Explained: Harsh Environment and Mining Duty Transformers

Oil Rigger at dusk

Do you need to choose the right transformer for harsh environments, such as mines? There can be many challenges to even a temporary power supply in these kinds of environments. You likely receive high voltages coming into your facility and need powerful equipment to handle it and step it down to usable levels. You may also need portable power, on the surface, and within the mine. Lastly, you have to deal with typically very high load profiles. Discover the transformers that you can use to handle these challenges.   

Power Supply for Mines 

What goes into a power supply for mines and other operations in harsh environments? Here are the components of a mine power supply system: 
  • Power centers: When they are in mines, power centers are called mine load centers. The transformers here take in high voltage, usually 5 kV to 25kV, and turn it into low voltage outputs needed for mine equipment. 
  • Switchgear: Mines must also distribute high voltage lines throughout the facility. Switchgear enables that by isolating and protecting the high voltage lines and distributing it. 
  • Motor control centers: Any facility that has to turn on or control motors could use a motor control center. 
  • Substations: Transform your utility supply into the voltage that you require. You might need these to be permanent or portable, and we can help with either. 

Transformers for Mines   

So, what kind of transformers should you use in a mine or other harsh environment? You have many options: 
  • Flame-proof, air-cooled transformers: Certified flameproof transformers are useful in mines and other environments that may have open flames. These transformers have tanks full of air. 
  • Underground transformers: Transformers that are underground, need to have additional fail-safes, to guarantee safety even if the insulation fails completely. To that end, they have an earthed screen between the two windings, so the primary voltage cannot connect to the second one. 
  • Autotransformer: If you need to start an alternating current motor, as is often the case in mines, then you need an autotransformer. These have only one winding, usually to step-down current. But, in these applications, they aren’t used to supply power continuously. 
Equipment in mine

What about specific models of transformers? One of our best recommendations for most purposes is the General Purpose NEMA 4X Encapsulated Transformer. It is totally enclosed and has a K-Factor of 4 or greater, to better handle loads. Its frame built so that it can be lifted and dragged into place. 

Not sure what you need? Getting a power supply in a mine or harsh environment is possible when you trust the experts at VCM Solutions. Reach out to us today to discuss the specific needs of your harsh environment and get our expert advice about which transformer you need and information about transformer rentals from us. 

  Sources:    https://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/electrical-engineering/mines/transformers-used-in-mines-with-diagram/87760  https://www.customcoils.com/mining-transformers/  https://www.eaton.com/content/dam/eaton/products/design-guides—consultant-audience/eaton-dtdt-harsh-environment-design-guide-dg009005en.pdf  http://www.intermountainelectronics.com/Mine-Electrical-Systems.aspx