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Seamless plant switchovers on Zest WEG genset solutions

As power outages and load shedding continue to plague the optimal performance of industrial and mining process plants, Zest WEG is providing standby power solutions that ensure no power loss when these disruptions strike.

According to Damian Schutte, electrical engineering team leader at Zest WEG, many plants face complex and lengthy restart routines if there is a power failure on the main grid and this severely compromises plant efficiencies.

“With our design and manufacturing experience, we can provide genset solutions that can be started up prior to an outage, so that the plant can continue operating seamlessly while switching from utility to standby power, and back again to the utility,” says Schutte.

Adding to this, he highlights that Zest WEG’s customer-focused approach means that it responds positively to the challenges that companies face in scheduling and implementing these backup systems. In a recent project in the Western Cape, the Zest WEG team provided a plant to a customer in the marine sector with a customised genset solution to suit its specific needs and also help the customer face unexpected circumstances.

Load shedding

The plant was experiencing considerable downtime due to load shedding by the national utility, as it would take some time to bring the plant back to operation. The engineered solution includes six 550 kVA generators, two 11 kV transformers, medium-voltage (MV) switchgear, and breakers for synchronising between generators themselves and also with the utility.

“The smaller size of generator provides flexibility and was a cost saving, as some units can be switched off depending on the site load requirement,” he says.

When frequent load shedding was suddenly announced by the utility, the customer asked Zest WEG for an urgent temporary solution while continuing to implement the project. The team brought three of the gensets on-stream to keep the plant functional until the planned solution was in place.

Bradley van der Spreng, business development consultant at Zest WEG, notes that all major components for power plant solutions such as these can be manufactured and assembled by Zest WEG and Brazil based parent company, WEG. The company can, however, accommodate a client’s specifications should they refer to a nominated supplier, allowing the gensets to be built for easier on-site installation.

“Our extensive engineering and programming on these systems makes it vital that they are fully tested before being delivered to site. Whatever we specify in the contract can usually be tested in-house at our advanced facility in Cape Town,” says van der Spreng.

Customers are invited to attend the factory acceptance test (FAT), which includes load testing of the generators at different loads up to 110%, synchronisation checks, and MV tests if this is part of the scope.

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