Use of E-Houses is growing as contractors recognise the substantial cost reduction that can be achieved by deploying these pre-manufactured electrical substations during the construction phase of a project.
Bevan Richards, COO of Shaw Controls, says that the primary advantage of using an E-House is it is a pre-manufactured electrical substation. “Essentially it is a custom built steel structure which houses all the electrical equipment. It is built off-site, pretested at the OEM facility and delivered as a complete unit ready for connection on site,” he explains. The only things removed for transportation are the external pieces of equipment such as air conditioners, condensors, pressurisation fans and external light fittings.
“Typically, the E-House would replace a brick and mortar constructed substation and very basic foundations are all that are required to support the E-House. There is no need for an extensive civil infrastructure or for any form of building to be constructed,” he says.
When delivered to site the structure is offloaded, put into position and those items removed for transportation purposes are remounted on the outside of the E-House. Richards says that installation and connection on-site will vary from a maximum of five days for a very complex E-House to as little as one day for a simple one.
This increased demand for E-Houses has, however, highlighted some of the issues being faced by customers according to Richards. “With the level of pressure on reducing project costs many contractors are looking at ways in which to achieve savings with E-Houses.
“This is an area where Shaw Controls can positively contribute because as a business which is primarily an electrical engineering company we do not need to rely on a third party electrical manufacturing company to produce the Motor Control Centre (MCC) or integrate any of the electrical components into the substation,” Richards says.
Majority of companies that participate in the E-Housing OEM market are mechanical companies and outsourcing to electrical OEMs not only adds a cost factor but also results in lengthier lead times.
Shaw Controls, as a single supply source, has the electrical skills base and the mechanical manufacturing capability. “The ability to design the mechanical side of an E-House ensures that it will meet the necessary parameters to accommodate the electrical equipment, and this does result in shortened design times with subsequent speed to actual manufacture and delivery of the custom pre-manufactured electrical substation,” he says.
Shaw Controls operates an extensive manufacturing facility of over 12 000 m2 and has a team of skilled technical personnel. Another significant advantage is that all the pieces of equipment are installed in the E-House at the company’s facility and this eliminates the complexity and need for individual specialist contractors to be on-site to install their own equipment.
Having the entire operation in one facility also makes it easier for customers to do all quality and functional checks in one place. “This ease of access to do testing can be a substantial time and cost saving,” Richards says.
Being part of Zest WEG Group allows Shaw Controls access to the vast technical database and engineering resources of parent company WEG Brazil. WEG has numerous references in terms of pre-manufactured substations and access to this level of expertise and experience allows for technology interchange and ensures best practice across all designs.
Founded in 1981, Shaw Controls has evolved to where it has an established reputation as one of South Africa’s foremost suppliers of E-Houses, mobile substations and MCCs. The company offers a complete product line from MV switchgear to LV withdrawable MCCs. These locally manufactured products are independently certified in accordance with the IEC 62271-200 and IEC 61439-1/2 standards. According to IEC specifications, LV covers applications up to 690 V, while the MV range is from 1 kV up to 52 kV. All products carry ISO 9001 accreditation from Bureau Veritas.