Why Do Industrial Facilities Use Three-Phase Power?

If you walk through an industrial facility, you may not notice the difference in electrical power from the power you use at home. However, electricity that comes from 3 phase transformers is much different than the electricity from your home transformer. Why does industry prefer three phase power? Here are some important reasons why.

What is Three Phase Power?

Large air conditioners, electric ranges, and dryers operate on two hot phases of power in homes. The main circuit is ungrounded, and it uses two hot wires instead of one (as in a typical residential electrical receptacle). Industrial power utilizes 3 phase transformers to create three hot wires which typically are 120/208 and 277/440 volts.

Benefits of Three Live Wires

It’s more economical to use a three phase system because electric power is delivered in a smooth manner. Single phase power is pulsating and not as efficient. For example, three phase equipment can give you more power than a single phase machine of the same size.

Three Phase Induction Motors

The three phase induction motor is a mainstay of many industrial and commercial systems. These motors are very reliable and smaller than single phase motors. They are more efficient too. A three phase motor does not require a capacitor and start windings. Because you have three sources of power from 3 phase transformers, the motors are self-starting.

Smaller Conductors

You don’t need large copper conductors with most three phase systems, and the reason is simple. You have three conductors sharing the same load, and the ampacity for each conductor is less. This gives you smaller components, and you can save a great deal of money on copper wiring. If you want an electrical power system with greater efficiency that is cheaper to operate and maintain, three phase power is the right choice.