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Switch panel on a trailer

Mobile back-up for 1kV installations

In the more than 25 years that Infrabel has been our customer, we have successfully carried out a large number of projects for them. But when they asked us to install a switchboard on a trailer, we had to scratch a heads a bit. “We had never even tried this before,” says Project Manager Patrick Schurmans.

“When a company works on its infrastructure, production comes to a halt. They have to schedule a shutdown of several days or weeks,” explains Patrick. “But Infrabel, of course, cannot afford to shut down train traffic on a particular route. The trains have to keep running. So they need a back-up solution during major renovations or upgrades.”

“That was part one of the project: to create a back-up for our 1kV units. Infrabel has a huge number of long lines and always works with 1kV. The cables enter the panels with 1000V. This is the basis of their system, which needed to be transformed to 400V.”

“As far as I know, this is unique in Belgium. You don’t see this anywhere else. Which, of course, makes this anything but standard work. It is very specific, especially in terms of materials. But since we’ve been working together with them for so long, we were ready for the challenge. We are familiar with their entire set-up. So it didn’t take long to figure out how to approach this challenge.”

“The second part of the project was an even greater challenge. Infrabel wanted a mobile set-up that could be used anywhere,” explains Patrick. “Our first thought was to use a container – not a simple solution, but one we had experience with. You then load the container onto a truck and place the mobile set-up at the desired location. This is a common solution when, for example, there is no room to place the unit in.”

“But due to the limited dimensions of the unit, our thoughts soon turned to a trailer. This is a lot more mobile than a container, a tremendous advantage is this case. Only, we had never made anything like this before. And Infrabel had absolutely no experience with this.”

“So the ball was in P&V’s court. It was up to us to develop the right solution for our customer. But where to start? After all, we’re talking about more than just your everyday trailer, the kind you use to transport sand and stones. And since we didn’t personally have that kind of knowhow, we looked for a partner who did, a company that, like us, is a specialist in a specific niche.”

“This eventually led us to a specialised trailer manufacturer. Their showpiece: trailers for mobile screens. By this we mean the mega set-ups you see at festivals. To give you a good idea about the size, their largest trailer is 34 metres long and transports a screen that is 110 square metres.”

“Together we developed the perfect total solution. They assumed responsibility for the mobile unit and we took care of the panel and integration into the trailer. The end result is now riding along the railway tracks somewhere…”