More than ever before, businesses are under pressure to reduce their operational costs and maximise their profits. One key area where big industries can make significant cost savings is by using purpose-made, containerised substations. These repurposed marine shipping containers arrive on-site pre-installed with fully tested switchgear, ready for immediate cable connection.
Containerised substations are incredibly useful in remote areas. Civil construction costs are high, and converting a standard marine specification container into a substation is significantly less expensive than arranging for on-site construction of switchgear housing.
Another huge benefit of containerised substations is that they are fully equipped and assembled at the manufacturer’s premises, and can comprise bespoke combinations of distribution equipment, control gear and PLC equipment. All this equipment undergoes full function testing before being dispatched, which translates to huge time savings on site. They can even be pre-commissioned.
Once on site, the containers are easily mounted on plinths, columns or skids. If mounted on columns, cable entry is possible through openings in the floor at the base of the container. If this isn’t possible, then exterior cable entry boxes, mounted to the exterior of the container, provide cable entry through the side. These boxes are removed during transport of the container.
Some switchgear (such as ring main units) also need arcing ducts out of the sides or bottom of the container. In this instance, special modification to the container is needed to prevent an arc from affecting the interior environment.
Containerised substations are most commonly used in more extreme environments, such as mines and open-air construction sites, among others. Containers are, by nature, well-sealed, meaning they offer an effective way of keeping dirt, dust and other pollutants out. Ventilation systems with filters can be fitted to maintain positive pressure within the container. Each system can be custom designed to suit individual site requirements, including high pollution environments.
Containerised substations vary in size, with the average size being about 10 metres long, five metres wide and four metres high. This means they can easily be transported on a standard low-loader and lowered into position using a crane.
Submitted by JB Switchgear, a company that manufactures high quality switchgear systems that meet the latest national and international safety and performance standards. The company modifies marine containers for substation applications with options including insulation, flooring, lighting and small power, air conditioning and fire suppression, among others.