This piece was originally published in the August 2018 issue of electroindustry.
Stephen Tuckwell, Vice President and Business Line Manager, ELANTAS PDG, Inc.
For nearly 40 years, I have been working with magnet wire enamel, impregnating varnishes, and other insulating materials. As a chemist, I find it to be a fascinating field—one that I’m always trying to explain to new electrical engineers. Simply put, insulating materials are primary materials that enable motors and transformers to work. That’s because they keep electricity where you want it to be.
When we build an electromagnetic device, such as an electric motor, magnetic forces are created by wire coils, which are made up of magnet wire that is coated with an electrical insulating layer known as enamel. It is important to keep individual wires insulated from each; otherwise the motor or transformer will short and fail. Insulation also keeps the user from coming into contact with the electricity that is powering the device. Therefore, it is part of the safety protection of the device.
Standards are very important to the electrical insulation industry. Customers need to meet all the electrical standards associated with manufacturing motors and transformers, especially as they relate to electrical insulation. Thus, insulation standards become part of the product standards.
The electrical insulation marketplace is very dynamic. There has been much consolidation among its manufacturers over the last few years. They must work closely with electric device manufacturers to ensure the development of new ideas and enable the electric motor and transformer manufacturers to continue to meet new market requirements. Being a voting representative in the electroindustry is, in essence, a matter of survival.