South African manufacturer Pratley aims to launch at least three unique electrical termination products in 2021 aimed specifically at the offshore, oil and gas, industrial and shipping industries, all of which present particularly arduous and hazardous operating environments. “It is a really exciting time for us,” comments Sven Breedt, who heads up the electrical R&D division.
“The offshore market represents some of the most challenging conditions you can encounter, with extreme cold and air saturated with corrosive salt. Currently, most equipment used in this sector is manufactured from specialised materials. We think we have some improved solutions for these problems that will result in some unique products,” elaborates Breedt.
At the beginning of the year, Pratley launched its world-first Ex d/e corrosion-resistant Enviro compression cable gland. “We have had a lot of international enquiries and are currently certifying this product for use in the US and the European Union. Indeed, the feedback we have received has resulted in the latest developments we are bringing to the market to supplement our range.”
While cable glands are relatively low-cost items compared to some other electrical equipment, they are safety-critical elements in any electrical reticulation setup. “We push the boundaries in what we can achieve in terms of design engineering and safety, from the materials themselves to an array of cost-effective measures incorporated into our products,” points out Breedt.
Pratley operates two test and research laboratories at its Krugersdorp manufacturing facility, which places it in the top league of electrical-equipment manufacturers globally. The fully-equipped laboratories are staffed by world-class scientists and technicians such as Breedt, who is regarded as a global expert in the science and standards of electrical equipment for hazardous areas.
The electrical testing laboratory has the distinction of having more state-of-the-art equipment than the SABS itself, even to the extent that other accredited laboratories approach the company to make use of its advanced equipment. Here, Breedt oversees product development and research, including the complete product lifecycle, with his department designing all the necessary tooling and machinery for production.