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Wilec achieves breakthrough with newly-launched Envirotemp ester dielectric oil for transformers

Wilec, the ACTOM group’s division specialising in the supply of input materials for transformer and electric motor manufacturers and repairers, has made rapid progress in winning acceptance in the market place for its recently launched environmentally-friendly, non-mineral oil for transformers.

The company, which introduced Envirotemp biodegradable ester dielectric oil into the local market earlier this year after securing  distributorship rights for it in Southern Africa from Cargill, the international US-based producer and supplier of food, agricultural and industrial products, won a R 1.5-million order for supply of Envirotemp natural oil, FR3, for use in a total of 70 new distribution transformers being supplied for  installation in a number of Anglo Platinum’s mines near Rustenburg in North-West Province.

“Anglo Platinum, in conjunction with DRA Mineral Projects, their consulting engineers, have been looking at switching from mineral oil to ester dielectric oil for use in their transformers for some time. The entry of Envirotemp in the local market has provided them with the opportunity to do so,” explained Louis Blom, Wilec’s Sales & Marketing Executive.

“The mines will likely begin ordering more Envirotemp oil in the near future for retrofitting of many of their existing operating transformers,” he added.

Wilec supplies both Envirotemp FR3 natural oil and a synthetic version known as Envirotemp 200.

Envirotemp, which is used worldwide by transformer manufacturers and repairers, power utilities and a diverse range of industrial users, is the first globally-proven ester dielectric oil to be made available in the Southern Africa. 

Ester or vegetable oil, in addition to being environmentally-friendly, has great advantages over mineral oil, the most important being:

  • It is highly fire-resistant, with a flash point of more than twice that of mineral oil.
  • It has excellent dielectric characteristics that include greater efficiency resulting from a higher loading capacity than the equivalent mineral oil filled transformer. 
  • The higher temperature tolerance of ester oil also extends transformer life due to the superior insulation thereby achieved.
  • It enables the design of smaller transformers, with consequent cost-saving advantages through less construction materials and fluid being required.

Blom said that, in addition, Envirotemp has very high water solubility compared with mineral oil, while the cellulose-based solid insulation with which it is used is highly hydroscopic. “A related advantage is that the oil draws the moisture out and absorbs it. These factors all combine to keep the insulation material dry and extend its lifespan,” he commented.

“The marginally higher price of Envirotemp compared with mineral oil is more than compensated for by its cost-saving advantages, particularly in terms of its contribution towards reducing transformers’ lifetime costs,” he concluded.

ACTOM (Pty) Ltd is the largest manufacturer, solution provider, repairer and distributor of electro-mechanical equipment in Africa, offering a winning and balanced combination of manufacturing, service, repairs, projects and distribution through its 41 distribution outlets throughout Southern Africa.


ACTOM is also a major local supplier of electrical equipment, services and balance of plant to the renewable energy projects.


It also holds numerous technology, distribution and value added reseller agreements with various partners, both locally and internationally.