Transformers are the gran’ ol’ horse amongst electronic devices. They were already widespread in the late 1800’s. Yet the nature of magnetic powers are not yet fully understood by man.
Transformers are magic. We go from Ohm’s laws to the mysterious universe of magnetism and back to Ohms law .
The basic elements and theory behind transformers, viewed from the point of turn ratio, are extremely simple. But the full picture and the countless mechanisms that affect the performance of a transformer are highly complex.The first true transformers were made with regular iron. Iron is a ferromagnetic material, also known as soft metal. This is not because the metals are necessary soft, but because the magnetic merits of such metals are considered “soft” from a magnetic point of view. Soft metals are called such if the metal is easy to magnetize and demagnetize.The quality of iron transformers was somewhat limited due to high losses and Eddy currents in pure iron. In the early 1900’s the second generation of electric metals was developed by adding silicium. Silicon steels was a vast improvement over iron.
Third generation was Grain Oriented Silicon Steel ( GOSS ) developed in the 1930’s by N.P. Goss. Note the last name.
GOSS or Cold Rolled Grain Oriented Silicon Steel ( CRGOSS ) is still used today as the technology is cheap and very efficient. The point of saturation of good silicon steel is still amongst the highest possible.
Other advanced alloys such as MUMETAL, RADIOMETAL were developed with the use of Nickel, Cobalt and other metals. These show high permeability, but very low saturation.
The fourth generation of transformers were C-cores . The major advantage of such cores is that they allow a build up of very thin metal sheets.These and toroids are still, to this day, the best core types for transformers. Lilienthal engineering prefer C-cores for a number of reasons, not least of which the easy adjustment of airgaps.
During the last 2-3 decades superior metals such as Amorphous and Nanocrystalline have been developed.These highly processed metals open up hitherto unseen possibilities in the art of transformers, but this comes at a cost.
The prices of these metals are many times the costs of the cheapest silicon steel.
Low cost transformers are still based upon silicon steel made up of stamped laminates, such as the most common EI configuration. They do a very cost efficient job, and are the natural choice when high quality is not mandatory. Most consumer electronics are based on these transformers and today most of these are produced by low cost labour in the far East.
Lilienthal Engineering do not compete with this. We do not sacrifice quality with cheap materials, neither do we use cheap labour.
Quality is the main concern of our customers.
In order to take advantage of the new metals it is absolutely essential to use the best available magnetic wires, isolation materials and so on. It is also vital to use high precision winding machines and wire tensioners. Due to the many conflicting elements of (the) transformer mechanisms, knowledge and care as well as imagination and courage to experiment with new methods are in demand.
A high quality transformer is a piece of art and craftsmanship, mixed with a little touch of magic.
We are proud to make some of the best transformers in the world.
Bragging is a trademark of Lilienthal Engineering.
Kurt van Lilienthal.