The transformers are static electric machines, whose mission is to increase or decrease the voltage in an electrical circuit. When the value of the electric voltage rises to obtain a higher voltage to the transformer, it is called an elevator; if on the contrary the value of the voltage is reduced and delivered to a smaller one, the transformer is known as a reducer. They are an essential part of the electrical systems (generation, transmission, and distribution), allow the transport of electricity from distant places to the centers of consumption. In the same way, they allow to optimize the distribution of the alternating current, using the most appropriate and economic tension levels for each sector. In its simplest form, the transformer is formed by two coils wound on a closed core of silicon steel. The coils or windings are called: primary and secondary.
Thanks to the electromagnetic induction phenomenon discovered by Michael Faraday in 1831, the invention of the transformer in 1884 represented an incalculable advance in the transmission and distribution of electrical energy. The first commercial AC system that used transformers was put into operation in 1886, in Great Barrington, Mass, United States.
The main components of a transformer are the core and the coils. For its operation and installation the transformer requires other components and accessories that will help it to cool down, monitor its temperature and make it safer in its operation, these can be insulation, fittings, terminals and connections, tank, radiators and meters Of temperature.
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In their process of transformation (operation) these static machines have energy losses that occur in their two main components:
- The core:
- The core is formed by thin sheets of steel that have some losses in their operation. The losses in this component are called “losses in the iron” and this formed by the parasitic currents in the nucleus (eddy currents) and magnetization losses (hysteresis cycle), are lower if the laminate that forms the core is less thickness (thinner), that is, the efficiency of the transformer increases as the thickness of the sheets forming its core decreases. It is a transformer with better technical characteristics, its price is higher.
- Coils (winding):
- The coils are wires or sheets of copper wrapped around the core. The losses in the coils (also called loss in the winding or loss by Joule effect) are due to the very small resistance that the coil presents to the passage of the electric current, to decrease the resistance the quantity (the cross section) of copper increases used, losses and heat generated in the transformer are reduced. By increasing the amount of copper used, the efficiency of the transformer is increased, giving rise to the so-called High-Efficiency transformers.
Copper windings are preferred for their proven high efficiency, low resistance to electric current, their malleability and ductility, and because they are one hundred percent recyclable, among other benefits.
High-Efficiency transformers, compared to the so-called standard or conventional transformers, have a higher acquisition price, however, having greater efficiency, the operating cost decreases making it highly attractive for new installations or to replace the conventional ones in operation, even though still some years of useful life remaining. The tempo of recovery of the investment is from one to three years (depending on the application) with a lifetime greater than thirty years, it is a good selection.
High-efficiency transformers help to protect the environment from having fewer losses requires burning less fossil fuel to generate electricity since it is wasted in less quantity.
High-efficiency transformers have many advantages over conventional ones:
- They have fewer losses, so the energy consumption is reduced.
- They have copper windings, whose technical characteristics are superior.
- They generate less heat. Increasing its useful life
- The use of copper helps improve the design, performance and operation characteristics.
- They are friendlier to the environment and reduce the carbon footprint.