Energy-Efficient Transformer Design
March 19, 2009— Concord, Ontario
Rex Power Magnetics
Some of the most innovative thinking in Canadian design and architecture is taking a strong direction in the creation of "intelligent" buildings. Given this much-needed transition in the building industries, some of the focus is devoted to energy-efficient transformers. One company that has made its mark in the ongoing evolution towards greater efficiency is Transfactor Industry's Rex Power Magnetics.
Rex Power Magnetics has been producing transformers since 1972, with an extensive product line that includes specialty-type transformers, and high voltage dry-type power and cast coil transformers up to 15 MVA and 40,000 voltage class. Over the last five years, the company has devoted a significant portion of its design resources in further developing the dry-type transformers. These developments will meet the new requirements with the same commitment to durability and quality that is the hallmark of all Rex Power Magnetics products.
Rex Power Magnetics' specialty-type transformers
The shift in energy-saving design has been prompted by changes to legislation; Canada's Energy Efficiency Regulations were amended November 2, 2006. Among the amendments include the aim to redefine dry-type transformers "to remove the exemption for tap ranges and to clarify existing exemptions."
Simon Hasserjian, Vice President and General Manger at Rex Power Magnetics, is one of the principals instrumental in bringing about these new energy-efficient models. Hasserjian notes that the company was anticipating this shift in production more than five years ago. "We were among the leading manufacturers who were making transformers compliant with guidelines set by the American National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)."
These standards are defined in the TP 1-1996 Guide for Determining Energy Efficiency for Distribution Transformers, and the associated document TP 2-1998, outlining the Standard Test Method for Measuring the Energy Consumption of Distribution Transformers. These standards are very similar to Natural Resources Canada's amendment of 2007, in the document entitled CAN/CSA-C802.2-00.
However, the policy lacked rigor in compliance. Being a voluntary standard, manufacturers could easily work around it. Rex Power Magnetics, however, knew that smart innovation was inevitable in the manufacturing sector, and made the decision to "get out ahead early" and design for the future.
Hasserjian adds that Rex Power Magnetics recognised that such a quality transition would require optimized designs, specialized core-cutting equipment, and a grade of silicon steel measurably higher than that used for transformers in the past. These refined features, along with the rising cost of copper, may have seemed like a prohibitive investment at the time. But Hasserjian says by making research and development a real priority in the last few years, Rex Power Magnetics now finds itself in an enviable position in the market. This positioning has been made possible with the help of the National Research Council Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP). Now, all of these Rex Power Magnetics high-efficiency units are approved for CSA certification, and all carry the "Energy Star" label of approval.
Part of the necessary upgrade in production was made easier by the relocation of both of the Rex Power Magnetics production plants to one central location near Toronto in Concord. This new manufacturing base enables the kind of growth that has taken the company to a position where it now exports 40 percent of its product line to the United States, the Far East and the Middle East.
And as the NEMA standards marked a signal shift south of the border, the trend towards intelligent design and energy-efficient transformers is now happening apace with our southern neighbours. NRC-IRAP's support of Rex Power Magnetics' innovations includes initiatives with EMF (electromagnetic field) shielding and cast coil transformers. The initiatives are in keeping with a mandate that ensures our industries are not just globally competitive, but leading the way in product development.
Forward steps, with NRC-IRAP's assistance, include incorporating a level of flexibility in design to more convenience and accessibility. Hasserjian is excited about a certain plan. "We're looking at a new project with programmable regulators. These regulators incorporate on-load tap changers to deliver power that is optimized for time of day, and varying load conditions, to maximize the efficiency of power used. This project shows a lot of promise in the months ahead, and also reflects a diversity in our product lines that keeps us well-positioned in the global market."
With Rex Power Magnetics' commitment to energy-efficient design, that position seems assured for some time to come.
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