Dielectric fluids are widely used as electrical insulators to prevent electric discharges in high voltage application such as transformers and capacitors. The dielectric fluids are also used in variety of liquid-filled electrical equipment in order to provide fire safety, biodegradability, high performance over wide range of temperature, and oxygen stability. Transmission and distribution of electrical energy from power generating sources require change of voltage at different ends that need transformers at every stage. Dielectric fluids are used in these transformers to reduce loss of transmission and short circuit in high voltage transmission and to provide optimum operational temperature range. This has led to surge in the demand for dielectric fluids.
Owing to increasing usage of dielectric fluids in a variety of applications, the global dielectric fluids market is anticipated to expand at steady rate in the coming years. Demand for dielectric fluids is mainly driven by its significant advantages such as low viscosity, high flash point, rapid heat dissipation, and oxidation resistance which in turn will possibly boost growth of the dielectric fluids market. Rising scope of application in mold industry, tool & die industry, regulators, hardware, valves, and even in the manufacturing of various aerospace components is foreseen to contribute growth of dielectric fluids market.
Energy Infrastructure to Augment Use of Transformer Dielectric Fluids
In the coming decade, with increasing demand for electricity and new power generation projects, electric utilities are likely to invest around US$ 3.2 trillion at a global level for new transmission as well as replacement transmission and distribution infrastructure, which is expected to auger well for power and distribution transformers. In addition, transformer and energy infrastructure industry is witnessing steady growth with increasing government initiatives that has resulted in an upsurge in the power sector. Dielectric fluids, being a vital component for cooling and providing electrical resistance in distribution and power transformers, is expected to witness significant demand during the assessment period, consequently supporting the growth of the global market for dielectric fluids.
Biodegradable Dielectric Fluids: The Most Eco-Friendly Solution
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were initially used in dielectric fluids and coolants in transformers for heat transfer applications. However, several problems associated with environmental toxicity were witnessed that banned the use of polychlorinated biphenyls in dielectric fluids. Environment Agency and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have imposed regulations regarding the use and disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls to reduce environmental hazards.
This led to the development of biodegradable dielectric fluids that offer better performance and are environment friendly. For example, Cargill Incorporated has developed Envirotemp FR3 dielectric fluid that is bio-based natural ester fluid used in transformers. Its fire safety property, electrical property, environment friendliness and chemical properties are in accordance with the ASTM D6871 and IEC 62770 rules. It does not contain silicones, halogens, corrosive sulfur or petroleum and thoroughly biodegrades at a rapid pace with low carbon footprint. This has spurred the use of biodegradable dielectric fluids, thus contributing to the overall growth of the global dielectric fluids market.
EDMs Prefer Synthetic Dielectric Fluids
Electrical Discharge Machines (EDMs) are widely used in metal industry for metal removal by using a series of electric sparks. Dielectric fluids are used in electrical discharge machine operations to facilitate proper circulation of sparks. This is expected to push the adoption of dielectric fluids thus supporting their market’s growth. Moreover, the demand for EDM is significantly high in other end use industries such as aerospace and defense where it is used to manufacture aerospace components. EDM is also used in mold industry, manufacturing of regulators and hardware. This has accelerated the use of dielectric fluids in these end use industries, consequently increasing their application scope.
With this, manufacturers have been focusing on developing advanced dielectric fluids for electrical discharge machines to ensure efficient functioning of the machine with reduced downtimes. For example, Hirschmann GmbH has developed synthetic dielectric fluid – IonoPlus 3000 – a universal dielectric fluid that is suitable for various operations. It offers optimal flushing effectiveness along with maximum disruptive strength. According to the Institute of Research and Control of Work Materials, situated in Baden, Germany, that has tested the operational effectiveness, industrial hygiene and safety of this synthetic dielectric fluids, allergic or toxic symptoms are absent while using this fluid, making it environment friendly. Additionally, higher resistance against electrode wear, enhanced quality of the surface and high dispersing capacity are few of the advantages of IonoPlus 3000 dielectric fluids, which have gained sufficient traction across filter plants. Such developments are expected to positively influence the growth of the global dielectric fluids market.
Key participants in the global market for dielectric fluids are focusing on expanding their reach via strategic alliances with end users of dielectric fluids. For instance, Westrafo Srl, a transformer manufacturing company, has partnered with Cargill Incorporated for development of new transformer series – SPL transformers – that have higher capability in terms of resistance against peak loads of electric grid, thus improving safety of individuals industrial and civil applications. Cargill is providing its natural ester dielectric fluids, the FR3, for developing SPL transformers, as it offers eco sustainability, high performance, efficient cooling and insulation, fire safety and reduced maintenance. Other key stakeholders in the global dielectric fluids market include Cooper Industries, Soltex Inc., NYCO, Shrieve Chemical Company, 3M, ABB, VoltCool Corporation and Hirschmann
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