ABB has developed a new power electronic traction transformer (PETT) to reduce the size and weight of on-board components, and increase train energy efficiency.
The new PETT is based on multilevel converter topology that replaces the conventional transformer and inverter combination by using insulated gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) power semiconductors and medium frequency transformers.
ABB power products division head of transformers business Markus Heimbach said that the use of power semiconductors in a core component such as traction transformers opens up new opportunities for rail markets around the world, and should be extendable across a range of other applications.
"In addition to its weight and size advantages, the new power electronic traction transformer (PETT) helps improve efficiency and reduces noise levels," Heimbach said.
A pilot PETT installation is currently under trial on a shunting locomotive for use on the 15kV AC and 1.5kV DC lines at Geneva main railway station, as part of a long-term partnership between Swiss Federal Railway (SBB) and ABB.
The company said the new traction transformer's reduced weight and space required by the equipment will help to create more places for paying passengers.
Over the past ten years, the company has been making design improvements to rail components, in order to build products like roof-installed transformers that reduce the equipment footprint.
Image: ABB's new PETT will help to reduce the size and weight of on-board components, and increase the train's energy efficiency. Photo: ABB.