A global leader within the Energy sector selected Allenwest Ltd, part of the iDESo Group of companies to design and manufacture a specialist Switchgear solution to work 1200m underground to power 4x large dewatering pumps in a mineshaft located within the UK. The environmental and geological considerations as well as the local climatic variations presented a number of unique challenges for this project.

Allenwest Solution

Allenwest designed and built 4 x Power Distribution Centres (PDC) for use in supplying and controlling power to dewatering pumps in a mineshaft. The PDC was split into 3 sections:

  • 1 x High Voltage Incomer comprised of; 1 x IP55 rated Stainless Steel enclosure, 1 x Circuit Breaker, 2 x Isolator Switches (1 x Incoming and 1 Throughgoing which allows units to be linked on continuous supply from the surface, and operated in isolation if required for maintenance) and 1 x Control Chassis c/w Allenwest Protection Relay & Vacuum Contactor
  • 1 x Transformer section comprised of; 1 x IP55 rated Stainless Steel enclosure, 1 x 250kVA, 3.3kV/415V Transformer
  • 3 x Low Voltage sections comprised of; 3 x IP55 rated Stainless Steel enclosures 1 x RIO Panel c/w Distribution Board and PLC Control, 2 x 90kW Variable Speed Drive Panels c/w Soft-Start cubicles, 1 x Chiller Unit installed atop the VSD Panels for cooling during operation.

The PDC’s are installed at 4 points throughout the shaft with the deepest being 1200m underground, the ambient temperature differs throughout the shaft, with the highest temperatures expected to reach 50°C with intense humidity and moisture. Allenwest utilizing over 100 year’s experience in building switchgear to ATEX explosion proof industries designed the equipment to meet the rigorous requirements and the switchgear was housed in highly durable stainless steel to withstand any potential impact and corrosion resistance. Due to the safety critical nature of the application, Allenwest incorporated the latest in its advanced telemetry systems to monitor and react to both Arc Flash and Fire Detection and Suppression. The PDC’s were each fitted with Fire Suppression systems with mounted gas-canisters integrated throughout. The latest in Arc Flash Detection sensors were also installed strategically in each Switchgear compartment utilizing a sophisticated microprocessor-based arc flash protection unit interlinked into the RIO panel to allow remote tripping of the system in under 1ms in the event of an Arc Flash.

Customised Design

The specialist nature of this project amidst the challenging environmental conditions required a bespoke solution which will ensure optimum performance of the equipment, safety and customer value are all guaranteed. Allenwest were appointed principal designer for this project, working closely with the client to fully interpret the application requirement and challenges that had to be overcome. Allenwest design solutions from within a centralised iDESo engineering team, which brings together highly skilled experts in the design of specialist switchgear and integrated technology solutions across all applications and industries. The full system electrical drawings, schematics and wiring diagrams were all produced in-house to the latest IEC regulations and standards.


For most dewatering applications, electric pumps are preferred over diesel, especially in fixed positions as they’re simpler to operate and cost effective. Allenwest worked with the client to advise on the best solution, utilising the latest in VSD technology to run the dewatering pumps and meet the flow requirements, this will also reap dramatic power savings and save on wear.

For sites with high electricity costs or limited capacity, Allenwest engineering specialists can help you find the most efficient method of power distribution that will help drive down total cost of ownership.


Allenwest founded in 1918 is an industry leading design and manufacturer of Industrial Switchgear, ATEX/Ex flameproof Switchgear, transformers and control-panels for over 100 years to industries in the UK and Internationally. The Allenwest AUK product range includes: power distribution centres (PDC), load centres, bespoke gate end boxes, MCCs, LV & MV Distribution boards, transformers, IS signalling, communication systems, gas sensors, and lighting solutions.

The Allenwest AUK electrical distribution ranges are proven technology for; hard-rock, metallurgical and thermal coal, potash, mineral salts and aggregate mining, materials handling and processing industries where consistent, safe and reliable operations are mandatory.
Allenwest also offer a complete range of site services: Installation & Commissioning, HV Authorised AP & SAP engineers, Training, Technical Support 24/7-365, Spare parts packages & consignment stock available, Annual maintenance & SLA agreements tailored to suit individual applications.

Allenwest is synonymous with engineering talent that seeks solutions to today’s challenges that will ensure sustainability of the future.


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The Allenwest Team has experience across all our sectors and many electrical installations. Get in touch with one of the team to see how Allenwest can assist you with your project requirements.