Kenneth Väkeväinen

Screened Separable Connectors That Don't Keep You Waiting

Bringing manufacturing in house for the core parts of Ensto’s screened separable connector is a big win for both Ensto and its customers.

A screened separable connector is an extremely important product but not a glamorous one. It is a package of 15 to 20 parts inside a cardboard box, to be assembled on site and used at the end of a medium-voltage line. But depending on how and where those parts are manufactured and depending on which supply crisis is hitting the world at a given time, the lead time to get one can seem to last forever.

But Ensto has changed all that. All the key parts for Ensto’s 630 A T-connector, the 630 A Back-connector, and surge arrester are now manufactured in Ensto factories.

Solving the supply chain

By taking full control of this underground connector, Ensto can deliver smoothly, regardless of what’s happening elsewhere in the world.

“Full control means we solve the whole supply chain,” says Kenneth Väkeväinen, Head of Product Management, Underground Networks. “We improve the lead time and delivery accuracy. We also improve product quality. This is of huge significance.”

Now, all main components are manufactured at Ensto plants. The silicone elements, produced in Estonia, are also now made more elastic for easier installation. The lugs, made in Finland, have stepless screw shearing, which allow wide cross-section ranges and facilitate easy installation. The surge arresters, with the cores manufactured in France and overmolding, assembly, and testing in Estonia, are compact. And assembly instructions are textless, simplifying both installation and expansion to new markets.

Made at home means potential to grow

Control of the process means that Ensto can expand its market share in current markets, but it also offers potential for growth.

“Urbanization is creating opportunities for us,” says Väkeväinen. “The bigger a city gets, the more cables go underground.” And space is always limited in cities. Screened separable connectors are needed for cable connections in gas-insulated switchgear and, since they require less space than traditional air-insulated equipment, the demand for screened connectors is growing.

“Full control also brings production advantages that allow us to be price competitive in a greater number of markets,” adds Väkeväinen.

Underground in the limelight

Changes in the world over the past three years have been dramatic, and while the pandemic and war could not have been anticipated, Ensto did foresee megatrends and invest in its factories accordingly. Climate change has caused storms of a nature that accelerate countries’ decisions to move lines underground and governments have decided to penalize utility networks for outages.

These changes, combined with Ensto’s decision to become a leading expert for DSOs, have made underground products the fastest growing area within Ensto. “The ability to deliver a high-quality product at the right price at the right time,” says Väkeväinen, “is key in making Ensto a real player in the electricity distribution business.”

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