K-Factor Transformers and Non-linear Loads
Kiran Deshpande*, Prof.Rajesh Holmukhe*, Prof.Yogesh Angal**

Abstract-Harmonic currents generated by non-linear loads can cause problems in the power systems and particularly the distribution transformers as they are vulnerable to overheating and premature failure. Normally designers recommend an oversized transformer to protect transformer from overheating. K-factor transformers are specifically designed to accommodate harmonic currents. K-transformers are preferred because they have additional thermal capacity of known limits, design features that minimize harmonic current losses, and neutral and terminal connections sized at 200% of normal. K-factor transformers allow operation up to nameplate capacity without derating. Index Terms- Additional thermal capacity, Derating, Distribution transformers, Harmonic currents, K- Factor, Nameplate capacity, Neutral and Terminal connections, Non-linear loads, Overheating.

Today's modem offices and plants are dominated by nonlinear loads, desktop computers, solid state ballasts, PID lighting, programmable controllers, and variable speed drives to name a few. Due to these electronic loads, significant harmonic loads have been added to the building's distribution systems. The result is premature failure ofthe transformer due to overheating. Till recent times, the only solution to this problem was to derate the transformer. This solution is no longer acceptable. II.

A review of Nonlinear Loads

The effect of nonlinear loads on the electrical power systems has become matter of concern since past few years. Nonlinear loads draw currents which are not sinusoidal. They include equipments such as solid state motor drives, arc furnaces, battery chargers, UPS systems, and the increasing electronic power supplies. The increased use of these nonlinear loads is the cause of concern as larger percentage of power systems tend to become nonlinear. The nonlinear loads were thought to be matter of concern for industrial power systems where large static power converters were being used. But now larger application of electronics to practically every electrical load, nonlinear loads are present in commercial and even residential power system. Nonlinear loads produce harmonic currents which flow from the load towards the power source following the path of least impedances. Harmonic currents are the currents which have frequencies that are whole number multiples of fundamental frequency. The harmonic currents superimposed on the fundamental currents result in the nonsinusoidal waveform associated with the nonlinear loads.Fig.l show the voltages and current waveforms for nonlinear loads. It can be seen that voltage waveform is sinusoidal but current waveform is not.

Fig. 1. Voltage and current waveform III.

for nonlinear load.

Effects of Harmonic Currents on Power System

Harmonic currents adversely affect every component of the power system. These currents create additional dielectric, thermally, and/or mechanical stresses. Harmonic currents flowing through the power system impedances result in harmonic voltage drops which are observed as harmonic voltage distortion. The voltage distortions could become very severe when the power systems inductive and capacitive impedances become equal, a condition of parallel resonance. This condition could appear at one of the nonlinear load's significant harmonic current frequencies (typically the 5th, II th or 13th harmonic). Harmonic currents can cause losses in normal power components even when resonance conditions do not prevail. Due to skin and proximity effects, wiring experience additional heating. If normal wiring sizing methods are employed, then the derating for wiring for harmonics is minimal and can be ignored. IV. Methods to Derate Transformer


• Dept.of Electrical Engineering, College of Engineering, Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Pune, E-mail: irkin85@hotmail.com •• Dept.of Instrumentation Engineering, Dr.D. Y.Patil Institute of Engineering and Technology, Pimpri, Pune: 411 018.

as suggested by ANSI!
heating in the form of

IEEE Standards .
Harmonic currents cause additional

each of these calculations can yield significantly different K-Factors. For the same load. How do K-Factor Transformers Standard Transformers? differ from K-Factor transformers have additional thermal capacity to tolerate the heating effects of the harmonic currents. When multiple nonlinear loads are powered from the same source. Additional studies of typical loads are beginning to provide information which could aid in the development of additional rules of thumb to use when direct load K~acto' Fig. At best office areas with some nonlinear loads and large computer rooms normally have observed K-Factors of 4 to 9. with a K-20 rating. A K-Factor of 1. can yield significantly to the K-Factor. when multiplied by the harmonic number squared. The ratings are described in UL-I56I and are known as K-Factors.The higher the K-Factor. 30.Factors of 13 to 17. Sample calculations are given in Table No. A well designed K-Transformer will also minimize the winding eddycurrent losses through the use of parallel conductors and other winding techniques. 4. For example. This standard considers the winding eddy current losses to be proportional to the harmonic number required. THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) resulted in only a 7% THD at the service entrance.l. Transformers directly supplying single phase power supplies may require derating of 30% to 40% to avoid overheating. a transformer having winding 12Rlosses of2000 watts and 60 Hz stray losses of 1000 watts would. .e.ANSI / IEEE C 57. 40 and 50. is required to dissipate the 2000 watts ofeR losses plus 20 times the 60Hz stray losses of 1000 watts for a total load loss of 4000 watts without exceeding the maximum winding temperature rise.II0. and still others include up to 50th harmonic. This relationship has been found to be accurate for lower power frequency harmonics. because even very small current levels associated with higher harmonics. For example. when added with other loads in the building. Based on the underlying assumptions of C57. then the transformer cannot be safely operated at full load and would require derating. more expensive transformer.additional winding eddy current losses in transformers.m fo mer dtrall U) 1! ~ Load Where Ih is the load current at the harmonic h. lower harmonic current levels may be expected due to phase shifts and cancellations. K-Factors are a weighing of the harmonic load currents according to their effects on transformer heating. From a practical viewpoint individual loads with KFactors greater than 20 are infrequent. 9. In one study of commercial buildings.ln establishing standard transformer KFactor rating. 2. i. single phase loads with current distortion of 104%. (2) The problem associated with calculating K. (1) Typical tr. the greater the effect of harmonic heating (I]. v. Using UL best methods.110 provides methods to derate a transformer for any given load profile.Factor is selecting the range of harmonic frequencies that should be included. Some use up to 15th harmonic. a K-13 transformer can be fully loaded with any harmonic load having a K-Factor up to K-13. Transformer load losses consist of winding 12R losses plus stray losses. The result is a larger. stray losses are assumed to be primarily winding eddy current losses for transformers 300 KVA and smaller. but result in an overestimation of losses for higher harmonics (generally greater than II th). 'Underwriters Laboratories' (UL) recognize the potential safety hazards associated with nonlinear loads and developed a rating system to indicate the capability of transformer to handle harmonic loads. 20. expressed in a per-unit basis such that the total RMS current equals one ampere. 13. K-Factor transformers are designed to be operated fully loaded with any harmonic load having K-Factor equal to or less than its K-rating.2. If the load has a K-Factor greater than 13. others up to 25 th harmonic. A typical derating curve is shown in fig.II O.0 indicates a linear load (no harmonics). as derived from ANSIIIEEE C57. Areas with high concentrations of single phase computers and terminals have observed K.Typical Transformer derating for Nonlinear loads measurements are not available. it seems reasonable to limit the K-Factor calculation to harmonic currents less than 25 th harmonic. UL chose ratings of 1. The K-factor indicates the multiples of the 60 Hz winding eddy current losses that the transformer can safely dissipate.

To reduce flux density. double sized neutral lugs and lug pads is furnished. instead of working with a pure sine wave and producing normal values and stray losses have to cope up with non-sinusoidal waveforms containing multiple harmonics. Adding secondary over-current protection helps. Transposition is used wherever necessary.phase 60 Hz currents = 0 at any instant Instantaneous triplen 3rd harmonic currents (180 Hz )where neutral current = 3 x phase currents 2. or inadequate cooling VI. i. There are several areas where designs are changed to accommodate the effects of harmonics. At each of these third multiple triplen frequencies. high ambient temperature. Development of Triplen Harmonic current. This voltage distortion increases the core flux density. transformers not marked with a KFactor rating. 4. a multiple of small. Triplen harmonic currents are phase currents which flow from each of the phases into the fourth wire neutral and have frequencies in integer multiples of three times the 60 Hz base frequency (180 Hz. Secondary Windings: The secondary windings. the input current. UL also requires that the neutral terminal and connections to be sized to accommodate twice the rated phase conductor size (double the minimum neutral capacity) of standard transformers. but it still does not protect the transformer from the heating effects of harmonic currents. creating higher core loss. these triplen phase currents are in phase with each other and when flowing in the neutral as zero sequence currents are equal to three times their RMS phase values. some unmarked transformer may therefore have enough extra thermal capacity to tolerate additional harmonic load heating. excessive harmonic current. 360Hz. Consideration of additional Over Current Protection for Transformers supplying Nonlinear Loads. may have some tolerance to nonlinear loading. Since the three 60 Hz currents are separated by 120°.For K-Factor transformers. Therefore a transformer can be overloaded without the primary over-current protection ever tripping. VII. The output currents and transformer loading greater than is apparent from . The use of supplemental protection in the form of winding temperature sensors can be used to provide alarm and/or system shutdown in the event of overload. Primary winding: The primary winding has some lower order harmonics circulating within the delta. producing losses and additional heating. Development of Triplen Harmonic Current AmPS C Instantaneous 3. Core: The core is affected by voltage harmonic distortion. 540Hz etc).3. single phase line to neutral currents flow in each phase conductor and return in common neutral. With three-phase transformers. 1. To compensate for these increased losses. The National Electric Code allows primary-only over current protection at 125°C of the transformer's primary full load amperes. This is compensated for by using a heavier conductor. In a 3 phase.e. higher magnetizing currents. Neutral: Since harmonic currents are additive in neutral. higher audible noise and heating problems. but their capability is unknown to the user and is not certified by a third party such as UL. Fig. which raise the stray losses significantly. More on Triplen Harmonic currents. individually insulated conductors are used. VIII. Due to conservative design application. About Standard Transformers not marked with K-Factor ratings: Standard transformers. alloy induction designed core is used. To compensate for this. 4 wire system. This is particularly true for 80° C or 115°C rise transformers built with 220°C insulation material which can safely withstand a 150°C winding temperature rise. 3. Additional over current protection should be considered for all transformers supplying nonlinear loads. neutral currents in excess of two times phase currents can be measured. The measured resultant current is equal to zero. when balanced they cancel each other. the triplen harmonics are cancelled in the delta winding and do not appear in the input current. The development of triplen harmonic current is shown in fig. Currently marking transformer with a K-Factor rating is not required by UL.3.

40 or 50). in which..Theory also states that for even harmonics. However this shield is extremely valuable in protecting sensitive equipments from common mode electrical noise and transients generated on the line side of the transformer. 13. 13. Other odd harmonics add in the common neutral. but their magnitude is considerably less than triplens. 9. The shielded and unshielded transformers are shown in fig.. 30. :.12. Such voltage harmonics may cause extra harmonic losses in the transformer core.91-1979.1 10-1986. 9. = 20 10glo [Vin] Vout dB (5) . PEC = assumed eddy current losses calculated as follows: For Transformers rated 300 KVA or less. or C= 0. the 60 Hz currents on the three phase legs have a vector resultant of zero and cancel in the neutral. (3) & I ~ ~1t~~T ~l1tt. Formulas to determine eddy losses and total losses where the transformer load losses (PLL) are to be determined as follows: PLL ~ \ '-----''j ~. harmonic load currents may be accompanied by DC components in the load current which are frequently caused by the loss of a diode in a rectifier circuit. 4. A DC component of load current will increase the transformer core loss slightly. The ground shield provides a low impedance path to ground by capacitive coupling which prevents unwanted high frequency signals contained in the source voltage from reaching the transformer secondary. Shielded and unshielded Transformers. B. Relatively small DC components (up to the RMS magnitude of the transformer excitation current at rated voltage) are expected to have no significant effects on the load carrying of the transformer excitation current at rated voltage) are expected to have no significant effect on the load carrying capability of a transformer determined by this recommended practice. The Noise Isolation Transformer suppresses common mode noise by introducing a ground shield between its primary and secondary windings. 40 or 50).. ANSI/IEEE C57. The impedance losses and the fR losses shall be determined in accordance with the test code for Dry Type Distribution and Power Transformers. PDC = Total 12Rlosses K = the K-Factor rating at the transformer (4. 20. PAC = Impedance loss C= 0. Harmonic currents flowing through transformer leakage Impedance and through system impedance may also produce some small harmonic distortion in the voltage waveform at the transformer terminals. This shield does not perform any function with regard to harmonic current or voltage distortion wave forms. the even harmonic will cancel in the common neutral. PDC-I = the fR losses for the inner winding. 30. Where I = RMS value of current.~I'" ~ J ~l ~ ~ I II ~ i! '. At any given instant. operating experience has indicated that core temperature rise usually will not be the limiting parameter for determination of safe magnitudes of non-sinusoidal load currents. (x= 4. 4. .r. The ratio of common mode noise attenuation (CMA) on the input to that of the output of the transformer is expressed in decibels as shown in equation shown here below: CMA = PDC(l + K(PEC)) (4) Where. Higher DC load components may adversely affect transformer capability and must be corrected by the user. However. IX. But. [3]. the third (and other odd triplen harmonics) on the phase legs are in phase and become additive in the neutral.6 for all other transformers. starting with the second order.. [4] As stated in ANSI/IEEE C57. The grounded shield between primary and secondary windings is called an electrostatic shield. A transformer intended for use with loads drawing non-sinusoidal currents shall be marked "Suitable for non-sinusoidal current load with K-Factor not to exceed x. Shielde~Transformer sn~l~ UnshieldedTransformer I Total - IJoHz + liaoHz + liooHz + IJzoHz + . ·. Fig. The UL Approach to Transformers A.1.7 for transformers having a turn ratio greater than 4:1 and having one or more winding with a current rating greater than 1000 amperes. and for transformers Rated 300 KVA and above. when balanced. and may increase the magnetizing current and audible sound level. The RMS value of the total current is the square root of the RMS value of the individual currents squared. 20.

2.94 K-30 K-40 123.8 1.00 0.495 0.014 0.7 4.006 0.74 I 3 5 7 9 II 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 Total 0.g. Table No.027 0.82 25.3 2.94 X. If smaller overcurrent protection is used intentionally to limit the overloading.00 0.00 25.72 K-13 57.17 .005 0.000 1. Index of K-rating KFactor ILK K-I 0. First is the issue of managing the derating when the transformer nameplate indicates greater capacity. Larger overcurrent protection may be required for the oversized (derated) standard transformer resulting in larger conductor requirements with the associated higher K-30 123.0 K-4 25.002 0.74 K-20 80.Factors for various types of Loads Load Incandescent Lighting Electric Resistance Heating Motors (without solid state drives) Control Transformers Motor-Generators Distribution Transformers Electric Discharge Lighting UPS Welders Induction Heating Equipment PLCs and solid state controls Telecommunication Equipment (e.Table No.000 1.7 12.54 208.000 0.059 0.3.520 0.016 0.596 0.0% 65.101 0.74 An isolation transformer with an electrostatic shield can have a ratio of input noise voltage (VIN) to output noise voltage (VOUT) within the range of 10:1 to 1000:1 or even higher.020 0.001 0.021 0.9 1.6 0.270 0.006 6.4 5. PBX) UPS without input filtering Multiwire receptable circuits in general care areas of health care facilities Main frame computer loads Solid State Motor Drives Multiwire receptable circuits in Industrial.066 0. the loading may be increased without considering the intended derating.1.296 0.54 K-40 208.010 0.003 0.042 0.213 0.Factor K-I K-I K-I K-I K-I K-I K-4 K-4 K-4 K-4 K-4 K-13 K-13 ILK 0. Disadvantage of using Derated Transformers instead ofK-Factor Transformer The use of derated standard transformers instead of K-Factor Transformers carries some disadvantage as under: I.626 0.7 37.00 0.002 0.000 0.434 2.000 0.000 0.001 0.54 K-30 123.000 0.226 0.82 25.000 0.5 1.82 K-9 44. K-20 K-20 80.142 0.626 2.000 0. Medical and Educational Laboratories Small Main Frames (Mini and Micro) Other loads identified as producing very high amounts of harmonics K.792 0.82 57. But in the future.2 and 3.17 2.82 25.089 0.74 57. Initially. nuisance tripping may occur due to the transformer inrush current.4 1.009 0. The calculations for K-Factor loads can be carried out with the help of information available in the Table No.33 K-13 57.8 0. the transformer may be operated at reduced loading.035 0.000 0.003 0.000 0.1 0.098 0.051 0.00 0.000 0.94 80.010 0.Calculations for a typical nonlinear load h (harmonic number) In (nonlinear Load Current) 100.000 0.00 0.000 0.015 0. K.82 25.00 (In)2 InlL (In)2) (In)2 h2 Table No.432 0.

the appropriate type KFactor transformer can be fully loaded up to 100% or nameplate KVA. New York. [5] Computer Business Equipment Association (CBEMA). crest factor. 1991.). 1987. 2) failure when Average reading RMS meters do not measure harmonic currents. Copper or Aluminum. What is the likelihood that additional rating systems will actually be developed? That's hard to predict. Insist on a K-Factor transformer that has been party tested. e. [2] Gruzs. low harmonic current power supplies and electronic ballasts are already available. What should be remembered when using a K-Factor Transformer? I). Harmonic loads do cause premature standard transformers are used. Whether this will provide sufficient impetus for new rating system for other power system components is problematical. they are the first to receive a harmonic rating system. June 1991.Paris. [I] The Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers.g. though. True reading RMS meters should be used. October 1991. Proposed Requirements and Proposed Effective Dates for the First Edition of the Standard for Dry Type General Purpose and Power Transformers.6. ESC-3 Information Letter.: "Use K-Factor Transformers? Definitely! But Which K-Factor?" EDI.4.: 3. "Analysis of Harmonic Distortion Levels in Commercial Buildings. projection show harmonic levels in . Using a K-Factor Transformer References Once the harmonic current of the total load is known." PQA 91. 150°C. "Recommended Practice for establishing Transformer capabilities when supplying Non-sinusoidal Load Currents". Three Phase Power Source Overloading Caused by Small Computers and Electronic Office Equipment. Accept no verbal claims. they should gradually displace existing electronic loads (and their greater harmonics). All other optional feature that the industry is accustomed to can be specified. K13 etc.2 No. Indeed. UL 156. feeder costs. "A survey of Neutral Currents in Threephase Computer Power Systems". K-Factor Transformers will play an important role in coping with the problems harmonics create.e. serving to reduce the prevalence of harmonic currents over the long term. Recommended Practice for Powering and Grounding Sensitive Electronic Equipments. 2. France. Draft 1992. K-Factor ratings are based on heating effects of harmonics and are not necessarily applicable to other power system components. July/August 1990. I. Santa Clara CA. Short term. If harmonic rating systems for other components are needed. 115°C.. They operate with the nonlinear loads more efficiently and generate less heat that need to be dissipated. 3rd 3) Conclusions: Because transformers are the power system components most affected by nonlinear loads. One thing is sure. [8] McPartland Brian J. and a KFactor is specified (K4. however. The proof must be on the label. IEEE Guide to Harmonic Control and Reactive Compensation of Static Power Converters. [7] ANSI/IEEE Standard 519-1981. they will have to be developed by other methods. Vo\. or some new and component-specific weighing of harmonic currents. Xl. 80° C. XII.. i. [6] McGranaghan et al. No. Electro-static shield. The transformers designed specifically for nonlinear loads minimize losses due to harmonic currents. 1986. the use of components does not generate harmonics.110-1986. T.M. Vo1. Impending standards such as lEC 555 and IEEE 519 encourage the development of such devices. [4] Underwriters Laboratory. The best solution to the problem caused by harmonic currents would be preventive. until the day that harmonic currents actually diminish. THD. As such new designs are implemented. power systems increasing as more electronic loads are added. ANSIIIEEE C57.26. [3] IEEE P-l100 Working Group. IEEE Transactions on Industry Application. 3.