Many factors must be considered whenever any significant equipment is purchased for an industrial or commercial facility. It's crucial to choose products that are well engineered and reliable while being competitively priced, as the right amount of attention is given to ROI. However, in the modern era such equipment also has to be very energy efficient, both to cut down on running costs and to assuage environmental pressure. If you're in the market to buy a new transformer, you will therefore be weighing up all your options carefully and should know how some of the key components affect potential energy losses while you make your decision.
Windings and Core
Within the transformer are two basic parts known as windings and core. Taken together, these fundamentals determine just how energy-efficient any transformer can be.
Usually, the type of core will be based on the eventual size of the transformer. Smaller models will use laminated magnetic versions using thinner sheets of steel covered by insulation and the larger models feature silicon.
The windings are usually made from aluminium or copper but are often chosen carefully depending on the final application. Both of these metals are very conductive, but copper seems to be the more prevalent. Its use allows operating temperatures to be contained while the general dimensions of the machine can be reduced. If you choose aluminium, you will have to introduce a greater amount of the metal to achieve the same levels of efficiency if keeping the size within your given parameters.
Certainly, aluminium is the cheapest of all the conductive metals and, consequently, this would be the more cost-effective solution in many cases. The transformer will weigh a lot less than a model that features copper and as such it will be easier to move as necessary.
Much of the loss associated with transformer operation can be attributed to waste heat, which is an unavoidable byproduct of the operation. To keep this loss as low as possible, the temperature rise of the transformer has to be controlled. As such, you need to carefully balance the rating of the transformer with its size and footprint in order to pursue the ultimate energy efficiency.
Talk with your equipment suppliers to see just how energy-efficient their products are and how they can tailor-make a transformer for your particular operation. Bear in mind that this industry is placing greater emphasis on levels of efficiency so that your organisation can be seen as proactive from an environmental point of view while saving money against the bottom line.