Flameproof switchgear for enhanced safety and system protection

Becker Mining South Africa’s Energy Distribution division manufactures customised switchgear, designed for the efficient distribution of electrical power, energy co-generation, rectification and traction.

“These systems are certified for safe and dependable use in hazardous and non-hazardous applications in surface and underground mining, as well as chemical and petrochemical plants,” says Nico de Lange, Vice President: Operations & Systems, Becker Mining South Africa. “Becker’s compact flameproof KE 1008 1.1 kV switchgear units, which are imported from Germany and adapted to customer requirements, comprise power bus technology and plug connections, that ensure a high level of operator safety and system protection.

“Modular KE 1008 switchgear units are fitted with integrated and adjustable monitoring and control functions, for easy programming, dependable operation and low maintenance requirements.”

KE1008 switchgear units have seven module slots, one earth leakage monitor and a lighting module. Parameters for the slide-in modules can be set at the closed compact station during operation, or via various field bus systems.

Notable characteristics of this system include Modbus and Profibus communication, temperature and power factor monitoring, maximum voltage recording, kilowatt hour monitoring, an operational hour meter and individual phase current and voltage display. Machine selection with pre-set safety settings, is available for ease of operation.

Safety protections comprise short circuit, loss of vacuum, earth leakage, earth fault lock out and pilot relay. Added to this are over and under current, thermal curve, over and under voltage, loss of phase and phase unbalance occurrences protections. For enhanced safety, this unit has an interlocking system and can only be powered up on closing of the main door. All external electronics are rated as intrinsically safe (IS).

Other features of this system include modular mounting on a skid or trailer and a quick opening door that cannot be opened until all slide-in modules of a housing have been disconnected. This compact station has separate compartments for a contactor unit, the display and relay module.

KE1008 switchgear also comprises Becker’s HPC 450 V5 contactor unit, which is a 1,1 kV unit rated to 450 Amp, with IECEX certification. These contactor modules are fitted with fully integrated electronics for control, monitoring and protection functions and comprise proven technology that has been successfully used in the global mining sector for over 20 years.

HPC contactor modules have been designed for the easy exchange of pin adaptors for various applications, without the need for disassembly. For added safety, sliding guides into contact points can only engage on initiation of the switching handle.

These contactor units have a high breaking capacity of 22 kA for 1 kV. A motorised phase reversing switch allows the direction of rotation on the outgoing circuit to be changed within five seconds. Individual items can be reversed, without affecting other outlets.

KE 1008 switchgear also comprises a TU6 lighting module, which encompasses a dry type single phase 4.1 kVA transformer. This unit, with a 50/60 Hz mains frequency, has a primary voltage up to 1.1 kV (6.6 kV is available and secondary voltages of 1 x 230V (or 110V) – 10 Amp or 1 x 230 V (or 110V) – 6 Amp. Safety features include integrated 30 mA earth leakage and overload protection.

Apart from switchgear, Becker Mining’s Energy Distribution division also manufactures transformers, conveyor control systems, electrical panels, motor protection systems and a range of flameproof and non-flameproof products. With a focus on supplying solutions to meet specific end-user requirements, Becker has developed transformer and switchgear combinations. These systems have been well received by many sectors, mainly the mining industry.

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