The fast-track nature of many large industrial and mining projects on the continent has seen an increase in the demand for containerised housings for motor control centres (MCC). These stations are quicker to establish on site than their brick-and-mortar counterparts and they are assembled off-site in factory controlled conditions.
There is no limit to the size of such MCC stations, with containers connected side by side or stacked on top of each other to provide the necessary space. Being modular, individual containers are easily transported to the project site and then erected.
Shaw Controls’ chief commercial officer, Johan van Niekerk notes that the company has supplied these solutions to many project sites including Eskom’s Medupi Power Station project and the associated Exxaro Grootegeluk expansion programme.
Van Niekerk says that the containers are constructed to customer specifications at the Shaw Controls facility. “All of our containerised housings are built from scratch. We install all the necessary fittings and claddings, based on individual customer requirements,” he adds.
This approach is in line with Shaw Controls’ strategy of keeping manufacture in-house to reduce costs and maintain close control over quality. The strategy is working considering that the company’s order book, including its leading range of MCCs, is five times the size it was a year ago.
A sizeable share of this comprises orders from blue-chip mining houses and international engineering companies involved in brownfield and greenfield mining projects in Africa. Van Niekerk says the company’s close affiliation to the mining industry means that it has to comply with the highest standards in design and manufacture of MCCs and panels.
This is complemented by Shaw Controls’ IEC 61439 certification which proves the integrity of its panels. As van Niekerk points out, these stringent tests require a high capital outlay and, for this reason, only a few South African companies have been certified. “We have subjected our products to all these tests, and re-verified the outcome of the tests in 2014. This is one of the reasons why we are so busy,” he says.
The Shaw Controls facility mirrors its international holding company and is testament to the WEG Group’s commitment to South Africa. It boasts state-of-the-art computer controlled punching and bending machines to work the sheet plating used to make the casings. The durability and longevity of the units are enhanced by extensive surface preparation of the various components, including the seven stage surface preparation process and powder coating they undergo before assembly. The facility even has its own gasket-manufacturing machine and makes its own steel hinges.
“The future is bright for a company that has proved the integrity of its products, and there is no customer too big or too small for us,” concludes van Niekerk.
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