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Beyond Mining

Panama CanalPanama Canal
Revitalizing the Canal to take larger ships and increased traffic.
Panama Canal

Powering the Panama Canal

Revitalizing a wonder of the modern world.

Since Balboa’s discovery of Panama’s Pacific Coast in 1513, empires dreamt of connecting the Atlantic and Pacific with a canal through Central America. After a number of failed attempts, the United States took on the challenge in 1904. 34 years of work, $14 billion and 262 million cubic yards of earth later, it was completed. By eliminating the need for ships to sail around South America, the Canal helped make the United States a world power and revolutionized global trade.

Today, emerging markets and rapidly changing trade opportunities are demanding a revitalization of this important waterway. From increased traffic demands to sizing limitations on super-carriers out of Asia, the Canal Authority needed a partner who could tackle the Panama Canal Expansion Program—their biggest engineering project since its original construction.

A feat of engineering then and now.


Video: Energizing the Panama Canal to take on double the traffic and larger container ships.

Eaton's history with the Canal goes back to the very beginning. The controls, motors and generators installed in 1938 were manufactured by companies that have become an integral part of today’s Eaton’s, including Cutler-Hammer and Westinghouse Distribution and Control Business. As part of the Canal expansion, Eaton would be responsible for handling power solutions for wider, deeper canals and an extra shipping lane with newly engineered locks that double traffic capacity.

For this project, Eaton provided 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.

Our comprehensive integrated systems go beyond reliability to provide a never-before-realized level of operational safety. And the market-proven performance of our products gives the Panama Canal Authority the no-fail confidence they demand.

Working smarter to avoid making waves.

As the project evolved, Eaton’s industry-leading expertise earned us an expanded role on the electrical installation of the new Pacific lock. From project management, to quality assurance, execution and guidance, we’re ensuring the electrical system delivers next century efficiency, reliability and safety. We even partnered with the Canal Authority to support the entire project, from design right down to on-site start-up and commissioning, to ensure maximum efficiency and productivity from the start.

During its history, the Panama Canal has conveyed more than 900,000 ships from around the world. With our expertise and technology, it will be well equipped to take on a million more. And, continue to shape the trade of a more globalized world for generations to come.

Additional resources


Panama Canal expansion milestones

The Panama Canal Expansion is the largest project at the Canal since its original construction.


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