Eaton Wins Contract to Support Panama Canal Expansion Program

Eaton Wins Contract to Support Panama Canal Expansion Program

Diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation has been awarded a three-year, $27 million contract to provide the equipment design, electrical assemblies and engineering services for the distribution and control of electrical power across the Atlantic and Pacific sites of the expanded Panama Canal. The work will be conducted in conjunction with Grupo Unidos por el Canal, SA (GUPC), the main contractor responsible for the Panama Canal Expansion Program, which is scheduled for completion in 2014, the year of the 100th anniversary of the Canal’s opening.

The expansion will create a new lane of ship traffic through the Canal by constructing a new set of locks and will double the capacity of the Canal, allowing more and larger ships to navigate through it.

By enhancing the Canal’s efficiency and safety, the expansion project is aimed at ensuring the economic competitiveness of the Panama Canal as it enters its second century of operation. The project will enable the Canal to better accommodate vessel sizes for the routes it serves and to handle more tonnage. The expanded locks will provide for increased all-water routes, reducing emissions from transportation by land and water.

The project will also help to protect and conserve the water resources of the Panama Canal watershed. A new water-saving basin system will improve water efficiency, utilizing 7 percent less water than the existing locks. In addition, 60 percent of the water will be recycled in each transit.

 “The Panama Canal has always been a shining symbol of human ingenuity and global commerce, and Eaton is honored to be selected to help enhance its efficiency and viability for the future,” said Rich Stinson, president, Power Distribution Operations, Eaton Corporation. “With our industry-leading electrical power management solutions and products, Eaton is well positioned to help ensure that the Canal plays a key role in global commerce for years to come.”

Eaton has a decades-long history as a provider of power distribution products and solutions to the Panama Canal. The latest contract, aimed at enhancing the reliability and electrical safety for the facility’s massive electrical distribution system, is the culmination of three years of planning, technical reviews and collaboration.

Eaton Corporation will provide an array of power management solutions and products, including Arc Resistant Medium Voltage Switchgear, Pad Mounted Transformers, FlashGard® Motor Control Centers, Clean Power Variable Frequency Drives and on-site equipment start-up supervision, commissioning, testing and training services.

Details of the expansion project that the GUPC is designing and constructing include the following integrated components:

– Construction of the third set of locks, which includes one lock complex on the Atlantic side and another lock complex on the Pacific side, each with three chambers and water-saving basins;

– Excavation of a new Pacific access channel to link the new locks with the existing navigational channels;

– Deepening and widening of the Canal’s Atlantic and Pacific entrances and of the Gatun Lake and Culebra Cut navigation channels; and,

– Elevation of Gatun Lake’s maximum operating level.

Eaton’s contract was awarded by the GUPC, the contractor responsible for the design and construction of the third set of locks of the Canal expansion program under contract to the Panama Canal Authority. GUPC is a consortium led by Spain’s Sacyr Vallehermoso, Italy’s Impregilo, the Belgian Jan de Nul Group, and Panama’s Constructora Urbana SA.

Eaton’s electrical business is a global leader in power distribution, power quality, control and automation, and monitoring products and services. Eaton’s global electrical product series, including Cutler-Hammer®, Moeller®, Powerware®, Holec®, MEM®, and Santak® provide customer-driven solutions to serve the power system needs of the data center, industrial, institutional, public sector, utility, commercial, residential, IT, mission critical, alternative energy and OEM markets worldwide.

Eaton Corporation is a diversified power management company with 2010 sales of $13.7 billion. Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2011, Eaton is a global technology leader in electrical components and systems for power quality, distribution and control; hydraulics components, systems and services for industrial and mobile equipment; aerospace fuel, hydraulics and pneumatic systems for commercial and military use; and truck and automotive drivetrain and powertrain systems for performance, fuel economy and safety. Eaton has approximately 73,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 150 countries.

Dredging Today Staff, December 16, 2011; Image: eaton