Enercon Uses SEMCO Acoustic Panels to Facilitate Power Generator Relief to Japan after Tsunami

  • Thursday, September 1, 2011

    When the Japanese tsunami hit in March 2011 no amount of relief assistance could arrive too soon. But despite the devastation, the affected areas of Japan were not powerless—at least not for long. This is in part thanks to the extraordinary coordination of Enercon Engineering, headquartered in East Peoria, Illinois, and the design and production assistance they received from SEMCO.

    In the weeks following the tsunami, Japan sourced power generation modules from all over the world, including 80 units from Enercon.  It was the largest number of units supplied to Japan from a single manufacturer during the relief effort. In less than seven weeks, Enercon outfitted 80 Container Safety Convention (CSC) containers with SEMCO acoustic panels and 1500 kW generators for shipment to Japan. The turnaround time was nothing short of amazing, allowing Enercon to beat out suppliers from other countries – including China.

    Engineered for Power Generation

    CSC containers, recycled from import duty on large cargo ships, are a plentiful resource in the U.S., a result of the disproportionately high number of imports to the U.S. versus exports. The containers are used for any number of purposes and are frequently used to package remote power generators.

    Outfitting these containers for power generation involves careful design and acoustic engineering.  Given the time constraints, it was not feasible or even financially viable for Enercon to completely outfit the containers for this type of service. Instead, the company turned to SEMCO to provide custom made pre-insulated panels that install inside the individual containers, providing an acoustically protected enclosure for the generators.

    Using drawings provided by Enercon, SEMCO designed and fabricated modular tongue & groove panels to line the modified container and accommodate every air intake and access point. Consisting of dual wall construction, SEMCO’s panels provided the STC rating required.

    Putting It All Together
    Manually outfitting each container to the necessary specifications  would have been difficult, expensive and time consuming for Enercon.

    “With SEMCO, we got a totally pre-fabricated kit. We just snapped it all together and everything works as one, fully engineered package. It saved us a lot of time and labor, and it was less expensive than doing it all on our own,” said Enercon’s Manufacturing Manager.

    Enercon even managed to keep shipping costs of the containers down.

    CSC containers are originally built and certified to bear the wait of stacking which helps keep shipping cost down. However, once modified, the containers have to be recertified for stacking, otherwise additional shipping costs will apply.  The SEMCO panels helped maintain the structural integrity of the original containers so they could be recertified for stacked shipment.

    Once the panels arrived, Enercon employees worked extra hours to get the generator packages assembled in record time. It was a remarkable engineering and coordination effort – one that earned Enercon praise from Illinois Senator Dave Koehler. Not long after the project was completed, Sen. Koehler remarked at legislative briefing, “The state of the art capabilities and equipment at Enercon are examples of why no one can out produce the U.S.”