Kazpolimerizolyator: Made in Kazakhstan
Modernising and upgrading equipment is now playing a key role in ensuring the stable work of our country’s power-engineering system. According to estimates by experts, the country’s demand for glass insulators stands at over 500,000 pieces a year, and with the commissioning of new power-engineering facilities this figure will only grow further. However, our country still does not produce its own insulators and armatures, and that is why the construction of the new enterprise to produce modern third-generation polymer insulators in the town of Rudnyy, the Kazpolimerizolyator limited liability partnership, is quite timely. We have asked Lyubov Makarova, the general director of the Investor M limited liability partnership, which has jointly set up this production with the Russian Energiya-21 company, to tell us about it in detail.
Mrs Makarova, why does the new enterprise aim only to produce polymer insulators?
In the past two decades, the world power-engineering sector has been undergoing the process of adopting innovative materials, technology and equipment. In particular, successes in the sphere of synthesising high-tensile composite materials led to the emergence of new-class high-voltage insulators – the so-called third-generation polymer insulators.
However, the first polymer insulators were devised in the 1970s and they showed a number of indisputable advantages over the traditional porcelain and glass insulators, namely, their reduced weight, damage resistance, convenience to transport and install and make power-engineering equipment compact.
In addition, a quite long period of operating first-generation non-porcelain insulators established their disadvantages, including the tracking and erosion of their protective coat, the fragile fracturing of their glass-fibre rods and other damages. In many cases, this led to both insignificant problems and large-scale breakdowns, including power lines falling to the ground.
As a result, many producers started producing polymer insulators solely for power distribution systems of relatively low voltage. Despite this, some producers continued to improve design and technology. Using developments made between 1985 and 1990 a number of foreign companies started producing improved second-generation composite insulators. The next breakthrough was possible in the late 1990s when after a long path of trails and tests the best constructive formula was found and the production of third-generation polymer insulators was launched.
What are the advantages of the latest generation polymer insulators?
Their basic design specific is their one-piece coat made of silicon elastomer. The key point is that despite their external simplicity, composite insulators are quite complex constructions that come under combined mechanical and electrical pressure and exposure from the surrounding medium. Their physical characteristics are ensured by an internal insulating element (rod). Fulfilling a dual role, in addition to direct insulation, it comes under mechanical pressure, both stretching and bending and twisting and compressing. However, the unprotected rod is almost unsuitable for long periods of external use because of the tracking caused by pollution, humidity and service voltage. That is precisely why the quality of the coat is particularly significant as it ensures the necessary length of leakage distance and protects the rod from atmospheric impact.
In contrast to most of the other polymer materials used in previous generation insulators, silicon elastomers preserve their low surface energy better and this ensures their excellent hydrophobic surface characteristics. In addition, silicon elastomers have high levels of resistance to sun UV rays. Thanks to these qualities they are the only material used for coating at the moment. It should also be noted that in order to extend the service life of high-voltage insulators many foreign and Russian producers abandoned the method of block cast moulding which was popular in the past and switched to the cast moulding of coats vulcanised on the rod in one piece.
Thus, third-generation insulators have additional mechanical and electric characteristics and dirt resistance compared to porcelain or glass insulators.
Who is the leader in producing third-generation polymer insulators now?
Our power-engineering companies mostly use polymer insulators produced by the Russian Energiya-21 company. Relying on modern technology, this company has supplied over 500,000 polymer insulators to the Russian, Kazakh, Uzbek and Bulgarian power-engineering systems over the past 15 years. As a result, Energiya-21 is now the leader in this segment of the market in CIS countries and produces about 130,000 polymer insulators per year.
This company’s world-class insulators showed their qualities in high levels of dust and dirt, conditions which are characteristic of Kazakh mines and coal open-pit mines.
Regarding our market as one of the promising markets in the CIS, in 2006 Energiya-21 decided to set up its own enterprise to produce polymer insulators in Kazakhstan and chose Investor Mas a strategic partner.
What types of polymer insulators will the new enterprise produce?
Using advanced technology and experience acquired by Energiya-21, it will produce seven-tonne line insulators with capacities of 35 kV, 110 kV and 220 kV and insulators for the railway overhead contact system. In the future, we intend to expand the line of products by producing post insulators.
Local insulators will fully meet the technical standards we have adopted for producing line suspension insulators of LK type and rod insulators of FSPK type for the railway overhead system. The first consignment of Kaspolimerizolyator products has now been sent to the Russian Power-Engineering Institute for tests.
Thus, we hope that the enterprise will soon be able to satisfy the Kazakh market demand for these products and occupy leading positions in the market.
What is the basis of your confidence?
From the marketing point of view our success is guaranteed by the experience and reputation of Investor M. Having established close partner relations with many insulator and armature plants, we have ensured uninterrupted supplies of their products to Kazakhstan and now account for about 80% of the local market.
We now have suppliers in many Russian and Ukrainian towns. We work with Russia’s South Urals Armature-Insulator Plant, Tovarkovskiy High-Voltage Armature Plant, Beloretskiy Metal Combine, Aston-Energo company, ELIZ and Uralizolyator and Ukraine’s Slavyanskiy Armature-Insulator Plant and Khartizskiy Armature Plant. Our main clients are the KEGOC power-grid company, the Kulager Corporation, ELMO and its branches, ASPMK-519, the Bogatyr Access Komir company and the Alyuminium of Kazakhstan company.
These and other enterprises chose our company, above all, because we supply all the necessary electrotechnical products in time. It is precisely this and the fact that we do not work with products from the secondary market that created our reputation of a reliable partner for power-engineering and service organisations.
I hope that all the Kazakh power-engineers will also appreciate our status as the first local producer of polymer insulators.
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