Utility equipment: Air core reactors can incorporate copper and aluminum material

Transmission and distribution: New REO-USA Mix ’n Match Hybrid reactors meet power needs with less weight and space and lower cost.

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Utility supplies: Gone are the days when either-or options such as copper vs. aluminum, layer vs. disc winding, and a couple of component protection options forced specifying too little or too much reactor for your products.

Now REO-USA brings you Mix ’n Match™ Hybrids, air core reactors that can incorporate both copper and aluminum material, provide different and/or parallel windings and use several protective methods all in a single component tailored to your power, size and weight as well as budget needs. Market-wide introduction of this technology follows years of extensive component design, testing and real-world proving by the Indianapolis firm and its Germany-based parent, REO.

“We’re already producing hybrids for U.S. customers in the transportation industry,” says Rick Jones, REO-USA Senior Director of Engineering. “In fact, some specs required additional design alterations in our extensive line, which we can easily accommodate. To my knowledge, we’re the only manufacturer to offer Hybrid options, certainly a more extensive selection than anyone else. We offer a complete range of standard reactor configurations, all of which adds up to more ways to precisely match specific product performance and budget requirements.”

Power, weight, space – matching the most effective Material mix to your needs

In terms of material, many makers offer only copper or aluminum, according to Jones. Each has its own plusses and minuses.

“If you need a conductor that consumes very little current, copper is your best choice. And it gives you a very condensed product, a plus when space is tight. For example, if you need 3 Kw for a transformer, that transformer can be a lot smaller if you use copper rather than aluminum in your reactor. However, despite its smaller size, copper weighs a lot more; in some cases, that’s a big issue. And it’s a relatively expensive material.”

On the other hand, Jones notes, aluminum’s construction volume is greater while providing excellent power. It’s also much lighter, which could have a huge impact in many applications – trains, for instance, where lower-weight components can enable greater passenger capacity. Aluminum’s price (about one-third the cost of copper) is a plus, too.

“In a perfect world, one of these materials would fit users’ needs nicely. But more often than not, it doesn’t. That’s where Mix ’n Match Hybrids multiply ways to meet your specs. Instead of wrapping one coil around a bobbin, we’ll run parallel lines – wrap one copper and one aluminum – to achieve a desired happy medium of power, with less weight than two copper conductors, less space than two aluminum, and with aluminum’s lower cost part of the package.”

Coil geometry: all the usual options and new designs, as needed

How your reactor coil is wound makes a difference, too. REO-USA can deliver any type that works best for your application.

“Most customer products call for Layer or Disc winding,” Jones points out, “but we can provide other options as needed, including toroidal windings for high-frequency applications.”

Layer winding has a higher current pulse strength, he notes. Disc, however, provides better voltage insulation strength, a major factor in some applications.

“One customer spec called for applying 1000 volts and putting the component underwater,” Jones recalls. “We had to redesign the reactor to accommodate Disc winding, in order to achieve that level of insulation strength. Those hybrids are working for them now.”

Protection from environmental conditions such as moisture, temperature and dirt, is another critical issue with reactors. REO-USA methods include Powder coating, a special REO-Protective coating, Housing, and the REO Xtreme package, the kind used in the underwater application noted above. A combination of factors can determine the best choice.

For example, all four types provide excellent fire protection and Powder coating is the simplest, least expensive way to get it. REO-Protective coating, however, also offers much better protection from moisture and particulates; it carries a PD-4 (Pollution Degree) rating under the IEC 664-1 standard, the highest rating available. REO Housing provides even greater protection from dirt, as well as shielding the reactor from contact.

If moisture or dirt are concerns, it would be wise to choose the REO-Protective coating for a component. If, however, reactors and/or other components are put into a Housing, one could simply coat the reactor and save considerable cost versus a protective coating since the cabinet addresses the moisture and particulate issues.

“We have the flexibility to deliver any and all options,” Jones asserts. “This enables our customer to analyze multiple factors up-front and get a Hybrid reactor that is right – fully tested and ready for real-world use.”

REO-USA’s testing program includes validation of development for every component in accordance with EN 60310. Furthermore, Jones points out, “Unlike some manufacturers who use lower-range testing units, at our Indianapolis facility we have the capability to test our reactors up to 1500 amps, employing the highest range equipment available.”

Why buy more reactor than you need or risk designing-in less? REO-USA Mix ’n Match Hybrids multiply the ways to fit power, weight, size and environmental protection more-precisely into your specifications and budget.

“It’s never really just one thing,” sums up Jones. “The combination of factors that we can put in place makes a huge difference. At REO-USA, we specialize in integrated solutions to enhance both short- and long-term performance and payback for railway or other equipment and service providers. Mix ’n Match Hybrids carry ‘integration’ to the ‘nth degree, tailoring reactors to each product and application as never before.”

About REO-USA, Inc.

REO-USA engineers and manufactures industry leading technology components for integrated product solutions in diverse fields and industries including railway, drive engineering, renewable energies, medical and automation. Headquarters for the ISO 9001:2008 certified company, which entered the U.S. in 2000, is a 25,000 square-foot facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. Parent company REO, a Germany-based manufacturer of electronic and inductive components founded in 1925, operates 14 global subsidiaries.

For more information about REO-USA or other products, click here to go to Utility Products’ Buyers Guide.

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