WEG, a leading global manufacturer of motors and drive technology, is delivering more than 350 of its class-leading three-phase induction and electric motors to WestConnex, the largest ever transport infrastructure project in Australia and currently one of the world’s greatest engineering projects. The motors, which will be used for smoke extraction within two link tunnels, are designed to withstand a temperature 250ºC for 2 hours in an emergency situation.
WestConnex is a 33km motorway currently under construction which has been described as the “missing link” in Sydney’s motorway network. Comprising free-flowing motorways and underground tunnels, the project will provide crucial support for Sydney’s long-term economic growth and benefit thousands of people and businesses daily. WestConnex will eventually connect up two of Sydney’s main motorways — the M4 in western Sydney and M5 to the city‘s southwest. Built at a cost of $16.8 billion (AUD), the full route is expected to open in 2023.
WEG has an enviable reputation in the fan and exhaust industry. The full commitment of the Group’s subsidiary in Germany and its manufacturing facilities in Portugal were key factors in its selection by Witt & Sohn for the supply of cost-effecitve motor solutions in line with project requirements.
Witt & Sohn equipment supplied to WestConnex includes extremely large axial fans for ventilation control centres, as well as jet fans for thrust generation. The fans are used to provide general ventilation and extraction in tunnel stations, and along the entire length of the tunnels. Witt & Sohn fans also provide for emergencies, being designed to operate at 250ºC for 2 hours.
WEG‘s smoke extraction motors perform a dual function. In normal daily operation they deliver the highest levels of energy efficiency when driving the Witt & Sohn ventilation fans. However, the second – and most important – function is to help safeguard people in the event of an emergency.
Three different types of WEG motor are deployed on the project: HGF, W50 and W22. WEG HGF three-phase induction motors are differentiated by their high performance in combination with low maintenance costs, making them ideal for operation in applications that require increased strength and durability. The WEG W50 and W22 three-phase electric motors are again designed for performance and reliability in heavy-duty applications; attributes matched with class-leading energy efficiency. Across all three motor types supplied for WestConnex, rated outputs range from 45 to 850kW, with 6, 8 or 10 poles, while frame sizes extend from 225 up to 500.
All WEG motors used on the project are certified according to EN 12101-3 (Smoke and Heat Control Systems – Part 3: Specification for powered smoke and heat exhaust ventilators), and designed for high-thrust application with extended bearing lifetime. Special cables are supplied for inverter duty operation according to local regulations. The project also witnessed the sucessful high-temperature testing (250ºC for 2 hours) of an axial fan featuring a WEG 850kW, 748rpm, 690V motor, without external cooling: in summary, one of the most complex fans ever manufactured and tested.