Energy Efficient Distribution Transformers

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Energy Efficient Distribution Transformers

Linear Load General Purpose Transformers

They are generally used for supplying appliance, lighting, heating, motorized machine and power loads from electrical distribution systems. 

For non-linear loads, all standard energy efficient general purpose distribution transformers have to be

de rated to allow for additional heat due to harmonic losses

Non-Linear Load K-Factor Transformers

Energy efficient K-factor transformers are designed to tolerate heating due to harmonics associated with non-linear loads. They have become a popular means of addressing these related overheating problems where electronic ballasts, drives, personal computers, telecommunications equipment, broadcasting equipment and other similar power electronics are found in high concentrations.

Harmonics can indicate their presence in a number of ways: overheating, device malfunctions, telephone interference, equipment vibration, and breakers tripping. These non-linear loads generate harmonic currents which can substantially increase transformer losses.

The K-rated transformer has a more rugged design intended to prevent failure due to overheating, a 200% rated neutral and full electrostatic shield.

K-factor is defined as a ratio between the additional losses due to harmonics and the eddy current losses

It is used to specify transformers for non-linear loads. Standard K-factor ratings are 4, 13, 20 and other ratings are available.

Harmonic Mitigating Transformers

Features of Harmonic Mitigating Transformers:

Prevents voltage flat-topping caused by non-linear loads

Reduces upstream harmonic currents

Eliminates transformer overheating and high operating temperatures

Eliminates primary winding circulating current

Saves energy by reducing harmonic losses

Maintains high energy efficiency even under sever non-linear loading conditions

Electrostatic shielding for high frequency noise attenuation

Harmonic Mitigating transformers are superior to K-rated and general purpose

Transformers in that they reduce voltage distortion (flat-topping) and power losses due to current harmonics created by single-phase, non-linear loads such as computer equipment.

Secondary windings are arranged to cancel zero sequence fluxes and eliminate primary winding circulating currents. They treat zero sequence harmonics (3rd, 9th and 15th) within the secondary windings and 5th and 7th harmonics upstream with appropriate phase shifting.

Dual output, phase shifting Harmonic Mitigating Transformers provide extremely low output voltage distortion and input current distortion even under severe non-linear load conditions (Data Centers, Internet Service Providers,

Telecom Sites, Call Centers, Broadcasting Studios, etc.). Combining zero sequence flux cancellation with phase shifting treats 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 15th, 17th and 19th harmonics within its secondary windings.

K-Factor Transformer, also known as K-Rated transformer, is designed for nonlinear or harmonic generating loads that a standard transformer could not adequately handle due to overheating. K-factor transformers are specially assembled with a double sized neutral conductor, heavier gauge copper and either change the geometry of their conductors or FOIL WINDING for the coils. These properties allow them to endure the additional heat caused by harmonic currents much better than a standard transformer.


It is an index of the transformer’s ability to carry harmonic currents while operating within the temperature limits of its insulating system. K-Factor values range from 1 to 50. Standard transformers have a K-factor of 1.0 and are assigned for linear loads only. Meanwhile, a K-factor of 50 is utilized for the harshest harmonic condition possible.

K = [(I1/Irms)2 (1)2] + [(I2/Irms)2 (2)2] + [(I3/Irms)2 (3)2] +…………….+ [(In/Irms)2 (n)2]


I1 = fundamental current

I2 = 2nd harmonic current

I3 = 3rd harmonic current

In = nth harmonic current

Irms = RMS current

Note: RMS current is the square root of the sum of squares of the individual currents.

The rationale is to first compute the K-factor of the load. Subsequently, specify the transformer to have a K-factor that is equal or higher than the calculated value. As a result, the transformer can be sized to the load without de rating. Thus, transformers are said to be K-rated when they use the K-factor.

The typical load K-factors, which are derived from ANSI/IEEE standards are the following: K-4, K-9, K-20, K-30, K-40 and K-50. In theory, a transformer could be designed for other K-factors in-between those values. Nonetheless, K-40 and K-50 are expensive and rarely used.

Design and Construction

K-Factor Transformers differ in construction from standard transformers as their designs were changed to accommodate the effects of harmonics:

Double sized neutral conductor

This is to protect against triplen harmonics (3rd, 6th, 9th, ) that add up together in the neutral

Electrostatic shielding between the primary and secondary windings of each coil

Reduce eddy current losses and heating

Lower induction core

Reduce the core flux density to protect against harmonic voltage distortion

Heavier conductor and transposition of winding conductor

Reduce magnetic losses

Parallel smaller windings on the secondary (multiple winding conductors)

To cancel out skin effect from high frequency currents

K-Rated vs. De rated

The K-factor transformer’s main advantage is that it is designed considering harmonic generating loads. A good example is the abovementioned changes made in the construction of the transformer.

On the contrary, de rating a standard transformer has several disadvantages:

It is oversized

Less efficient

Loads added without reference back to initial de rating, resulting to overloading & failure

Potential maintenance problem – long after installation

Problematic protection level

Furthermore, de rating a standard transformer will not assure optimal performance under nonlinear loads. And are prone to premature failure. In the end, a K-factor transformer is usually more economical than using a de rated, oversized transformer.

A Few of the many features are:

Multiple K-rating selection, K-4, K-7, K-13, K-20

Designed for linear and nonlinear loads

All Copper construction

Removes triplen harmonic currents from the line

High Efficiency

Solves 88% of typical power disturbance problems

Heavy-duty construction

Optional lightning surge protection

Optional input/output breakers

Posted by: gowtamikesavagaru001 Posts: (1) Opinions: (0) Points: 20 Rank: 1,478

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