers. ACTOM Distribution Transformers started designing and manufacturing the NECRTs in 2010, and is now considered a class leader in this field in sub-Saharan Africa.

Lee Mbenge, CEO of ACTOM Distribution Transformers, maintains that NECRTs play a crucial role in grounding collector power transformers in substations within the green energy sector. These substations facilitate the transmission of power generated by renewable energy plants into the national grid.

The Kamoa Copper Mine is one of the biggest producers of ultra-high-grade copper in the DRC, and is powered by hydro-generated electricity produced by the Mwadingusha Hydroelectric Plant, which was rehabilitated and modernised in 2021.

Mbenge says that Kamoa Copper Mine SA has been a customer of ACTOM Distribution Transformers for several years, and has previously ordered distribution transformers and NECRTs from the business. Last year, ACTOM Distribution Transformers completed an order for NECRTs worth more than R10 million for the mine.

Preferred supplier

“We are the preferred supplier of NECRTs to Kamoa Copper Mine, which demonstrates that the mine has full confidence in our equipment. The latest order allows us to strengthen our footprint in Africa, positioning us as the dominant NECRT supplier in South Africa and also throughout the continent,” he continues.

He explains that in designing its NECRT units, ACTOM Distribution Transformers has drawn on numerous lessons learned in the local market, which has enabled the company to perfect its product to withstand the harsh conditions in which it usually operates. “The lessons that we learned were largely related to strengthening the active parts (internal design) and mechanical integrity, as NECRT units are often transported by road and take a tremendous battering by the time they arrive at a customer’s site. This prompted us to make various improvements to our NECRT product range, resulting in a robust and fail-safe design that is suitable for all applications and hostile environments. As a result, our NECRT units have performed better than those of other international suppliers, which are prone to failure.”

Better efficiency and reliability

The NECRTs deliver trouble-free utilisation, energy availability and longevity, with a lifespan of approximately 21 years. This leads to an increase in the efficiency and reliability of its customers’ renewable energy plants.

Mbenge notes that cross-border demand for the NECRT units has been increasing steadily and the business is now supplying these products to Namibia, Lesotho and Zambia.

“The latest order from Kamoa Copper Mine highlights the strength of the ACTOM brand in the design and manufacture of NECRTs and transformers. This will allow us to become further entrenched in the renewable energy market, where we would like to be more dominant,” he adds.

ACTOM Distribution Transformers provides complete backup and support to its customers via aftersales teams that promptly attend to and resolve customer queries. The business will also typically engage with its customers during the commissioning and installation of NECRTs to identify any potential problems onsite before the units are energised.

For more information contact ACTOM, +27 10 136 0216, [email protected], www.actom.co.za


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