Areva is a world leader in the businesses of both energy and connectors, with sales of 8,3 billion euros in 2003 and 70 000 employees in more than 100 countries. Areva focuses on technological solutions for nuclear power generation and electricity transmission and distribution. The group also provides interconnect systems to the telecommunications, computer and automotive markets.
According to Christian Lindner, Areva’s Vice President for R&D for High-Voltage Switchgear, using IEC/TS 61639 – Direct connection between power transformers and gas-insulated metal-enclosed switchgear for rated voltages of 72,5 kV and above – allows the company to reduce greatly the time needed to set up the interface among the partners of a project: final user; contractor; transformer manufacturer; and bushings manufacturer.
Areva says the gains brought by having a standard for direct connection between transformer and gas-insulated metal-enclosed switchgear (GIS) have to do with both time and cost. There is a significant gain in time on the realization of the interface, which is often between three and six weeks out of five to 15 months and is on the critical path of such projects. Where guidelines exist in a technical report there is less need for discussions and meetings.
The savings in cost can run into the double digits, even as high as 25%, compared to a non-standardized solution. Specifically, this concerns reduction in development costs as IEC/TS 61639 helps Areva to eliminate special parts such as enclosures and supports. It also impacts product costs: the company says quantities are increased once they are standardized, and there are gains in manufacturing cost as the production process is repeatable.
“Cases such as this,” says Lindner, “where components from different sources and manufacturers must be combined to achieve the final product, are typically where greatest benefit can be obtained by standardization.”