A game-changing transformer dielectric fluid

The fluid is nonhazardous, 100% biodegradable, and made from natural esters of edible seeds and soybean oil—and has all of the great characteristics of Askarels, with none of the drawbacks.

06/27/2012


In the mid 1990s, Cooper Power Systems developed and perfected a totally new transformer dielectric fluid, patented it, and called it EnviroTemp FR3. The fluid is nonhazardous, 100% biodegradable, and made from natural esters of edible seeds and soybean oil. It has a fire point of 360 C, for NEC “Less-Flammable” classification. It has very high dielectric strength, high thermal conductivity, low coefficient of expansion, and good “lubricity” that helps things like tap changers operate properly.

 

Image of transformer with UL or FM label certifying suitability for indoor insulation. Courtesy: Joe Guentert

Testing has shown that if there is an accidental spill of the liquid, it will biodegrade 99% within 21 days into water and CO2 (unlike silicone fluid, which will biodegrade 0% in the same span of time). At the end of its useful life in transformer service, the liquid is fully recyclable into products like bio-diesel fuel.

 

In short, FR3 has all of the great characteristics of Askarels, with none of the drawbacks. Within a few years ABB developed a similar fluid, called Bio-Temp, and other similar liquids from other manufacturers are coming into the market.

 

NFPA 70: National Electrical Code recognized the new Less-Flammable fluids as appropriate for indoor installations, and NEC Article 450.23 set forth new requirements for the details of the indoor installations.

 

Transformer manufacturers worked with FM Global and UL to obtain listings of the transformers for indoor installation. NEC 450.23 requirements are simple and straightforward. In order to be installed in a noncombustible building, a less-flammable transformer may be installed where there are no combustible materials stored in the area, and there must be liquid confinement of some sort (which might be nothing more than curbing at the doorways of the rooms). The transformer also must bear either a UL or FM label certifying suitability for indoor installation. More about this great transformer fluid in coming weeks.

 

In coming weeks, we’ll also discuss how this fluid has made it possible again to safely install liquid-filled transformers inside data centers, and we’ll discuss a new liquid substation transformer that has been specifically designed for data center applications, “hardened” for far greater reliability than any dry-type transformer.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
World-class manufacturing: A recipe for success: Finding the right mix for a salad dressing line; 2015 Salary Survey: Manufacturing slump dims enthusiasm
2015 Top Plant: Phoenix Contact, Middletown, Pa.; 2015 Best Practices: Automation, Electrical Safety, Electrical Systems, Pneumatics, Material Handling, Mechanical Systems
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Getting ready for industrial IoT; Visualizing the (applied) automation continuum; Preventing VFD faults and failures; Using wireless for closed-loop applications
Migrating industrial networks; Tracking HMI advances; Making the right automation changes
Understanding transfer switch operation; Coordinating protective devices; Analyzing NEC 2014 changes; Cooling data centers

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.