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Contact us

For any further information or press release, please contact:
E: info@i-wec.co.za
T: +27 (0)21 447 7404

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Careers

If you are interested in joining I-WEC's team, send your particulars and as new opportunities arise I-WEC will evaluate your information and contact likely candidates.

E: recruitment@i-wec.co.za

Directions

I-WEC's central office is located in the Table Bay harbour. Due to security measures visitors can only be received after prior notification.

Wind Energy Converters

I-WEC has selected a reliable 2.5 MW design from German WEC design house aerodyn Energiesysteme Gmbh. This design represents the largest capacity WECs that can currently be transported and installed within the existing South African infrastructure.

The design is classified for the prevalent wind conditions over the Southern African region, and is certified by the TÜV Nord 3rd party inspection organization to international standards such as Germanishe Lloyd and the IEC 61400. This ensures that each WEC will be insurable and bankable.

Rotor Blades

The rotor blades are a complex composite construction over 50 m in length, and non-conventional methods must be used to achieve the desired quality. Glass fibre is used for a high strength and low weight sandwich construction, bound together with epoxy resin to ensure the necessary impact resistance of the completed blades.

Once installed, the blade tip’s reach is over 130 m, therefore each blade features an integrated lightning protection system. This allows for the transfer of current from lightning strikes at either the blade tip or centre to the earthed tower, and thus ensures continued safe operation of the blades.

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WEC Assembly

The wind energy converter is a construction of 5 major component groups:

  • The 3 rotor blades, each over 50 m long and weighing in excess of 12 tonne.
  • The rotor hub, connecting the blades to the rotor shaft. It is a single casting weighing over 10 tonne.
  • The nacelle, housing the drivetrain. It is a complex construction of steel and composites weighing over 90 tonne when completely assembled.
  • The tubular steel tower. It is a high precision construction between 70 and 80 m in height and weighing approximately 190 tonne, and is designed to withstand extreme static and dynamic loads for over 20 years.
  • The foundation, acting as anchor and lightning connection for the tower, with a combined structure of concrete and steel weighing over 60 tonne.

All components are designed and constructed according to the exacting international standards adopted by the SABS.

Drivetrain

The drivetrain is the central arrangement where the slow rotation of the rotor is converted to the high rotational speed required for efficient power generation.

The system consists of a forged steel rotor shaft supported by a specialized configuration of two rotor bearings. This configuration is designed in such a way as to completely eliminate any axial force on the gearbox.

The gearbox itself is the most critical component in the drivetrain, and a variety of designs serve to ensure optimal operational conditions for it. The 24 tonne gearbox is a high efficiency multistage machine with gear ratios between 80 and 85, thus providing the generator with optimal rotational input to ensure efficient power generation.

Power is sent to the converter for synchronized supply to the local grid connection.

Control System

Data is gathered by more than 20 sensors, and processed by a combination of PLCs and an industrial PC. This information is used for real-time control of the WEC and stored for further performance calculations. The data and control functionality of the WEC is available remotely, and monitored continuously for safety and preventative maintenance purposes.

Also included in the control system are the yaw- and pitch-control systems, which ensure the optimal performance of WECs for varying wind conditions:

  • The yaw system rotates the nacelle 360° to face into the wind at all times.
  • The pitch system adjusts the angle of the blade relative to the wind flow to ensure a constant rotation speed of the rotor. It also acts as the primary breaking device by feathering the blades, thus turning the blades parallel to the wind direction. (This effectively eliminates energy transfer from the wind and adds aerodynamic resistance to rotation).

Power Generation

Power is generated using a permanent magnet synchronous generator and full converter combination. This enables power generation at lower wind speeds and results in a higher energy yield than comparable doubly fed induction generator systems.

Each WEC will deliver up to 2.5 MW at a 690 V output voltage, which is stepped up to 11 kV by the on-site transformer for cost effective power distribution. If it is deemed necessary, the further connection and distribution to the national grid can be negotiated as part of the scope of supply.

Product

I-WEC offers a turnkey solution to wind farm developers in the form of the 2.5 MW wind energy converter. This includes the supply of wind energy converters (including locally manufactured rotor blades), on-site erection and installation, and maintenance over the lifetime of the product.

I-WEC's turbines are manufactured in compliance with strict international quality standards at their local facilities, and great effort has gone into assuring high levels of local content and product bankability.

Facilities

I-WEC is operating a variety of facilities in Table Bay harbour in conjunction with DCD Dorbyl, as well as a composite manufacturing training facility in Saldanha. The highly specialized blade production process is currently the pinnacle of the manufacturing abilities. It centres on the shell mould (measuring 52 m long and weighing over 40 tonne), which includes a fully integrated hydraulic and heating system.

The process requires a wide variety of high precision tools and machines, including laser projection and measurement, resin-mixing machines, controlled vacuum pumps, as well as facilities for painting, blade balancing, and final testing. All of this is accommodated in-house in a tightly run operation.

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Maintenance

I-WEC provides a complete maintenance programme to ensure optimal operation over the 20 year lifetime of each product. Due to the high cost and damage of undetected deterioration and failure, it is essential that a combined preventative and predictive maintenance strategy is implemented.

I-WEC makes use of a preventative maintenance plan on a fixed maintenance schedule. This ensures that no components or consumables are used beyond the optimal operational duration.

A predictive maintenance system is employed to analyse data received from integrated sensors through a condition monitoring system. This ensures that unexpected faults are detected before actual failure can occur.

Quality

I-WEC is thoroughly commited to the quality management system (QMS) required by both the Germaische Lloyd requirements and the IEC 61400 standard. I-WEC's QMS was developed based on the requirements as set out in the ISO 9001 standard.

As a critical part of this system all parties involved in the supply and assembly process must be ISO 9001 certified. In the exceptional cases where this is not viable, special care is taken to ensure that detailed process maps are created for all work. In doing so, all operations and processes are actioned as required so that final results will match the relevant standards and requirments.

Another vital aspect of the system is document and record control. Special attention is given in this regard to collect, check, and store all relevant documents.

This ensures that any non-compliance by suppliers can be acted upon without further complication, and in so doing I-WEC can protect the final quality of the product.

IWEC Isivunguvungu Wind Energy Coverter Product
IWEC Isivunguvungu Wind Energy Coverter Maintenance
IWEC Isivunguvungu Wind Energy Coverter Quality

Company information

In 2009 Michael Kast and Thomas Schaal established a joint vision: South Africa must benefit from the increasing demand for wind energy converters. By initiating local manufacturing of critical components and emphasizing local content, the wind energy sector can become a substantial and sustainable source of growth for both industry and job-creation.

Early in 2011 the DCD Dorbyl group of companies was identified as a partner for this endeavour, providing an experienced heavy engineering base of operation within the industry. DCD Dorbyl has since become a major shareholder of I-WEC.

A young professional team has been assembled and is driving mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as manufacturing, project management, and quality assurance operations within the company. A facility has also been established for the recruitment and training of candidates for rotor blade production.

Management

Dr. Michael Kast – Managing Director:

With a Doctorate in metallurgical engineering, Dr.-Ing. Michael Kast's career started in Germany, where he focused on the development and manufacturing of steel pipe components and systems. Moving to South Africa in 1983, Dr. Kast transitioned to the engineering and manufacturing of high pressure piping systems manufactured for all major Eskom power stations. Dr. Kast has been involved in the Wind Turbine Industry since 2000, producing components for wind turbine prototypes and facilitating series production.

IWEC Isivunguvungu Wind Energy Converter Michael Kast

Thomas Schaal – Financial Manager:

Thomas Schaal obtained a degree in economics focusing on foreign trade and finance. He conducted his studies in Germany and the USA. Thomas has long lasting experience in international corporate banking as well as the consulting industry specialising in treasury and finance. During that time he held management positions at Deutsche Bank, UBS Capital and ING Group.

IWEC Isivunguvungu Wind Energy Converter Financial Manager

Technology Partners

To achieve success with an endeavour of this complexity, the wise selection of partners is essential: Aerodyn Energiesysteme Gmbh has operated as an active design house for wind energy converters for over 20 years. I-WEC has chosen to produce a 2.5 MW turbine design under their licence. This allows I-WEC to tap into proven expertise and enjoy extensive support during the set-up period, ensuring that a quality product can be delivered right from the start.

I-WEC also has a strong working relationship with the CSIR who assist with wind measurement testing and surveys.

I-WEC's first wind energy converter will already constitute 70% local content, but specific critical components are sourced from respected international suppliers:

SABS / IEC

As part of the mission to push for the highest quality products, I-WEC is involved with the SABS work group for Wind Energy Turbines.

As an active member I-WEC has been a strong proponent for the adoption of the latest International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC 61400) standards. Of late this standard has been adopted, and will protect the market from low quality and out-dated products.

isivunguvungu
wind energy converter
i-wec

Isivunguvungu Wind Energy Converter (Pty.) Ltd (I-WEC) is an engineering company specializing in the manufacture of state-of-the-art wind turbines for the South African market. I-WEC's passion for innovation combined with internationally certified technology and licensing and connections to the South African heavy engineering field put I-WEC in the forefront as a leading developer in the industry.

It is I-WEC's vision to provide South Africa with a local solution to the growing wind turbine industry not only by using a high level of local content, but also by developing specialized training facilities aimed at transfering skill and know-how to a local workforce.

Join I-WEC on their journey and find out more about the company and the technology that drives them.

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