The cost and supply of reliable electricity has become one of the mining industry’s biggest headaches, particularly in South Africa. In April this year, the country’s industrial electricity tariff rose above the R1/kWh, taking the cost of energy to exorbitant new levels. How then do miners compensate for this challenge without ‘breaking the bank’?
The incorporation of Zest WEG’s new W22 IE4 motor range is the perfect starting point, electric motors manager FANIE STEYN tells LAURA CORNISH.
The mining industry is an energy intensive user. Even smaller scale operations require large-scale equipment to beneficiate ore – all driven by motors, which collectively account for a significant portion of an operation’s total energy requirements.
Zest WEG, a specialist motor supplier, and also an energy solutions provider, has been facilitating cost reductions on site through its energy efficient motor range, which it first launched to market many years ago. “We have undergone extensive improvements on this front over the years, moving from the older IE1 standard efficiency motor to our newly launched IE4 super premium efficiency motor,” Steyn starts. This is an impressive step considering the use of energy efficiency motors in South Africa (and Africa) is not regulated.
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“This step shows our objective to partner with the industry, and the country, in alleviating their energy costs. The IE4 motor can add an additional 1 to 3% savings on energy consumption over and above those savings delivered by the IE3 motor,” Steyn continues. “And importantly, in truly demonstrating our commitment to aid the industry in its cost savings, we have decided to offer our new IE4 motor at the same price as the premium efficiency IE3.”
This is significant when considering the launch of the IE3 motor in 2015 – which Zest WEG offered to market at little or no additional cost relative to its IE2 motors, with the same goal in mind: Making both customers and the country more energy efficient.
Unpacking the IE4 savings and benefits
“The efficiency of 96.3% on an IE4-rated 110 kW motor, when compared to 94.1% on an IE1-rated motor, can save users hundreds of thousands of rands in energy costs over a 10-year period,” Steyn highlights. “Not only will these IE4 motors be more cost effective to run, but they have been designed with a number of new features that bring considerable benefits.”
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The WEG IE4 super-premium efficiency motors meet IEC efficiency levels when running on 50 to 100% of load. Efficiency is kept constant, which saves energy and ensures minimal losses through various loading points. The innovative frame design also allows maximum heat dissipation.
“Motor frame design plays a crucial role in thermal performance, as it is responsible for the outward transfer of heat generated inside the motor,” says Steyn. “Running cooler means that our motors have increased life spans, allowing Zest WEG to offer a five year guarantee on our WEG W22 electric motor range.”
The motors’ increased mechanical rigidity – achieved by integrating the front and rear feet sides – affords easier installation, higher mechanical stiffness and improved distribution of the mechanical thrust imposed by the load.
“As a first of its kind, our flexible terminal box mounting means reduced inventory and quicker modification,” he says. “The terminal box can be rotated in 90° increments to facilitate supply cable connection orientated to the front, rear, top or either side of the motor.”
IE4 gives South Africa the wow factor
South Africa may not be the fastest in executing or using new or first-world technologies but the country has the upper hand on energy efficiency through the IE4 motor. “Reinforcing our commitment to always offer technological advances which can truly benefit our customers, the IE4 motors range is now being deployed in South Africa as an off-the-shelf item,” Steyn notes.
Available in the size range between 37 kW and 355 kW, their application into the mining sector is wide-ranging.
The IE4 motor is also equipped to benefit from Zest WEG’s digitisation strategy – with the option of a motor scan sensor which enables condition monitoring in real time, and prevents failures by gathering information from the motor which is sent to the cloud. From there, that data is summarised, trends predicted and warnings delivered in an effective manner.
This again is the first step in a bigger Industry 4.0 plan for Zest WEG. “We are gradually introducing a Motor Scan Solution in South Africa that takes automation to the next level. This will entail providing clients with access to an exchange server which will allow our data to be integrated into our clients’ existing SCADA systems. Integrating data onto a single platform has become a challenge for the industry working with so many different service providers. Through this solution, we will remove this customer barrier,” Steyn concludes.