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Cool connections at Converteam

01 June 2006

The inclusion of Stäubli quick release connectors on the cooling circuits of the medium voltage inverters produced by Converteam at Kidsgrove significantly adds to the functionality and ease of use of these advanced electrical systems

Converteam is a specialist manufacturer of liquid cooled drives having supplied in total over 750MW of their Delta liquid cooled inverters. Their ancestry is equally impressive too; being originally part of English Electric, then GEC and subsequently Alstom; they now stand as an independently owned business alongside sister Converteam companies in Rugby and Glasgow, each developing innovative electrical generation and power conversion products for the 21st century. Current business levels are growing rapidly with dramatically increasing demand for their products from the burgeoning wind energy sector as well as buoyant sales to their more traditional markets of marine propulsion and process engineering.

Many control systems and electrical installations, particularly those containing advanced electronics, require dedicated cooling systems to maintain the designed operating temperature and ensure performance is to specification. Cooling by forced air or liquid are options, demineralised water or an ethylene glycol mix often provide the cooling medium. A liquid cooled solution brings advantages, it can often be half the size of the air cooled equivalent, cost less and is normally quieter in operation too. Converteam includes in its original designs the use of Staubli SPT 12 or RMI 16 connectors on the cooling circuits depending on the cooling medium. David Mayer, mechanical designer at Converteam takes up the story.

"We can rely on Stäubli to suggest the most appropriate connector to use in each application, taking into account the cooling fluid, flow rate required and physical size constraints. The use of a quick release connector permits disconnection of the cooling circuit without the need to drain the system, a major advantage."

The SPT 12 is a compact, lightweight, 12mm nominal diameter, coupling manufactured from high strength aluminium. The valve design provides optimal flow within a minimum outside diameter and being flush-faced, no leakage occurs on disconnection. The coupling can be supplied with a number of thread forms and seals. Converteam use this connector on demineralised water cooling circuits in inverters.

For ethylene glycol cooling circuits on rectifiers, Staubli's RMI 16 connector is used. RMI couplings are suitable for many applications where quick and easy connection of fluid lines is required. The couplings can be specified with either single or double shut-off valves, providing an optimum flow with a minimum pressure drop. When required the plugs can be recessed for easy handling and storage, eliminating any risk of damage. The standard brass fitting is specially nickel-plated for Converteam to reduce any galvanic effects of dissimilar metals in the system. All cooling circuits are tested in situ, to a pressure of 6bar, twice the operating pressure, no failures of Stäubli connectors have resulted.

Staubli has experience of providing connection solutions for electronic system cooling applications right across the industrial sector from railways, aeronautics and defence systems to telecommunications, electrical transformers and nuclear reactors. The company's technical support team is available to develop the optimum connection solution for any medium in any application. And like all Staubli couplings, both SPT and RMI product ranges are available on rapid ex-stock delivery to all parts of the UK.

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