At a time when cost and production efficiencies are becoming ever more important in the manufacturing process, Siemens Automation & Drives new SIRIUS 3RA6 Compact Starter range, has assisted the world’s largest specialist loadbank manufacturer, Crestchic by delivering a ‘one stop’ integrated component solution for a new container loadbank. It has helped the company reduce commissioning costs, save installation and wiring time and significantly speed up customer delivery.
Staffordshire based Crestchic Ltd, established in 1983, is a world leader in the manufacture of loadbanks and can boast over 25 years’ experience developing load test solutions for customers across the globe. The company works alongside businesses with efficient power generation testing and system proving requirements, by providing a containerised test environment that creates stable, continuous and variable loads to imitate actual power load behaviour in real time.
The company manufactures a range of resistive units from 10kW to 5.0MW (with a 6.0MW unit currently being investigated) for testing generator engines, and resistive/reactive 100kVA to 6.25MVA loadbanks for testing the engine/alternator. In addition, Crestchic design and build loadbanks to any size of voltage and frequency to meet specific customer’s requirements.
A long-time collaborator with Siemens, the company is continually seeking improved manufacturing process performance and cost efficiencies. It is eager to investigate potential new products that can help with these objectives, and it was against this background that the two companies worked together to take advantage of the benefits brought by the recent launch of Siemens new SIRIUS 3RA Compact Starter range.
Garry Chamberlain, engineering manager at Crestchic Ltd, explains: “We have a very good ongoing working relationship with Siemens Automation & Drives, and were particularly interested to hear about their new Compact Starter range. We were working on the manufacture of a new 20ft ISO container loadbank rated at 4.0MVA, and were looking for an efficient solution for the cooling fan control and protection element of the unit. The loadbank incorporates eleven cooling fans which blow cooling air through the resistance and reactance banks.
Previously, we would have sourced and purchased multiple components separately to operate the cooling fans, including items such as circuit breakers, contactors and electronic overload relays. However, the SIRIUS Compact Starter range incorporated all these elements in a combined unit which seemed ideal, and we were very interested to see how it could assist us.”
He continues: “Some of the other issues we faced included limited space availability as part of the loadbank build and a wish to simplify and speed up the production process. We were highly attracted to the potential and significant reduction of between 10 and 15% we could predict in terms of installation and wiring timescales.”
The SIRIUS 3RA6 Compact Starter range is a new generation of weld-free motor starters with the combined functionalities of circuit breakers, contactors and electronic overload relay. They can be used in all applications where 3-phase motors up to 32A (approximately 15kW/400 V) require a direct-on-line start.
Garry Chamberlain concludes: “The beauty of the solution we have found courtesy of this new product range is that everything we required is encapsulated in one unit and not a myriad of components. In comparison with a conventional solution, the Compact Starter offers us a highly efficient power connection, coupled with a large reduction in the space required to house the starters within the unit. Add to this the shortened wiring timescales which enables us to complete the project more quickly and cost-effectively, and we have been delighted with the benefits the SIRIUS one stop motor control solution provides for us.”
The loadbank unit in question has been successfully tested and is now to be utilised by Crestchic’s customer in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Indeed, such has been the performance levels of the SIRIUS 3RA Compact Starter range, that Crestchic intend to specify it as standard for all new containerised units, with further plans to incorporate it into smaller sheet metal units in due course.
Mark Harrison for Siemens Automation & Drives comments: “In addition to the installation and commissioning timescale advantages offered by Sirius Compact, it also utilises a remaining life time main contact monitoring feature. Wear and tear on the main contacts is measured and when they have reached a critical state the unit will trip and signal that it needs to be replaced. This, coupled with the starters weld free technology, makes Sirius Compact ideally suited to applications where unplanned downtime is to be avoided at all costs.”
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