An R&D lab of the company

An R&D lab of the company

NGK has buyers in the Gulf

World-class products from the Japanese firm are enriching both the traditional electricity and renewables industries

01 December 2014

Japan-based NGK Insulators has succeeded in tapping the markets of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman for sales of insulators and equipment for power transmission, substations and power distribution.

Yuya Okano, an official of the overseas department of NGK’s power business, said the company had also sold NAS Batteries to the UAE though not to the other Gulf states.

“More than 50 per cent of insulator products we sold in the GCC region went to Saudi Arabia. We also see good potential in Kuwait, Oman and the UAE,” he said. “The sale was meant for end users including Saudi Electric Company, the National Grid of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait’s Ministry of Electricity and Water and Qatar’s Kahramaa,” he said.

“We have agents in all Gulf countries except Bahrain.” Okano made the remarks at the Gulf Electricity exhibition in Manama.

UHV gas bushings made by NGK Insulators (left) and contamination test of a UHV bushing shell

UHV gas bushings made by NGK Insulators (left) and contamination test of a UHV bushing shell

Since the company’s inception in 1919 NGK has consistently developed its own unique technologies and created products with the durability and quality to perform without fail even in harsh environments that suffer from earthquakes, typhoons and heavy snowfall.

Among the world-beating products it has developed and made are the world’s strongest insulators for UHV (1 million volts) power transmission and bushings using the world’s largest hollow insulators.

The company has an extensive line-up of multi-functional insulators that are resistant to dirt and lightning damage and have compactness without compromise o strength or isolation capacity

“Thus our suspension insulators for UHV power transmission are only 40 cm in diameter but can withstand a load of 77 tonnes,” the company says.

NGK hollow insulators, support insulators, bushings, isolators and other transformer devices are used to isolate power lines from equipment and the transformer building.

The company has made UHV gas bushings some 11.5 m long – the largest porcelain products in the world.

It also manufactures devices to prevent outages when something happens to transmission lines. The range includes arresters, which have built-in functional ceramic (zinc oxide elements) and make a huge contribution to blackout prevention by selectively discharging the large fluxes in current caused by lightning strikes.

Equipment for power distribution that NGK makes includes switches, cutouts, lightning resistant equipment and voltage regulators.

The company is equipped with the High Voltage Laboratory, the world’s largest insulator testing facility. It evaluates and tests insulator devices at actual scale and is “responsible for innumerable achievements in the research and development of insulators for substation, power transmission and other power supply devices and the contribution to the energy industry is invaluable,” the company states.

Good scope for batteries

NGK Insulators has its products in use in at least 110 countries

NGK Insulators has its products in use in at least 110 countries

Okano said he expected sales of NAS batteries to increase in the future in states beyond the UAE. “We know that Gulf countries are interested in renewable energy. NAS batteries can store electricity from wind and the sun,” he said.

“Wind and solar power cannot be stable over the year but if they use our NAS batteries, for example in solar power, they can have electricity even on a rainy day.”    

Using original and highly advanced ceramic technologies, NGK were the first in the world to commercialise a NAS battery system that had the capacity to handle megawatts of electricity.

The system boasts an array of superior features including large-capacity high-energy density and long life. It is capable of maintaining a high output of electric power for long periods of time despite being only one third the size of conventional lead batteries. NAS batteries are the ideal system for reducing peak electricity use, charging at night when demand is low and providing power during peak times in the day.

Moreover, the NAS battery system can be used as an emergency power supply during power outages and a momentary drop in voltage.

NAS batteries can temporarily store and release energy from weather-sensitive power sources such as wind and solar power generators, helping to stabilise the supply. “They are attracting interest globally as useful storage equipment for the further spread of renewable energy and the establishment of next-generation smart grid transmission networks,” said Okano.

NAS batteries have sodium negative electrodes and sulphur-positive electrodes separated by a fine ceramic electrolyte. They are used in more than 190 locations worldwide.

Other segments

As well as the Power business, NGK has the Ceramic Products business and the Electronics business along with a Research and Development division.

NGK’s NAS battery systems are helping in the spread of renewable energy

NGK’s NAS battery systems are helping in the spread of renewable energy

In the Ceramics Products business, the company offers a line-up of ceramic products led by automotive exhaust gas purifiers. Included are substrates for automobile catalytic converts Honeyceram, diesel particulate filters, NoX sensors and industrial processing products.

The Electronics business offers the latest in fine ceramics technologies to help drive the technical innovations that makes electronics smaller and lighter yet more advanced. Included are ceramics for semiconductor manufacturing equipment and ceramics for electric and electronic machinery.

Its R&D division, the company says, looks beyond the horizon of what is currently considered possible in the triple E areas of ecology, energy and electronics. Its work focuses on subnamo-ceramic membranes, solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) modules, water products for electronic devices and chip-type ceramic secondary batteries.

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