South Africa’s largest manufacturer of printed circuits has beaten frequent power outages and cut its energy costs by deploying Australian-designed Redflow zinc-bromine flow batteries.
Unreliable mains power supplies meant Johannesburg-based Bosco Printed Circuits often had its production line stopped in mid-shift by power cuts, which could occur as often as twice a week. These stoppages each cost as much as 10,000 rand (A$1000) in wasted materials as well as disrupting Bosco’s tight delivery schedule to its many customers in the mining, security and industrial electronics sectors.
Bosco solved these power cut problems by installing 14 ZBM2 zinc-bromine flow batteries, from Brisbane-based Redflow Limited, which now keep its production line running through power cuts.
Bosco Printed Circuits Director Mr Philip Verheul said the Redflow batteries had eliminated production losses. “In our process, we have electroplating lines in which we plate copper in holes, so if there’s a power failure during the process. everything in the line is basically scrapped,” he said.
“It could cost as much as 10,000 rand per power failure. What was more of an issue was that we lost our delivery time, which created inconvenience and concern for our customers, who depend on us.”
Redflow reports this successful South African deployment of its ZBM2 batteries just one week after announcing its second US$600,000 sale of ZBM2 batteries to New Zealand-based Hitech Solutions.
Bosco Printed Circuits demonstrates the commercial benefits of Redflow’s zinc-bromine flow batteries which are also used in telecommunications deployments and on-grid and off-grid residential sites.
Redflow partner Specialized Solar Systems deployed the energy storage system for Bosco Printed Circuits in 2016. The system, which comprises 14 ZBM2s and six Victron Quattro 48/10000 battery inverters, stores grid power from off-peak periods as well as energy generated by 51 kilowatts peak (kWp) of dedicated solar panels on the factory roof.
As well as enabling the production line to continue working if mains power drops out, the ZBM2 energy storage system is configured to supply electricity to Bosco’s front office, so power cuts do not disrupt the company’s commercial and head office activities.
The Redflow-based energy storage system has also paid for itself by allowing Bosco to avoid buying mains-supplied electricity during peak demand periods. During these morning and evening peaks, electricity charges can increase by 300 to 400 per cent.
Bosco avoids these punitive costs by charging its Redflow batteries from solar panels during the day and with low-cost power available from midnight to 6am.
The company then runs its critical electroplating production lines primarily on battery power from 7-10am and from 6-8pm, saving more than 55,000 rand a year in electricity charges. “We are seeing savings because we use the batteries to supply power during the most expensive times of the day,” said Mr Verheul.
Mr Verheul said Bosco had selected Redflow’s ZBM2 batteries because of their unique benefits. “When we looked at lead-acid and other batteries, their lifetimes were limited,” he said. “We decided to spend a bit more money to go the Redflow route. Its ZBM2 batteries are long-lasting, with a 10-year or 36,500kWh warranty, they work well even in hot weather, and they are easily recyclable.
“We are very happy with these batteries, which keep getting better over time. I have to commend both Redflow and Specialized Solar Systems who have been fantastic.”
Redflow CEO Simon Hackett said the Bosco deployment demonstrated the commercial benefits provided by his company’s zinc-bromine flow batteries. “These demanding mission-critical environments are where our batteries stand out,” he said.