SABS boosts LV testing capacity at NETFA

The reliability of temperature-rise testing at the SABS’ National Electrical Test Facility (NETFA) in Olifantsfontein received a boost with the installation of six Buck-Boost current injection machines for low-voltage testing, says SABS executive: Laboratory Testing Services Johan Louw.

The Buck-Boost electrical current injection machines will test rising temperature in low-voltage switchgear and control gear to SANS 61439.

Louw says switchgear and control gear are used when energy sources are connected to the electricity grid and the rise of renewable energy; the addition of the Kusile and Medupi power plants and the growth of connection points on the municipal electricity grid will increase the demand for temperature-rise testing.

“The machines were installed and calibrated together with a new electricity supply unit,” he says. “The Buck-Boost machines will allow us to test multiple low-voltage equipment simultaneously while using the same power sources.”

He says the investment in new testing infrastructure has allowed the SABS to optimise testing times and improve reliability.

“We can now test low-voltage equipment in two to three days, as opposed to a week.”

Lucas Monyai, senior manager at NEFTA, said the laboratories are SANAS accredited and provide testing services in four technical areas by means of the the short-circuit laboratory; the high-voltage laboratory; materials installation laboratories and distribution technology services.

He says the nature of low-voltage stress tests required exposure to duration testing and that NETFA “excels” in tests such as for radio-influence voltage (RIV).

The investment in new equipment forms part of an SABS turnaround strategy aimed at improving conformance testing services.

The National Electrical Test Facility, which has been conducting testing on electrotechnical equipment, products and appliances since 1990, is the largest independent testing facility for power utilities and the electrotechnical industry in Africa. It is situated next to Eskom’s HVDC Apollo converter station in Olifantsfontein, Gauteng, which allows NETFA to draw high-voltage DC power from the national grid.

Contact Nils Flaatten, SABS, Tel 082 409-2020,

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Source: EE plublishers

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