While most Australians regard the availability of electrical power as a simple commodity; this is not the reality for much of rural Australia. About 90% of the population has access to a reliable network of three phase power, but beyond the cities there are serious power distribution issues for farmers and industry to contend with.
Due to vast distances and low population density in most parts of Australia, a nationwide three phase distribution network is just not affordable, and in remote locations the cost of upgrading the existing three phase network, if carried by the consumer makes this exercise prohibitive. Therefore it makes sense to tackle the issue using infrastructure which is already in place.
Much of the country is supported by the SWER system, which is favoured due to lower initial costs, lower ongoing maintenance cost and more affordable costs involved with extending the network.
What is SWER?
SWER is a single wire transmission line which supplies single-phase electric power from an electrical grid, with all equipment grounded to earth and with the earth used as the return path for the load currents. SWER lines have been chosen for rural areas where the loads are small and spread over a wide area, mainly due to the high cost of conventional return current wiring for these areas. Power is supplied to the SWER line by means of an isolating transformer of up to 300kVA.
The Single Wire Earth Return network delivers 240 volt single phase, or ‘Two-phase’ 480 volt power. The 480V is actually two regular 240V circuits coupled together and supplies power at lower amperage in order to feed more powerful electrical equipment. SWER has proven to be a viable choice as a distribution system when conventional return current wiring would cost more than SWER’s isolation transformers.
All Australian states use this type of technology to a small or large degree, and there is about 200,000 km of these SWER lines servicing more than 26,000 customers in Australia. An individual customer’s maximum demand will typically be less than 3.5 kVA, but larger loads up to the capacity of the distribution transformer can also be supplied. Rural consumers utilising SWER benefit by a 70% saving, compared to three phase power when extending the power network to their property.
Here's the good news!
The McMillan OP-Series air compressors are the biggest in their class for standard 240 volt and can also be wired for the 480 volt SWER systems as utilised in remote and rural areas of the country.
C22 has become a popular model at the top end of our C-Series range of single phase compressors, and we have recently added the AF22 to answer the need for High Pressure.
Both utilise the full blooded 4.0HP, TECO motor, and performance is on par with it’s 5.5HP, 415V equivalent, the C50 in the three phase range. Latest models in the OP-Series are fitted with electromagnetic starters to cope with high start-up amperage and overload protection for added reliability.
These quality compressors are ideal for workshop and small industrial applications that require a reliable source of high airflow, when there is no three phase available.