Manufacturing plants that need three-phase power have two options when buying transformers. First, they can buy one three-phase transformer. Alternatively, they can acquire a bank of three single-phase transformers which can then be installed to provide three-phase electrical power. This article discusses some of the pros and cons of using the latter option of three transformers:
Easy to transport. It is easier to transport the three transformer units from the manufacturer or distributor to the installation site when compared to transporting one large three-phase transformer. This is because the three units may not require oversize transport vehicles and special permits from the transportation authorities.
Defects cause minimal disruptions. Your manufacturing plant may not grind to a halt in case one of the transformer units develops a defect that takes it out of commission. This is because you can maintain the remaining two units so that some operations can remain active. This is unlike what would happen if you had one three-phase transformer. Any defect that causes transformer downtime will put a halt to all the activities at your plant until the transformer can be fixed or replaced.
Upgrades are easier. It may be easier to upgrade the three single-phase transformers when compared to upgrading the large three-phase one. This is because the capital that is needed to replace the small ones one at a time isn't as much as what you would need to replace the single large one.
High initial cost. It is usually more expensive to buy three transformer units at a go when compared to buying one single three-phase transformer. This higher acquisition cost may prolong the wait before your manufacturing plant can break even.
More space is required. Another shortcoming of using three single-phase transformers is that they will consume more space than the space that would have been taken by the three-phase transformer. You may, therefore, find yourself short of space for other activities, such as product storage.
Higher maintenance costs. It may require more hours to inspect and service the three different single-phase transformers when compared to maintaining one large three-phase transformer. These high maintenance costs can end up reducing your profit margins.
Think about the strengths and shortcomings discussed above before you make a decision regarding the appropriateness of buying the three single-phase transformers for your facility. You could also obtain technical help from a supplier of power equipment so that an analysis of your requirements can be done. That expert will then help you to make the best decision.