Today’s transmission systems are very complex compared to that in the past because of deregulation of the electricity market. To maximize asset utilization, existing transmission systems are often operated at stressed limits. With increasing cost pressures the utilities are seeking economical options for power transmission and distribution. Autotransformers is an efficient technology which can replace expensive conventional power transformers in some major power applications. Autotransformer consists of single wiring. Both the primary and secondary windings are integrated together both electrically and magnetically to form a single wired auto-transformer. They are also called auto-step down transformer autotransformers and uses time-varying magnetic fields to transfer power. The term auto means single coil acting alone. Owing to low voltage operations, the cost of autotransformers are low when compared to conventional transformers.
Autotransformers work within the voltage rage of 110-115-120 V. Substantial cost reduction can be achieved by installing these transformers in power applications. There is an increasing demand for technology, related to the management of power flow within the power systems for reliable power supply system. The installation of such systems allows the grid operator to manage the costs of power transmission in a better manner and utilize the infrastructure. With the increase in power generation from renewable sources the transmission grids are operating at maximum levels in many regions. Autotransformers are crucial components in the ongoing strive for improved network efficiency. They are often regarded as the most economically feasible and reliable approach to power flow management and system design. The market for autotransformer is anticipated to increase at a substantial rate owing to increasing demand for economical systems in power transmission industry.
The copper savings achieved on installing autotransformers is the major factor driving investment in this market. The autotransformers employ only single winding of copper wiring per phase as compared to two separate windings utilized in conventional voltage transformers. Auto transformer are employed in small voltage variation applications. The autotransformers can efficiently replace large expensive power transformers in substations, where large voltage variations are not required. Apart from this the voltage regulation of autotransformers is much more effective than conventional transformers. Autotransformers are also installed by utilities to provide different voltage points along its winding. The substantial cost savings achieved on installing autotransformers is the major factor bolstering investment in this sector. However, these transformers do not have the primary to secondary winding isolation thus these transformers are not suitable for stepping down higher voltages.
The market for autotransformers can be segmented on the basis of type, end-user categories. By type, the market can be segregated into step-up and step-down transformer. The end-user category can be sub-segmented into three major segments as: power applications, audio applications, and railway applications. Currently, power applications occupies the major share of the overall market in this segment.Some of the major players involved in the autotransformer market are: Hitachi Corporation, Mitsubishi Corporation, Siemens AG, Areva SA, SNC Manufacturing Co, Inc., Powertronix Corporation, and Estel Company Limited, etc..