Letters

07/01/2009


Transformer costs

I am writing you with concern about significant errors in the Pure Power article “Calculating the 'Real' Cost of Ownership for Transformers” (Spring 2009, page 20) by Thomas Patzner and Wendell Leisinger.

The article is a disservice to readers seeking to reduce electricity waste. It overstates cost and underestimates savings of higher efficiency transformers, thereby making the wrong lifecycle cost conclusion. This is all the more troubling given the article's title. If the cost of high-efficiency CSL-3 transformers was truly as much as the article indicated, it would be hard to understand why ASHRAE would recommend CSL-3 transformers in its “Design Guide for Energy Efficient K-12 Schools, ” along with a growing list of other state government organizations. Fortunately, for those seeking to reduce energy use and save money, the lifecycle cost of CSL-3 transformers is lower, and offers real economic and environmental benefits.

Before forming their own conclusion, readers ought to note Patzner and Leisinger have cited no source for the price listed for the CSL-3 transformer. The data of the referenced TP1 transformer reflect the EE75T3H model that their company, Square D , manufactures; one would expect the authors to be familiar with their own company's products.

In fact, the $5,000 higher purchase price attributed to the 75kVA CSL-3 transformer has been substantially overstated. For example, not only does Powersmiths' E-Saver C3 (CSL-3) 75kVA transformer sell for less than the article claims, it sells for less than the cost the authors cite for their own reference TP1 transformer. This being the case, why wouldn't you always purchase the higher efficiency CSL-3 transformer?

Since payback equals incremental first cost divided by annual savings, overestimating incremental cost and underestimating savings will overestimate the payback period.

While there will always be buyers willing to sacrifice lower lifecycle costs for lowest first cost, going beyond minimum legal performance is the only way to make progress toward energy and climate goals of the country.

PHILIP J.A. LING , P.ENG., LEED AP V.P. TECHNOLOGY POWERSMITHS INTERNATIONAL CORP. BRAMPTON, ONTARIO, CANADA

Authors respond

We thank Mr. Ling for responding to our article and emphasize that the cost of ownership example provided in the article was simply that—an example. Each project is unique, and is composed of many variables that a consulting or specifying engineer must take into account prior to specifying a transformer, including building type, local electrical rates, and client desires.

The allotted space for the article did not allow us to delve deeply into these—and other—common variables. But the larger issue is the fact that engineers must review project-specific variables as stringently as possible during the specification process, and make the most educated decision possible. The formula provided in the article is certainly not all-inclusive; it can—and should—be augmented to include localized variables. The result of the formula will then suggest the transformer that best meets the client's needs, and provides the most manageable cost of ownership throughout the lifecycle of the building.

Thomas Patzner Staff Product Specialist LV Transformer Business

Wendell Leisinger Customer Segment Manager Consulting Engineers Schneider Electric

Final word

Of course, users should do due diligence, but being busy, users would benefit more from a more representative example than what was given in the article.

As a reality check, both TP1 and C3L 75 kVA transformers are available for under $5,000, far below the $10,000 to $15,000 quoted in the article. As a result, the real price gap is small enough that the incremental cost is often recovered within a couple of years, not bad for a 40-year product. A very different conclusion than the article's example, and one that's much more representative of day-to-day projects.

Philip J.A. Ling , P.Eng., LEED APv.P. Technology Powersmiths International Corp.



Letters

Send your letters to Michael Ivanovich, editor-in-chief, Consulting-Specifying Engineer , 2000 Clearwater Drive, Oak Brook, IL 60523, or via e-mail to michael.ivanovich@ reedbusiness.com .

Letters should be no longer than 200 words, and may be edited for space, style, spelling, and grammar.



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...
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
World-class manufacturing: A recipe for success: Finding the right mix for a salad dressing line; 2015 Salary Survey: Manufacturing slump dims enthusiasm
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
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
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
click me