Congo Equipment is the official Cat® dealer for the mining region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Its activities cover mainly mining equipment, parts sales, mining equipment maintenance contracts, components rebuild and equipment rental.
At the Glencore Kamoto Copper Company (KCC) mine on the outskirts of Kolwezi, the Cat dealer maintains a regional office and has almost 160 people on site who are dedicated to supporting various aspects of the mining operation, such as maintaining and rebuilding mining trucks, as well providing equipment and services for electric power generation.
Kolwezi is the provincial capital of the Lualaba Province in the Greater Katanga Region, which is located in the copper belt along northern Zambia.
After the first few confirmed COVID-19 cases in DRC, the Katanga provincial government turned to Cat® dealer Congo Equipment to supply reliable standby power to the provincial hospital in Kolwezi.
Congo Equipment installed a Cat DE88 diesel generator set as a permanent standby power solution to the hospital to supplement unreliable grid power to the region.
The generator set is outfitted with Remote Asset Monitoring technology, allowing Congo Equipment to monitor the generator set in real-time and respond to issues that may arise.
“It’s a mining town, definitely,” says Julien Pioger, sales and rental manager for Congo Equipment. “A few years ago, some people here were literally digging in their back yards for cobalt or copper.”
The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic was confirmed to have reached the DRC on 10 March 2020. The first few confirmed cases were all outside arrivals. On March 25, the president of the DRC closed the country’s borders, imposing a state of emergency to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
The following day, Congo Equipment was asked by the Katanga provincial government to supply a Cat DE88 diesel generator set to the provincial hospital in Kolwezi. Congo Equipment installed the 88 kVA genset as a permanent standby power solution to back up life safety systems at the hospital—including the intensive care unit where COVID-19 patients are treated.
Because grid power to the region is not reliable and can sometimes be lost for days at a time, the standby generator set is performing a critical function at the hospital, Pioger said.
“We have grid power some hours of the day in Kolwezi, but having reliable backup power is really necessary,” Pioger explains. “There are times when the generator can be in operation for several days in a row.”
Congo Equipment performed the installation of the genset and will perform ongoing maintenance to ensure that it’s ready to run when needed.
“This is not the first genset that we supplied to the provincial government—so we have a standing relationship and are in partnership with them,” Pioger indicates.
In order to ensure that the power is available at all times, the DE88 genset is outfitted with Cat Connect Remote Asset Monitoring technology. This allows Congo Equipment to monitor the status of the generator set in real-time and respond to an equipment alert that could affect its operating status.
“All of our new generator sets come with Remote Asset Monitoring technology from the factory,” Pioger says. “And we have people doing condition monitoring all day long sitting in our technology center, following up and sending alerts to our customers and to our service team.
“During the pandemic, I can’t think of a more important application of this technology than for a generator at a hospital where they are treating COVID-19 patients.”