While 3M is well known within the low and medium voltage markets, it is gaining an increasing reputation for its high voltage solutions too. The company reports that it is experiencing increasing demand around the world, including North and Latin America, plus mainland Europe and, closer to home, the UK too.
There are a number of factors driving the growth of high voltage power installations. There is the overall growing demand for more electrical power, as well as the growth of alternative energy. For example, wind farms means more substations need to be built and be able to carry power from remote locations to the main network. But the need for high voltage has always been there: just one look inside any substation will show the presence of multiple high voltage terminations.
Another big trend in the market is customers buying their cables and accessories from different suppliers, rather than just taking a turnkey bundle from one company. This makes it possible for customers to have more flexibility and seek out more competitively priced solutions. 3M comments that this has been good news for Cold Shrink, because the range is designed to work with a wide variety of cable diameters and types. Other manufacturers only offer cable joints and terminations that can only work with a specific cable, limiting customer choice.
According to Allan Russell is 3M Market Development Manager for EMEA, 3M is seeing a lot of interest in its overhead power solutions too. Alan explains that 3M’s ACCR product is an award-winning lightweight, low-sag, ‘drop-in’ conductor that can be used as a replacement for existing electrical conductors and can as much as double the transmission capacity of the line. It’s ideal for upgrading the ampacity of power networks, but with minimal impact on the existing infrastructure. 3M reports that it is installing ACCR in countries worldwide and, again, the UK is one of the key regions.
Looking to the future of cabling and jointing techniques in this challenging HV market, it’s all about more power. The demand for more electrical power – both increasing the capacity in existing networks, as well as creating new networks – will be the main driver in the power utilities market. Looking to the future of cabling and jointing techniques in this challenging HV market, it’s all about more power. The demand for more electrical power – both increasing the capacity in existing networks, as well as creating new networks – will be the main driver in the power utilities market. That there are other factors that have always mattered to the industry – cost, health and safety, the environment, speed of project completion – and these are not going to change. The good news for 3M partners and customers is that its products and support network are well positioned to serve this unique market as demand dictates.