Power Conversion – Large Motors – Department of Water Affairs

Department of Water Affairs


ACTOM Electrical Machines’ willingness to produce replacement motors pays off

The Large Motors division of ACTOM Electrical Machines (formerly Alstom Electrical Machines), a member of South Africa’s largest electrical engineering group ACTOM, recently completed a complex contract for the Department of Water Affairs in which it produced made-to-fit medium voltage motors to replace existing motors operating at seven pump stations in Mpumalanga.

The motors, ranging between 1320 kW and 3455 kW, have been produced either to immediately replace an existing motor that has reached the end of its useful life or as a spare to replace the existing motor later. They include a dual-speed motor, which has been supplied for Rietfontein pump station, where a dual-speed motor is already in operation, and a motor with a variable-speed drive for Grootdraai pump station, which is an enhancement on the existing motor, which does not have variable speed operation at present.

The other pump stations covered by the contract – in all cases supplied with one replacement motor each – are Grootfontein, Zaaihoek, Jericho, Morgenstond and Kliphoek.

The contract was awarded in 2007 and was completed in September 2009, when the seventh and final replacement motor – for Jericho pump station – was delivered.

The division also recently completed two follow-up orders from the Department of Water Affairs for a further two replacement motors, the first being a second new motor for Morgenstond and the other for Camden pump station, also located in Mpumalanga.

Ernie Muller, Large Motors’ Commercial Manager, said the division has established a track record and developed a competency in executing replacement motors contracts that is well recognised in the market.

“We have gone out of our way to win challenging contracts like this in recent years as part of a drive to broaden our range of services,” he commented.

“The downside of these jobs, of course, is that they are much more complicated than your standard orders for motors for new projects. You have to design and make each individual motor to fit the foundation of its predecessor, right down to matching the bolt-holes and ensuring that it links up properly within the space constraints with the associated equipment on site. Time-consuming site visits and other research is involved and the design and manufacture of the motors are often quite tricky too.

“However, we find that in most cases the difficulties involved in these jobs is more than compensated for by the substantial size and monetary value of the contracts. Also they contribute very much towards strengthening our relationships with the customers concerned,” Muller concluded.

A spokesperson for the Department of Water Affairs said the department is satisfied with the level and quality of service ACTOM Electrical Machines has provided on the contract.

ACTOM (Pty) Ltd is a black empowered electrical engineering company that employs over 6 000 people and has an annual order intake in excess of R5bn. It has 27 operating units, 22 production facilities and 25 distribution centres throughout South Africa.

ACTOM partners Alstom France for environmental equipment and in serving the maintenance, upgrade and retrofit market for larger boilers, as well as for railway transport activities.

ACTOM holds exclusive distribution, technology and representation rights for Areva T&D in Southern Africa and maintains management, technical and commercial links to Areva T&D business units in Europe.

ACTOM formerly traded under the name Alstom South Africa and re-branded to ACTOM in September 2009.

For further information contact Ernie Muller, ACTOM Electrical Machines
PO Box 1026, Benoni 1500
Tel (011) 899-1030 Fax (011) 899-1206
E-mail ernie.muller@actom.co.za
Date:  December 15, 2009

Caption:  A factory worker at ACTOM Electrical Machines’ Benoni plant checks over a 3455 kW 4-pole motor destined for Jericho pump station, one of several replacement motors that the company’s Large Motors division has produced for Department of Water Affairs pump stations in Mpumalanga during the past two years.