ABB has developed the technology for ultra-low-noise power transformers to help electric utility Consolidated Edison (ConEd) meet the newly enforced noise regulations of New York City, considered by many to be the toughest in the world.
The transformers are the successful result of an intensive research and development effort over a number of years by a team of ABB engineers and scientists in the United States, Sweden, and Germany. Included in the team were experts in the fields of vibrations as well as sound generation, transmission, and radiation. The project also involved the development of appropriate measuring methods of ultra-low-noise levels at discrete frequency components, as well as appropriate transformer mounting. The technology has set new industry benchmarks for transformer noise emissions.
Dr. Ramsis Girgis, the leader of the development effort with ABB, said, “This achievement is a testimony that true technology advancements can only be achieved through vision, hard work, persistence and physics.”
The noise requirements of these ConEd transformers are not only 20-25 decibels lower than is typical for this size of transformers, but limits were also set on the noise level of each frequency tone when the transformers are operating at full load and over-excitation.
In addition to meeting ConEd’s stringent standards for noise, ABB had to ensure that the transformers meet tight limits on weight, width, and height to permit transportation in Manhattan and other areas of New York City. The transformers must also comply with technical requirements like significant overload and extremely tight limits on the range of transformer impedance.
ABB delivered the first ultra-low-noise transformer to ConEd in 2005. This transformer had to be provided with a sound enclosure. As the ABB team developed the technology further, subsequent transformers delivered to ConEd did not need a sound enclosure and, in fact, were much smaller in both size and weight. Several of these transformers have been delivered to ConEd and a number of them are already in operation. Additional transformers of even lower noise levels are scheduled for delivery later this year and in early 2009.
The ultra-low-noise transformer technology resulting from this intensive development effort is now being used to produce optimum designs for low and ultra-low-noise transformers for other noise-sensitive metropolitan areas around the world.
These accomplishments would not have been possible without the support that the ABB technical team received from many in the ABB St. Louis facility and globally. The challenge and cooperation received from the ConEd technical team, headed by Donald Chu and Harold Moore, provided exceptional commitments throughout the technology development process that were pivotal.