The quest for high quality is one of the main reasons why more and more companies are choosing composite insulators. This increased demand means that Elektroskandia has now added Ensto’s insulators to its range. One of the first deliveries of Ensto’s new composite line post insulators went to Vattenfall Service and its project in Vistträsk, just outside Älvsbyn, Sweden.
“We’re very pleased to now be in a position to offer Ensto’s composite line post insulators to our customers,” says Peter Melander, Product Manager of the Electricity Supply Market business area at Elektroskandia. “There is clearly a growing trend towards using composite insulators, with our current sales about 50/50 between composite and porcelain insulators. The demand for porcelain insulators is declining, which means that there are longer lead times from our porcelain suppliers, while there is ever more demand for composite insulators, which in turn means that the availability of composite insulators is increasing. Their durability and longer service life are clearly of great value to the customer.”
“We’ve had composite tension insulators for years, but now we’ve also developed a line post insulator made entirely of composite materials – even the top section,” says Björn Gustafsson, Sales Director at Ensto Utility Networks in Sweden. It is of the highest quality and manufactured within the EU. The top of the insulator is a copy of porcelain insulator S125R, meaning that all standard accessories can still be used, which is a huge advantage. The line post insulator is weatherproof because the coating is made of silicone, giving the insulator superb electrical resistance and making it resistant to UV radiation and severe weather conditions. The insulator top/neck is also made of insulating material to reduce the electric field around the insulator. The composite insulator is also available with pulley ST114 for ease of handling and line tensioning. “Svensk Energi/EBR recommends composite insulators for distribution lines, and Vattenfall has established that composite insulators should be used for new construction and improvements,” says Peter Melander.
It’s full steam ahead with a lot to do at Vattenfall Service right now. “Yes, we’re really busy,” says Olle Enbom, Project Manager at Vattenfall Service Nordic AB. “We received a full year’s worth of orders in the space of just a few weeks once the framework agreement between Vattenfall Service and Vattenfall Eldistribution was finalised. There were a number of ready-prepared projects that we were able to take on. We wanted to get started on the projects quickly while snowmobiles could still be used and the marshland areas were still frozen.” Vattenfall Service now has numerous projects underway, including in Jokkmokk, Arjeplog and Pajala, and there are more projects in the pipeline. To manage this workload, the company has also had to employ new staff. One of the new projects involving installation of Ensto’s new composite line post insulators was in Vistträsk, just outside Älvsbyn.
“Yes, we’ve just finished the installation in Vistträsk. This involved around 70 poles along a road with three composite insulators on each pole. Installation went well, and we are pleased with the product. Composite line post insulators are easier to work with; they weigh less than porcelain insulators and are much more durable. Porcelain cracks easily and there is a lot of wastage if it e.g. has to be transported on snowmobiles in the field,” says Olle Enbom.
The biggest advantage of composite insulators is their durability, which is a bonus during transport, installation and use. A porcelain insulator is fragile and easily broken during installation.
“It is easy to crack porcelain insulators during installation, and in worst case scenarios, the fitter doesn’t notice and it is only discovered during severe weather conditions when the line short circuits to ground. A composite insulator is much easier to handle, as well as also boasting more long-term benefits in terms of the sustainability of the system. With porcelain insulators, we have experienced failures in wintertime when the lines are weighed down by ice, as when the ice falls, there is a risk of the line coming loose from the insulator or insulator necks coming off,” says Peter Melander, who goes on to say: “Everything is pointing in the direction of composite insulators, and at Elektroskandia we have stockpiled them so we’re prepared, because we know that our customers have a lot of projects in progress. By being able to offer composite insulators of the highest quality, we can contribute to the development of more sustainable and reliable electricity network systems.”