Three Key Factors to Consider When Buying a Power Transformer

Transformers and other power distribution equipment are essential components of electrical systems in plants, factories, and commercial buildings. Transformers are used to increase or decrease the voltage from one level or phase configuration to another, depending on the particular needs of the application. There are various types of power transformers on the market today, and the process of choosing the ideal one depends on different factors. Read on to find out some of the key factors that should determine the ideal type of transformer for your industrial or commercial applications.

Operating environment 

The environment in which a power transformer is to be used will determine the ideal configuration. For instance, if your plant or factory is located near a salt water body, you will need a transformer whose body and components can resist corrosion that is usually prevalent in such areas as a result of exposure to salty water. In this case, powder coated transformers or those with quality paint applications will be best suited for this environment.

Transformers that will regularly be exposed to high temperatures require components which have a high tolerance for heat so as to prevent inefficiency or failure as a result. Assess the environment that the transformer will be exposed in and ensure that you choose one whose construction can endure it.

Dry vs. liquid-type configuration

Transformers can be broadly categorized into dry-type and liquid-type. Dry-type transformers use air or gas as the cooling medium while liquid-type transformers use mineral oil as the cooling medium. Liquid-type transformers are usually more efficient and have a longer usable life than the dry-types.  The mineral oil usually offers a better cooling medium as compared to air or gas. On the downside liquid-type transformers have a high risk of catching fire; therefore, dry-type transformers should be used in applications that require a high tolerance to high temperatures and fire.

Transformer rating

A power transformer's electrical load is rated in kVA, which stands for Kilovolt-amps. This rating reflects the capacity of load that the transformer can handle without overheating. The loads are calculated are calculated as part of the entire building's electrical design and are usually calculated and showed in the construction plans. To determine the ideal transformer rating for the building, you will need to add the current load and any expected future growth. The chosen transformer rating should be able to service the loads connected to the electrical systems without causing overheating of the transformer.

The process of choosing the ideal transformer requires a proper analysis of its applications, the environment it will be used in, and rating requirements. Consult your dealer if you have any difficulties when making the purchase.