Benefits and limitations of ac generator motors

AC generator motors have advantages such as simple design and not requiring matching voltages, but they do have some drawbacks such as higher levels of insulation.

05/24/2017


Image courtesy: Bob Vavra, CFE MediaMost commercial areas rely on ac to power a wide range of electrical appliances and pieces of equipment. AC results from the movement of the electrical charge through a medium. The direction of movement varies over time. This variation is not the case with DC since it only involves a single direction for its movement.

AC generator basics

An ac generator is a type of electromagnetic device, responsible for converting mechanical energy into electrical power, essential in electromagnetic induction applications. This device comes with a rectangular coil of wire, and this component rotates on an axis. Moreover, this coil lays between the poles of the two permanent magnets. With the rotation of the coil, this leads to the changes in the magnetic field. Thus, the process generates an electromotive force between the coil's ends.

Benefits of ac generators

AC generators provide several benefits to a user's facility including:

Simple design

For the most part, an ac motor comes with a simple design since it only contains a single moving part, the rotor. AC motors are easier to maintain as a result. They are also cheaper to own and have quieter operation. They also have a longer life compared to dc motors. In fact, dc motors have carbon brushes and a commutator that tend to wear out over time. These have to be replaced throughout the life of the motor. There is also a loud noise and a distinct smell typical with a dc motor due to the friction produced by its components.

Matching voltage not necessary

For optimal use, it is important for a dc generator to produce a voltage at a certain level. The ac generator allows the user to convert the current to another voltage using a transformer. In fact, transformers are compatible with ac, but not with dc.

Limitations

While ac generators have benefits, there are also some limitations to consider including: 

Greater insulation required

There is a higher level of insulation due to the massive voltages required to supply a fixed amount of power from an ac motor. As a result, there is the challenge in the safe handling of ac generators. Working with ac may pose some difficulties and risks, as compared to what you can expect from dc motors.

Transformer use

While it may also be an advantage, the need for a transformer can also be a limitation for ac generators. For instance, the motors need a special design that prevents the discharge of the higher voltage generated on one side. Since it is not possible for an efficient way to generate high voltages, it is necessary to use a transformer to ease long distance transmission. This transmission occurs once the low voltage converts to a much greater level necessary.

Issues involved

AC power may be susceptible to sparks and overheating due to its production of high currents. Such phenomenon results in electric shock and fires. These fires are detrimental to properties and lives of your employees. Besides these safety risks, ac generators appear to be less durable considering its need to produce massive currents resulting in such hazards.

Bottom line

Just as with dc, there are benefits and drawbacks involved in the use of an ac generator. Overall, though, the advantages of ac appear to outweigh the limitations involved.

David Manney is a marketing administrator at L&S Electric. This article originally appeared on L&S Electric Watts New Blog. L&S Electric is a CFE Media content partner.



Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
October 2018
Tools vs. sensors, functional safety, compressor rental, an operational network of maintenance and safety
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
July/Aug
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
October 2018
Complex upgrades for system integrators; Process control safety and compliance
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
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 Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
click me