Custom Inductor for Alternative Energy: A Little Dialog Goes a Long Way

As a pioneering company in high energy magnetics design, a client in the alternative energy market approached us to manufacture a 100 kW switched mode boost inductor for a renewable energy conversion application.

With our solid background in specialty magnetics, the client was confident we could engineer and build an innovative yet practical solution that satisfied their performance specifications.

Alternative Energy Custom Inductor

Involving us early in the design phase allowed our engineers to open a productive dialog with the client’s internal team to gather information on what the device needed to accomplish.

Based on this collaboration, we developed an effective design strategy as well as an organized production plan.

At the stipulated 100 kW power level, using the highest flux density core was beneficial. However, even at relatively low switched mode frequencies, core losses could be substantial, and our most difficult design challenge was to optimize the balance between material performance, costs, heat generation and removal, and size.

Thermal management was a very important aspect. Using powerful software tools, thermal modeling allowed us to assess how factors such as airflow and temperature distribution would influence the size and efficiency of the final product.

Based on the results of our in depth analysis and design verification, we engineered a forced air cooling solution allowing the device to be smaller and more efficient than one with no predictable airflow.

Constructed from copper wire, heat and flame resistant Nomex®, as well as grain oriented electrical steel, the device featured dimensions of 14″ in length x 12″ in width x 11″ in height.

Based on the inductor’s size, weight and performance requirements, we had to conquer several production challenges. Our heavy duty winding equipment gave us precise control of winding, tension, and traverse to produce error-free, consistent coils, while brazing created strong and durable terminations. We also vacuum impregnated the inductor three separate times to minimize acoustic noise.

In addition to dimensional inspection, quality assurance involved verification of dielectric strength and inductance.

Additional details about this project are presented in the table below. Contact us at any time to learn more about our custom solution can benefit your next application.

Project Name & Description

Inductor for Alternative Energy
100kW, high power switched mode boost inductor

Capabilities Applied/Processes

High Energy Magnetics Design

Equipment Used to Manufacture Part

Heavy Duty Winding Machine, Brazing

Overall Part Dimensions

14 x 12 x 11” tall

Greatest Challenge

At this power level, using the highest flux density core is beneficial. But even at relatively low switched mode frequencies the core losses can be substantial. The balance between material performance, costs, heat generation and removal, and size was the most difficult design challenge.

Material Used

Copper, Nomex, GOSS steel

Industry for Use

Renewable Energy Conversion

In Process Testing/Inspection Performed

Inductance, Dielectric strength, Dimensions

Volume

1500

Delivery Location

Perris, CA., USA

Standards Met

UL Safety, Insulation Systems