Temporary event power goes modular

According to a recent survey by Eventbrite the sector is worth more than £39bn, with much of this a result of growing demand in the events, industrial construction and infrastructure sectors. However, higher power requirements and setups that are more complex are pushing the limits of existing equipment. To keep one step ahead of this trend, the UK’s leading national specialist equipment and crane hire firm, Hewden turned to power distribution specialist ide Systems to develop its latest range of distribution units for temporary electrical installations.

Anyone that has been to a music festival, major industrial facility or construction site will appreciate the challenges of hosting large-scale temporary hires. 

Each sector, site or customer represents its own unique challenges, from understanding the initial opportunity, identifying the technical application and appropriate equipment required to successful delivery.

Established in 1961 and headquartered in Manchester, England, Hewden specialises in the rental of equipment used for plant, access, power generation, lighting, lifting and other applications, in sectors ranging from construction and industrial, to infrastructure and events. In recent years, the company has identified the challenge of developing products for the rental market that meet the demands of increasingly varied applications.

‘It’s no longer enough to supply off-the-shelf rental equipment,’ explained Kevin Warne, UK operations manager for power at Hewden. ‘Today’s contracting businesses are looking for bespoke, integrated solutions. That means that, as well as renting the power generator, customers also want to rent all the ancillary equipment such as distribution boards, lifting devices, and even cables.’

Hewden identified early on that one of the products where requirements can differ substantially between rental customers is the power distribution unit. Being able to distribute the power generated by a typical 400A generator safely and effectively, to everything from portacabins on a construction site that contain appliances, computers and HVAC systems, to catering setups at a music festival, is critical.

To solve this challenge, Hewden turned to electrical distribution specialist, ide Systems. Based in Cannock, Staffordshire, the company specialises in the rental and bespoke engineering of products including distribution boards, changeover systems, inline protection, and cabling among others, for sectors such as events, construction, commercial, healthcare, and military.

‘The brief we were given by Hewden was certainly a challenge, but one that we are increasingly seeing a trend for in the industry,’ explained Andrew Whyatt, chief electrical engineer at ide Systems. ‘We were tasked with developing a 400A, three-phase, mains distribution unit for use across a variety of temporary electrical installations such as construction, exhibitions, music festivals and trade shows.’

The finished MD400 HSL product is a 400A three-phase distribution unit, housed in a robust steel enclosure fabricated from 1.4003 grade stainless steel, with a powder coated finish made recognisable by Hewden’s corporate standard yellow. The unit is fitted with aluminium gland plates and constructed with an IP55 ingress protection rating. The whole unit is mounted within a galvanised crash frame and comes complete with forklift pockets and lifting points. 

Inside the unit, the incoming end section, which incorporates a door-interlocked moulded case circuit breaker (MCCB), feeds the fully rated copper busbar system, which then leads to four outgoing supply compartments. These four compartments have one 200A and three 125A rated supplies. Each supply compartment consists of four-pole MCCBs complete with adjustable and switchable earth leakage relays.

In the second stage of power reduction, the four supply compartments feed a further four interchangeable final distribution units. It is here that different customers can swap out interchangeable units based on their requirements. For its own needs, Hewden specified one empty unit, which it uses as a spreading chamber for hardwiring outgoing cable at 1x200A, as well as a dual 63A outlet and a quad 32A unit.

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