ArmCoil Afrika, a local manufacturer of medium voltage (MV) AC motors and transformers, and Schneider Electric have partnered on the provision of a skid mobile substation product line that will provide continuous power to a large mining conglomerate’s operations across South Africa.

Together the companies have already completed two skid substations (SKID 961 and SKID 979) and the third and fourth units are in the manufacturing process. A skid is a prefabricated substation, assembled on a self-supporting transformer skid, creating an easily transportable design that can be quickly energised.

ArmCoil is the main manufacturing contractor, providing the MV solutions as well super structure enclosures for the skid substations while Schneider Electric is the preferred low voltage (LV) and MV switchgear partner that includes the company’s PremSet Solid Shielded Insulated System (SSIS) switchgear series.

“This is an exciting project for ArmCoil; as a small, family-owned business it is fantastic to not only be contracted to a global mining leader but also partner with a renowned multinational such as Schneider Electric to manufacture the skid substation product line,” says Frank Flint, Commercial Manager at ArmCoil.

“Together Schneider Electric and ArmCoil have combined its strengths to produce skid substations based on industry best practices, from design to installation. It is a win-win scenario for not only for the mine but also our partnership,” adds Cecil Maartens, FS Segment BD & Channel Sales Manager.

Skid operations

Looking at the practical application of the substations, it’s transported by trucks to the various mining pits where mining equipment can then be plugged into the skid. Generally, the substations are used to power drilling rigs and electrical excavators which is then used to fill the trucks with rocks, rubble and ore and transported for processing.

The skid substations manufacturing processes also fall in line with ISO standards which dictate that equipment should be continuously improved to enhance operations and operational safety.

“The skid substations are now in its third evolution, and which each new unit we enhance its operations based on the feedback we receive from the mine and our own learnings. It is a dynamic and collaborative process,” explains Flint.

“Our combined strengths allow us to build an improved SKID. It is an exciting partnership that sees engineers from both teams coming together to build units that readily meet the mine’s mobile substation needs,” explains Maartens.

The SKID 979 substation featured the following enhancements:

  • Super enclosure is now made with clear view materials that improves visibility into the units.
  • A roof which improves robustness in inhospitable environments near the mining pits.
  • Newest iteration of Schneider Electric’s auto recloser.

The SKID substation project is estimated to last another three years with two-to-three units earmarked per year.

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