You are on page 1of 4


Jong-Sen Hsu and K. C. Lin Fortune Enterprises International CO. Division - Fortune Electric Co., Ltd. Hermitage, PA.

Io reduce thp sizes and losses of distribution, pddmount and small power tiansformers ac cordinq to the requirement of an overseas utility, t h e local transformer manufacturers have widely used the VORTEX pndder coated conductors in winding coils.
T h e conductor, conventionally insulated with a solvent base enamel layer or wrapped with a cellulose base paper, have shortcomings in meeting the requirement. rhe VORTEX powder coatinq uses dry powder to yield a conformable epoxy film on the ronclucto~ surfaces in a continuous line. Thr coated epoxy film is thin, strong and toiigh f o r conductor winding. It also satisfies environmental regulations.

method of improving the no load loss besides considering amorphous core steel. Conductor design and selection plays a major role in reducing load loss. Cooper and aluminum wires, which are coated with a solvent base enamel film or wrapped with a cellulose base paper for conductor insulation, are widely used for winding transformer coils. The solvent base enamel requires multiple passes to complete the coating, and, it has shortcoming in applying to rectangular conductors. Paper wrapping builds up more in the cross section of the wire and readily picks up moisture from the atmosphere. To minimize losses and sizes of the transformers, the transformer manufacturer decided to use Vortex powder coating wires. The Vortex powder coating uses dry epoxy powder and an electrostatic fluidized bed to continuously yield a conformable epoxy film in a single coat on the round and rectangular wire surfaces. When compared with paper wrapped or enamel film, the Vortex powder coating produces a thinner, more uniform insulation which provides improved dielectric strength and greater thermal conductivity. The powder coating is more flexible, has greater chemical stability, and has better long term resistance to abrasion. The powder coating withstands conductor elongation, is more ductile, less workhardened and as a result the wire is easier to wind a compact coil and improves the transformer efficiency.

The electricity demand in Taiwan has been increasing at a dramatic pace in recc.nt years. Additionally, the projects of a~iildingnew power plants were delayed d u e to Rnvironmental concerns. Therefore, there is q ~ e a tinterest in maximizing tcntrn. i i s o i c r e f f i r iency by the local utility, Taiwan Power Company (TPC).
In calc~ilatinqthe monetary value of transform~refficiency, TPL revised its s p e c ifiiation5 f o r distribution trarisformers in 1990 and 1 Y 9 1 , rpspec tivrly. The total reduction of losses was 50" or no-load loss and 30" for lr,dcl loss. T h e reduction of size was 35;. 1 0 meet T P C ' s specitications, manufacturers S I P compc.tinq hard to design and build t ran s f o t me r s with better re1 i abi 1 i ty , reduced losses and sizes. These efforts have produced many improvements in every aspect of transformer design and man I f ; I C t U r i ng . I
?he transformer design and materials


Mechanism of Coating

s e l e c t i o n are heavily impacted by the need

to minimize losses. Laser-scribing silicon stpels dppear to be the only available

The powder coating process utilizes an electrostatic fluidized bed to continuously coat wires. Powder partlcles are aerated in a fluidizing chamber and are electrostatically chdrged by ionized air wiiich passes through a porous plate at the base of the chamber. As the powder particles become charged, they repel each


other and rise above the chamber forming a cloud of charged particles. When a grounded wire is conveyed through the cloud, the charged powder particles are attracted to the wire, because of the electrostatic charge. The process inherently produces a uniform coating as particles are attracted to uncoated portions than to those already insulated. As the surface becomes completely coated, the particle coated sections exhibit a self-limiting effect which also tends to produce a uniform thickness. Coating thickness is controlled by the ionizing voltage, charging air, exposure time to the cloud, and characteristics of powder. The electrostatic powder coating tends to apply a thicker coating on sharp wire edges because of the electrostatic attraction. Unlike the thin coating on the radii of enameled rectangular wire, the process can provide a desired coating thickness in a single coat application. This is in contrast with multiple coats required by most liquid coating methods that exist today. The substrate continues directly into the heat source, where the coating is transformed from a powder to a cured film. Figure 1 shows how charged powder particles are applied by electrostatic attraction to a grounded, moving wire. A cloud of charged powder is formed by passing dry air through a charging media and then fluidizing the powder with the charged air. This results in transferring a charge to the particles of powdered resin.

1) conductor wire uncoiling, 2 ) wire cleaning, 3) powder coating, or attraction, 4) oven curing, 5) cooling in a quenching tank, 6) coating thickness testing, and 7) conductor wire recoiling (Figure 2).






6. Cooling


Figure 2. 3.

Coating Steps

Materials Available For Coating

The materials available for wire coating includes many thermoset and thermoplastic resins such as: epoxies, polyesters, polyesterimides, nylons, EVA, PFA, PUDF, polyethylenes, polyimides, polypropylenes and urethanes, etc. Table I lists a typical epoxy powder resin No. 5256 manufactured by 3M used for wire ecoating. This is an one-part, epoxy powder resin, which has: o Excellent adhesion and abrasion resistance o Excellent flexibility and elongation o Good electrical properties o Good impact and heat shock resistance Table I




Typical Properties of Coating Resin Property Color Specific Gravity(ASTM-D-792) Impact Resistance (Gardner, 1/8 steel panel) Electric Strength (5-6 mil film) Gel Time at 204C (400F) Dissipation Factor ( 1 0 0 H z at 23C) ( 1 0 0 H z at 150C) Dielectric Constant (100 H z at 23C) (100 H z at 1 5 0 C ) Value Brown 1.22 >160in.lbs 1200V/mil 35 sec.
0.5 10



3.8 4.5

Figure 1. 2.

Electrostatic Powder Coater


Coatinq Steps

The epoxy powder coating process includes the steps of:

The typical insulated wire was tested according to a modified NEMA MW-14C specification for rectangular copper wires and a modified NEMA MW-18A specification for rectangular aluminum wires. The powder


coated wire passed all tests listed below for the transformer coil winding applications.


The new insulated wire has excellent thermal, chemical, mechanical and electrical properties. The insulated conductor is thin, tough, flexible, and superior when compared to the paper taped conductor.

Dielectric Breakdown - The dielectric specimens were tested in air at room temperature by the foiltape wrap method according to NEMA MW-1000-1977, Part 3, Section 7.2. Heat Shock Tests - Edgewise bent and flatwise bent samples prepared per NEMA MW-1000-1977, Part 3 , Section 10.2 were heat shocked in an air circulating oven for 1/2 hour at 175C. Adherence and Flexibility Tests Adherence and flexibility was determined by MW-1000-1977, part 3, Section 2.2. Windability Test - 10 turns of powder coated wire were wound at 60 rpm under a 4000 psi load. Thermal Aging - The thermal aging was carried out in stainless steel tanks. Each tank contained wires coated with epoxy powder, layer paper, epoxy diamond patterned paper, core steel, transformer oil, edgewise and flatwise bent coated wire samples and elongated wire samples. These samples were dried at 125 - 145C for 16-18 hours and sealed in the tanks filled with oil for thermal aging. Table I1 summarized properties of typical powder coated wire.


Coating speed is adequately high to favorably compare with the output from enamelling lines. Single wire ends have been run at over 20 meters per minute for epoxy coated products like #10 AWG round aluminum. The actual speed of production per wire is influenced by wire dimensions, wire metal type (copper, aluminum, etc.), sizing of coating line, the resin selected, etc.




1. Powder coating can be applied up to 1/3 as thick as paper, 0.001" to 0.010'' influenced by the resin selected, for the same application in a single pass. The space saving is achievable through a more compact winding and can lead to a reduction in transformer size. Powder coating is better than paper in toughness. The toughness may mean less possibility of insulation damage during coil winding when compared to paper. It is flexible, withstands wire elongation, adheres tightly and resists scrape abrasion. The paper shrinks during the coil drying process while the epoxy does not. The powder coating has greater resistance to heat than paper or polyvinyl formal. Its thermal index is 145"C, putting it in a higher thermal class (130C) than either paper or polyvinyl formal. It also offers higher thermal conductivity than the oil soaked papers and less thickness for minimum mechanical protection. The result is a smaller temperature gradient between wire temperature and oil temperature. This may permit the use of lower cost coolers. The thermal aging of paper leads to embrittlement and a greater possibility of breakage if the coils move during operation. The powder coating suffers less mechanical damage under the same conditions. In addition, the thermal decomposition of paper



Note that this data is provided for informational purposes, and that potential users of this technology should confirm that the coating meets their needs by conducting appropriate tests. 3. Table I1 Properties of Typical Powder coated Wire Properties Flexibility and Elongation Breakdown Voltage Heat Shock (90" bend, 4X mandrel, 350F) Room Temp Bend (90" bend, 4X mandrel, 75F) Thermal Endurance Value No cracks at 15% elongation 3000 V (5 mil total build)

No cracks (7 mil total build)

4. No cracks (10 mil total build) 145"F(20,000 hrs)


thermal decomposition of paper releases water which is undesirable in transformers while the epoxy insulation produces no water.

The article discussed here was compiled from information listed below: 1. Frank R. Zickar, "Powder Coated Conductor For Transformer Winding", 1979 Electrical/Electronics Conference, October 8-11, 1979, Boston, Massachusetts. 2. H. R. Sheppard et al., "Electrostatic Powder Insulated Conductors For Transformer Windings", 43rd Annual Meeting of the American Power Conference, April 27, 28, 29, 1981, Sponsored by Illinois Institute of Technology.

Powder coating matches polyvinyl formal coatings for heat dissipation, moisture resistance, and compatibility with transformer oils. However, it has greater chemical stability and better long term resistance to abrasion. The powder coating is as tough immediately after curing as lyvinyl formal, but it is significantly less subject to thermal degradation than enamel coatings. After aging, its greater flexibility and resistance to abrasion result in better dielectric strength than that provided by heavy enamels. Because the powder coating applies uniformly around the wire perimeter, it doesn't have the concentricity problems associated with thick enamel coating, commonly referred to as "dog-boning" - a thickness variation on the edges of rectangular magnetic wires. Powder coating satisfies environmental regulations without the need of incinerators to control emi:ssions, because 100% solid powder eliminates problems associated with solvent - no disposal and no pollution. Other benefits are low energy usage, high coating speed to allow for lower labor costs, low scrap and efficient utilization of the coating material.

3. Frank R. Zickar, "Electrostatic

Powder-Coated Wire for Transformers", Wire Journal International, May 1985, Pages 49 - 55.


"Electrostatic Wire Coating'' and "Powder Coating For Linear Substrates", Electrostatic Technology, Inc., Branford, Connecticut. 06405 Coating Armature Insulation", 1991 Electrical Manufacturing & Coil Winding, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, October 7-10, 1991.

5 . Mark R. Strucaly, "Electrostatic Powder



6. 3 M, "Sctchcast Brand, Wire Coating Resin 5256, One-Part, Epoxy Powder Resin", Electrical/Electronic OEM, 3M Electrical Specialties Division, 3M Austin Center, P.O. Box 2963, Austin, Texas 78769

7. Lee, Kun Fang, "Engineering Memo Evaluation of Low Loss Distribution Transformers", Fortune Electric Co., Ltd.

The epoxy powder coating can be applied on round and rectangular copper or aluminum wires. When compared with paper wrapped or enamel film, powder coating produces a thinner, more uniform insulation which provides improved dielectric strength and greater thermal conthctivity. The powder coating is more flexible, has greater chemical stability, and has better long term resistance to abrasion. The powder coating withstands conductor elogation, is more ductil, less workhardened and as a result the wire is easier to wind coils. Using powder coating permits the manufacturer to build more compact and lower loss transformers.