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How R&D helps keep panel maker at the cutting edge

Home Engineering Automation & Control How R&D helps keep panel maker at the cutting edge

AS a leading electrical control panel manufacturer, WEG Automation Africa stays at the cutting edge of innovation through its research and development driven approach which sees continuous product improvement setting benchmarks within the industry sector.

That’s according to Tyrone Willemse, Business Development Manager – Projects and Contracts at WEG Automation Africa, who added that the focus throughout the process is on safety and quality as well as local manufacturing capability.

The company was previously known as Shaw Controls and is part of the Zest WEG Group which is, in turn, owned by Brazil-based WEG Group. It manufactures a range of low voltage (LV) and medium voltage (MV) electrical switchgear as well as LV fixed and withdrawable motor control centres (MCCs).

“Our fixed pattern boards have three configurations – front entry, back entry and back-to-back,” Willemse said. “We can supply these in top or bottom busbar, or cable supply entry, to suit the customer’s glanding and entry preferences.”

WEG Automation Africa’s latest family of fixed pattern boards is internally arc classified at the highest level – Class C in accordance with IEC 61641 guideline.

Willemse said this makes it possible to conduct an assessment and repair of the board after a flash and then it can be returned to temporary use after a dielectric test, to minimise unscheduled downtime. He notes that the IEC61641 guideline is starting to be introduced into LV designs to enhance safety.

“The fully withdrawable MCC option offers the major advantage that operators do not work on a live board in front of the bucket. This allows the technician to take the bucket out and move it to a safe environment before working on it.”

WEG Automation Africa has also introduced a new, fully-withdrawable MCC compliant with both IEC61439 and IEC61641 guidelines. While initially sourced from WEG’s manufacturing facilities in Brazil, the model is being considered for local build.

With the use of Solidworks modelling computer-aided design and engineering software, the MCC chassis is pre-punched to reduce wiring time. He said all digital components are loaded onto the system and carefully placed in the design of MCCs, so that equipment can be assembled and replicated to the highest standards.

“Our closed-loop project planning and control system also contributes to ensuring optimal efficiencies in the manufacturing line, saving both time and money for our customers.”

The availability of Aluzinc instead of mild steel for the panel shells is an added advantage to the standard range of panels. This assists with the continuity of the earthing system and is corrosion-resistant, adding to its safety.

WEG Automation Africa’s extensive facilities at Robertsham in Gauteng also manufactures a variety of supplementary equipment for use on process and other plants. These range from custom-designed PLC panels, standalone starter panels, junction boxes, remote isolator panels and control desks. Panels are designed and produced for indoor and outdoor applications, whether skid-mounted, in a sub-station, in a container, or in a prefabricated room or specially constructed E-house.

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