ABB launches the world’s strongest vacuum on-load tap-changer

ABB launches the world’s strongest
vacuum on-load tap-changer

Innovative design simplifies manufacturing, increases reliability and enables optimal solutions for high-end transformer applications

ABB today announced the launch of the world’s most powerful vacuum on-load tap-changer that enables a less complex transformer winding design for rated currents of up to 2,400 ampere (A) This design enables the use of standardized transformer windings, which allows for reduced design complexity and manufacturing time. The rating of 2,400 A with a breaking capacity of 7,200 kilovolt-ampere (kVA) is the highest in the world for vacuum type tap-changers.

Tap-changers are essential components of transformer and ensure that they operate reliably and safely. They are used to change the turn-ratio between windings in a transformer. This ratio determines the output voltage of a transformer and is essential for the stabilization of network voltage under variable load conditions. Tap-changers are also widely used in industrial transformers to control output voltage and current in rectifier and furnace applications.

Vacuum interrupter technology is at the heart of this new generation of tap-changers, in which electrical arcs are extinguished in a vacuum rather than oil. The result is lower life cycle costs due to reduced maintenance and longer operational lifetime because of radical reduction in contact wear as well as increased reliability of transformers, contributing to overall greater power network stability.

“This latest innovation from ABB will enhance grid reliability by reducing the complexity of design in converter transformers for HVDC and other high-end transformers,” said Markus Heimbach, head of ABB’s Transformers business, a part of the company’s Power Grids division. “ABB has a long history and a rich heritage of innovation and is continuously addressing customer needs and technology challenges in the transformer industry”.

This latest offering from ABB, called the VUCL.E is rated up to 2,400 A was developed from a design that uses three parallel vacuum interrupters instead of one. ABB is at the forefront of on-load tap-changer (OLTC) technology development, having developed a complete portfolio of vacuum OLTCs for both high-speed resistor and reactance type, and this unit is the latest example. The design, which will be released at CWIEME (an event for coil, winding, insluation and electrical manufacturing) in Berlin, Germany, also follows ABB’s patented plug and play OLTC retrofit system for easy field upgrades.

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