ABB dry reactor is the invisible champion of power quality

Essential tools to assist and protect the electrical conversion process

The acquisition of Trasfor Group in October 2011 has given ABB the knowledge and manufacturing base to enter the fascinating world of power inductors.

At this point you may be wondering what an inductor is and does, so a short explanation is in order. It takes sophisticated equipment to control electrical power. Among these essential tools are reactors, also known as inductors or chokes, depending on their role in an electrical circuit.

Simply put, when an electric current flows through an inductor, energy is temporarily stored in a magnetic field. If the current flowing through an inductor changes, the time-varying magnetic field induces a voltage in the conductor which opposes the change in the current that created it.

The component is characterized by its inductance, which is the ratio of the voltage to the rate of change of current, expressed in units of henry (H). Inductors can shape and deform electrical signals, and are used in power transmission systems to limit switching currents and fault currents. In this capacity they are more commonly called reactors.

The development of this vital component is directly tied to the development, expansion and increasing sophistication of our power grids. Its main tasks are to provide the grid with the electrical conversion systems, protection, phasing and sinusoidal quality that enable it to operate safely and reliably.

Another key characteristic is their ability to function in both AC (Alternating Current) or DC (Direct Current) circuits. These characteristics make inductors valuable across a range of applications, and generally speaking they are present wherever there is an AC-DC-AC power conversion, and where power quality is essential.

Using a range of technologies, ABB designs and manufactures reactors for specific applications and according to mandatory technical specifications to obtain the best result. For example, reactors are used in power electronics, power transmission and distribution and motor startup applications, for reactive power compensation, harmonic filtering, short-circuit limiting and neutral grounding.

These devices are extremely important. We recently designed and delivered an urgent request for some medium-voltage inductors to solve unexpected harmonic content in an important hot rolling mill in Saudi Arabia. And last but by no means least, consider that a significant number of offshore wind generators are operating with customized, water-cooled ABB reactors.

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About the author

Marco Fregonese

I’m a senior business development manager for the Trasfor Group’s worldwide activities. I’m an aeronautical engineer with more than 20 years’ experience in marketing and sales of B2B industrial components.
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