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2005 News Release

October 20  Product

October 20, 2005
Hitachi Metals, Ltd.
Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems Co., Ltd.


Development of New Amorphous Alloy
for Next-Generation Amorphous Transformers

—Reduces Electric Loss on Power Distribution—

Hitachi Metals, Ltd. has developed new amorphous magnetic alloy suitable for use in distribution transformer cores.
Employing this new amorphous alloy, Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems Co., Ltd. has developed a next-generation low core loss amorphous transformer— compact and has low audible noise.
Hitachi Metals’ new amorphous alloys and Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems’ next-generation amorphous transformers are contributing to global warming prevention by reducing power loss, and responding to the global rapid increase in demand of electric power.

1. Background of Development

In order to prevent the global warming, reduction of greenhouse gas emission, such as CO2, high energy efficiency and low electric power consumption are urged. In addition to cutting the electricity use, our major challenge is to reduce the power loss generated in transformers*1 during electric delivery from power plants to factories, buildings and houses.
Presently, most transformer cores*2 are made of silicon steel*3, which is one of soft magnetic materials*4. By replacing silicon steel with Hitachi Metals’ amorphous alloy*5 , power loss of transformer cores can be lowered. Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems is Japan’s first manufacturer that developed and launched the amorphous industrial transformer using amorphous alloys, which is complied with Top Runner Program*6, in 1997. Since then, Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems has been cultivating the diffusion of the amorphous transformers as the pioneer.
Although the amorphous transformers already had great advantages in energy-saving, it was needed to develop the next-generation amorphous transformer that would be more compact and have lower audible noise.

2. Development Overview

In comparison with Hitachi Metals’ conventional iron based amorphous alloy “2605SA1,” the newly developed amorphous alloy 2605HB1 has a higher magnetic flux density*7 and lower iron loss*8 ,and reduces the audible noise of transformers.
Employing this new amorphous alloy, Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems has developed a next-generation low-loss amorphous transformer for power distribution. Because the next-generation amorphous transformer uses smaller core than conventional amorphous transformer, it can be installed in same area as the silicon steel transformer.Plus, it can reduce audible noise.
Hitachi Metals and Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems have been cooperating in research and development related to the respective fields of amorphous material and transformers. As per amorphous metal and its applications, the world market is expected to expand primarily centered on transformers, which support electrical power infrastructure. We will continue our research and development activities, and play a role in the fight against global warming.
New amorphous alloy(Hitachi Metals) New amorphous core(Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems) (reference) Amorphous transformer(Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems)
New amorphous alloy
(Hitachi Metals)
New amorphous core
(Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems)
(reference) Amorphous transformer
(Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems)

3. Features

1) Hitachi Metals’ new amorphous alloy;
  a) Contributes to the trend toward more compact, lighter transformers
New amorphous alloy has 5% higher saturation flux density than previous one.
  b) Cuts power loss in transformers, contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
Decreases iron loss by 10%
Properties New amorphous alloy Conventional amorphous alloy
Saturation Flux Density Bs (T) 1.64 1.56
Iron Loss: Pc(W / kg) at 50 Hz, 1.3T 0.063 0.07
2) Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems’ next generation amorphous transformer;
  a) A compact, low-loss transformer
Leveraging the high saturation flux density, the core size has been reduced, requiring less floor space
  b) A quieter transformer
Employing the new amorphous alloy, operating audible noise is cut by 10 dB

4. Use/Applications

Hitachi Metals’ new amorphous alloy
  • Industrial Transformer Cores
  • Power Distribution Grid Transformer Cores
  • Various Inductor Cores aside from Transformers

5. Patent Applications

Hitachi Metals: 2
Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems: 1

6. Sales Plan

1) Hitachi Metals’ new amorphous alloy
Fiscal 2006: Commencement of sample shipments, ¥700 million
Fiscal 2007: ¥1,500 million
Fiscal 2008: ¥2,500 million

2) Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems’ next-generation amorphous transformer
Fiscal 2006: Sample shipments
Fiscal 2007: ¥2,500 million
Fiscal 2008: ¥3,500 million

7. Responsible Business Divisions

1) Hitachi Metals’ new amorphous alloy
Soft Magnetic Materials Company, Hitachi Metals, Ltd.

2) Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems’ next-generation amorphous transformer
Power Distribution & Environmental Systems Division, Business Operations Group, Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems, Co., Ltd.

Customer Inquiries
    Osamu Ikemoto
Planning Department
Soft Magnetic Materials Company
Hitachi Metals, Ltd.
TEL: +81-3-5765-4060
    Shuuichi Nagai or Yasumasa Hayashi
Power Distribution & Environmental Systems Division
Business Operations Group
Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems, Co., Ltd.
TEL: +81-3-4345-6076
Press Inquiries
    Toshinori Hata
Corporate Communications
Hitachi Metals, Ltd.
Inquiry Form
    Seiichi Sato
Business Administration & Planning Group
Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems, Co., Ltd.
TEL: +81-3-4345-6605

Reference: Explanation of Terms

*1 Transformer

Transformer is the device that boosts or decreases the voltage of alternating current. Substations employ large transformers, with those utilized for extra-high voltage whose weight sometimes reaches to 500 tons. Utility poles are equipped with pole mounted transformers that reduce voltage to 100 or 200 volts and deliver electricity to homes, small retail shops and small factories.

*2 Core

As a general example, an iron rod is wound with insulated copper wire (conductive wire), and when electric current is applied to the conductive wire, the process of electromagnetic induction magnetizes iron, which then does the same work as magnetic material. If the electric current is stopped the iron loses its magnetic force. In transformers, the core functions as this iron rod. To temporarily use a substance as a magnet is termed “magnetization.”

*3 Silicon steel

The soft magnetic material most commonly used in transformers is a crystalline material composed of iron and silicon.

*4 Soft magnetic material

When electric current is applied to a coil (conductive wire in a spiral), magnetic force and a magnetic field are produced. Only when electric current is applied to a coil with a core (e.g. only when a core is inside of a magnetic field) does that material become magnet, and this is called soft magnetism. Materials with soft magnetism are called soft magnetic materials. These are also deemed magnetic core material or iron core material. Typical materials include silicon steel, amorphous alloy, nanocrystalline soft magnetic materials, permalloy, Fe-Si-Al alloys, and soft ferrite.
In contrast, material that has been once magnetized and continues to keep that magnetism indefinitely despite the removal of the magnetic field is called a permanent magnet (or hard magnetic material). Common examples are rare earth magnets, such as Nd-Fe-B and Sm-Co, and hard ferrites.

*5 Amorphous alloys

Ordinary metals are crystals, of which the atom arranged orderly. When rapidly cooled from a liquid (high-temperature solution) state, however, the substance is hardened and the atom alignment remains in a disorderly atomic arrangement similar to that of the liquid state resulting in amorphous metal. Compared with crystalline metals, amorphous metals are more ideal as soft magnetic materials. Iron-rich amorphous metals have properties highly suited for use in cores, such as a high magnetic flux density and a nature that is easily magnetized by small magnetic fields. Aside from their use in transformers, these are also utilized for noise suppression in magnetic components.

*6 Top Runner Program

Japan’s Top Runner Program establishes the performance of the most-advanced devices currently produced as The Top Runner Standard for specific energy consuming devices designated under the Energy Conservation Law. This program promotes incrementally improving the energy efficiency of devices in set target years.

*7 Magnetic flux density

Magnetic flux density is the degree of magnetism that a material has when it is magnetized. The greater the value, the more the size of the core can be reduced. Saturation flux density is a concrete indicator of magnetic flux density, is the standard measure of the performance of magnetic materials, and indicates the upper limit in magnetization to which a substance can be magnetized.

*8 Core loss

When a core is placed in a magnetic field that is alternating at a certain frequency, the core’s magnetic pole repeatedly reverses between the north and south poles. The energy that is lost at the point of polar reversal is termed core loss (alternatively, iron loss).
As long as a transformer is connected to the grid, the greater the core loss, the greater the loss of energy becomes. In order to decrease core loss, the soft magnetic property of the core material must be improved.

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