The provider of power solutions looks for a deeper footprint in this region on the strength of its innovations, world-class products and a recent acquisition
For Eaton, a UK-based power management company, involvement in the Sadara Chemical Company project in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, has been one of the highpoints of its business relationship with the region.
Eaton has been involved in supplying motor control, power distribution solutions and engineering services to Sadara, the joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical Company which will have some 26 production facilities in operation beginning in 2015.
“Eaton provided equipment and services to enhance the overall reliability and safety of Sadara’s global, fully integrated chemical complex currently under construction in Jubail Industrial City,” said Eaton Middle East general manager Frank Ackland.
Eaton develops and manufactures power solutions for a range of core industries. “With more than 10,000 patents, we are focused on developing innovative technologies to solve our customers’ toughest power management challenges. For over 100 years, we have helped our customers grow their businesses profitably through innovation that drives results, as recognised in Eaton’s award as a Thomson Reuters Top 100 Global Innovators,” said the official.
As a global leader in electrical components and systems for power quality, distribution and control, Eaton has been committed to intelligent energy management for years. The company focuses on providing smart solutions right from the end user and low voltage systems, up to the medium voltage level. Today, Eaton is already able to provide complete smart metering solutions based on proven technology and components in all of the necessary areas such as building and industrial automation, automated distribution, smart metering as well as connecting electric vehicle charging stations and renewable generation from photovoltaic systems to the network.
With the opening of a dedicated manufacturing facility for the Middle East, Eaton brings on-the-ground products and expertise to clients across the region. Based in Dubai, the state-of-the-art facility and manufacturing plant covers 86,000 sq ft (7,990 sq m) with space available to more than double in size in the future. It ships low and medium voltage products and assemblies to oil and gas, utility and large infrastructure customers across the region. In addition to assembly, the facility houses a regional service centre that will provide certification programmes for consultants and engineers throughout the region.
The company confirmed that currently only assembling of the CX, UX and control panels are in process at the Dubai facility. It is looking to begin the assembling of fire pump controllers in 2015. Everything else is imported at present.
A significant milestone for Eaton in the region was the opening of its regional HQ in Dubai in November 2013. “The $6 million manufacturing facility is a foundational element of Eaton’s commitment to the Gulf and cements a long-standing history, spanning more than 40 years,” said Ackland, who recalled that Eaton’s CEO Alexander Cutler had announced at the beginning of 2014 that Eaton Middle East would grow to become an $800 million business by 2015, specifically supported by its growth in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
“Our acquisition of Cooper Industries, closed at the end of 2012, further enables Eaton to provide critical mass in key solution areas that span the entire electrical power system. And, our global footprint provides the breadth of customised solutions you need, where our customers need it.”
The combined company has approximately 103,000 employees with 2013 sales of $22 billion on a pro forma basis in 175 countries.
“Eaton provides a range of solutions to customers across the utilities, construction, oil and gas and IT industries in the region. As a holistic power management company, Eaton provides a full spectrum of products and expertise that help to support sustainable business growth,” said Ackland who cited its Sadara work as an example of an Eaton project in the region.
“Eaton’s MV switchgear is one of the region’s best selling and most successful ranges. Key innovations in the FMX range include an electromagnetic mechanism for circuit-breaker control which enhances life and reliability, an integrated cable test facility outside of the high voltage compartment for maximum convenience and safety and exceptionally compact construction,” highlighted Ackland.
The FMX range comprises metal-enclosed single-busbar switchgear that uses air and solid insulation and is available in IEC 12 kV and 24 kV versions with ratings up to 2,000 A. The products in the range are designed around Eaton’s proven vacuum interrupters, which require no maintenance and are certified for 30,000 operation cycles. In this new range of switchgear, the interrupters are partnered by a novel and patented electromagnetic operating mechanism that provides an optimised force/stroke characteristic without the need for complicated and potentially unreliable mechanical linkages.
Long-life epoxy cast resin is used to provide primary insulation around live parts in the new switchboards and is shaped specifically to provide optimum insulation combined with excellent thermal characteristics. In addition, the insulation is configured to provide effective control over electric fields around components, thereby minimising the risk of internal arcing.
The use of vacuum interrupters and solid insulation means that FMX switchgear is much more environmentally friendly than MV switchgear that uses SF6 gas as an insulant. Cost of ownership is also significantly reduced, as no regular testing of gas pressure or other routine maintenance is needed and there is no high end-of-life cost associated with ultimately disposing of the equipment.
The compact version of the new FMX switchgear has a panel width of from just 500 mm and all have provision for cable connections to be made from the front, so that rear access is not required. This makes FMX switchgear economical in its use of valuable floor space, and easy to accommodate in even the most restricted of environments.
“FMX switchgear is the latest addition to the comprehensive family of MV switchgear products offered by Eaton’s Electrical Sector, an organisation with long and extensive experience in this field,” said Ackland. “Other products in Eaton’s MV family, some of which were formerly sold under the Holec product series, include Xiria 24 kV ring main units, SVS/08 and SVS/12 modular switchgear solutions, MMS compact double-busbar switchgear, W-VACi vacuum circuit breakers and the soon to be launched Unitole UX withdrawable switchgear.”
Ackland says Eaton’s Gulf business has been growing steadily year-on-year and has become a strong region of focus for the company globally. “We will look to further increase our position as one of the top power management companies in the Gulf and grow our footprint vertically and geographically in the coming years,” he adds.