ESKOM, Africa’s largest power generating utility hosts an annual Field Day in the small town of Orkney in the North-West Province. The public utility invites its most notable suppliers from across the country to demonstrate equipment to its staff members, which include Live Line teams as well as Senior Managers from across the board.
Eqstra’s 600SA was one of the suppliers that were asked to partake in this annual event. 600SA, which specialises in lifting and loading, cleansing, waste and working at height showcased an AM855E88 Altec insulated aerial platform, which is capable of withstanding up to 500KV. The unit is mainly used for live line maintenance on Distribution and Transmission lines - a very popular unit with at least seven in Eskom’s arsenal. Also on display was an AM50 Altec unit capable of 16m at 132KV. This unit can be used for either gloving or stick and bare hand method. 600SA recently started promoting all Altec accessories and hydraulic tools to the market and have had a lot of success with the value adding products, all of which was on display in the 600SA tent on the day.
Altec; distributed in Southern Africa by Eqstra 600SA, is a world leading manufacturer of aerial platforms utilised mainly by electric utility industries, municipalities, communication sector, storm clean up teams and Airports. 600SA currently supply a large number of Eskom’s insulated aerial platforms which are used for live-line repairs.
The Altec AM855E88 that was demonstrated features an extended reach elevator for a working height of up to 28m and side reach of 18m. Some of the standard features of the aerial platform include continuous rotation, lower boom insulation, hydraulic platform tilt, outrigger motion alarm, outrigger boom interlock system and Altec ISO-Grip Control System. A jib (winch) located at the basket can handle an additional 900kg over and above the 336kg basket capacity.
600SA currently distribute ten of the Altec model range into Africa with a recent addition of the first ever Altec crane into Africa. The crane is capable of heights reaching 58m and a side reach of 40m. The crane is unique in that it could be a crane or an aerial platform for work on isolated and earthed power lines. With the addition of a longer bare hand (fibreglass) boom from LinePro in Canada the unit is now rated for 765KV live work. The company claims it is also the first boom from LinePro rated at 765KV in the world. The normal rating is 500KV. As part of the testing this boom was able to withstand voltages of up to 1.4 MV (1.4 Million Volt.)
Altec devices also meet or exceed all applicable ANSI/IEC and SANS Standards.
“We import the units and with a team of nine personnel, do the mounting onto trucks in house in Pomona, Johannesburg. The sub-frames and bodies are built locally, thus contributing to job creation in our local economy.”
The truck and platform then undergo a battery of tests. These tests include:
A trip to Gerotech in Pretoria to ensure that the truck with the added weight can withstand all road and off road conditions. The test includes a tilt test where units have to withstand around 30° tilt angles.
Once passed the unit undergoes a stability, load, acoustic and electrical test before being certified as safe to use by the end user.
Special hydraulic oil with a 50KV rating is used to ensure the unit remains insulated. This oil is tested every six months to ensure compliance.
The unit then undergoes annual electrical and mechanical tests to proof that it is still safe for use