Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management and automation, is empowering the continent through supporting and addressing the transfer of skills and technology in the power and energy industry. As part of the initiative, Schneider Electric has signed an agreement with Gaborone-based SDM Electrical Switchboards Botswana (SDM), which will allow it to import incomplete Schneider Electric medium voltage (MV) switchgears and customise them in Botswana to meet local customers’ specific requirements.

Currently the agreement covers two solutions namely PREMSET and PIX RoF and more is yet to come. PREMSET is the future of secondary distribution switchgear. It embraces the functionality for smart grids needs and is a new generation of Schneider Electric’s MV switchgear featuring the Shielded Solid Insulation System (2SIS). The PIX Roll on Floor (RoF) Air Insulated Switchgear adapts to all electrical power distribution requirements up to 17.5kV, with floor rolling vacuum circuit breakers.

“As part of the execution of the agreement, Schneider Electric will carry out technology transfer through on-site training for local engineers, to enable them to customise the switchgear. The skills would include engineering and design, as per customer specifications. Apart from the engineering teams being trained on the customisation of the switchgear, field engineering teams would be trained to deal with installation, commissioning, troubleshooting and all after sales support,” explains Taru Madangombe, Vice President of Energy in Southern Africa for Schneider Electric.

“Schneider Electric has been working with our company for the over seven years and this agreement will create more local employment opportunities in Botswana,” explains Stephen Bond, managing director of SDM. “We currently employ 60 staff members, with the capacity to manufacture over 100 switchboards panels per annum. We hope to see this grow substantially.”

SDM manufactures electrical distribution boards, which are used on electrification systems. Its business has expanded to electrical switchgear installation maintenance and servicing. Via Botswana-based companies, SDM has supplied distribution boards into Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola and Zambia.

“This agreement will enable SDM to customise Schneider Electric solutions specifically for the Botswana market. Its main customers are all power electrical users, which includes electrical switchboards for Botswana Power Corporation and Water Utilities Corporation. We see this as expanding SDM’s current business to many of the electrical contractors supplying both the private and government sectors,” concludes Madangombe.

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