Every business decision should involve some long-term thinking. Spending more for a quality product can end up being a more cost-effective decision in many cases. You probably know this is true for plenty of things, but what about transformers? Not all transformers are created equal. Some transformers can drain you financially, while higher-quality ones can help you save money over time.
Transformer Life Cycle Analysis
When you’re price-comparison shopping, your first thought may be to look for the product that comes with the lowest price tag. However, experienced shoppers know there’s a lot of truth to the adage, “You get what you pay for.” This principle certainly holds true when it comes to transformers. Some transformers may seem like a great deal at first, but you’ll think differently if the transformer ends up costing you through inefficient operation or premature breakdowns.
If all you look at is the initial purchase price of transformers, you won’t get an accurate idea of how much they’ll cost over the course of their service life. That’s why you should consider a transformer’s life cycle cost, also called total owning cost. In addition to the initial purchase price, a transformer’s total owning cost includes ongoing operating and maintenance costs.
By factoring in these costs, you may find a transformer with a lower price tag will actually cost you more in the long run than a higher-quality option with a higher price tag. In addition to adding all the costs involved, you should divide these costs by the years the transformer is expected to last. This exercise will show just how much lower costs can be when you opt for a transformer with a longer life span.
Why Cheap Transformers Fail
We’ve observed three main issues that cause seemingly more affordable transformers to fail:
- Poor craftsmanship: Transformers that are made by assembly machines may end up with weaknesses that get missed and lead to issues, including total equipment failures.
- Low-quality materials: The quality of materials used in a transformer is also important. A manufacturer’s material of choice for insulation and wire can make or break a transformer’s longevity.
- Inferior design: The design — specifically, how the coils are wound around a transformer’s core — has a major effect on a transformer’s durability over time.
You can avoid these problems when you choose a higher-quality transformer created by expert craftspeople using only the best materials and designs. You’ll pay more for one of these transformers, but you can feel confident that your transformer will last longer and cost you less over time.
How Cheap Transformers Cost You Over Time
When you settle for a cheap transformer, you can expect to run into the issues above. These issues can force you to incur some serious costs that ultimately make the budget choice less cost-effective. There are some direct and indirect sources of cost to consider. The most notable direct costs include:
- Wasted energy: The Department of Energy (DOE) sets standards for what constitutes a highly efficient transformer. Transformers that don’t meet or exceed these standards are known to experience energy losses you could avoid with an efficient model, racking up higher operating costs over time. The DOE notes that while energy-efficient transformers tend to have a higher purchase price, they also tend to be more cost-effective long-term.
- Repairs: Transformers that are made with inferior materials or a lack of craftsmanship can also experience more problems that necessitate frequent repairs. The cost to repair a transformer depends on the issue it’s experiencing and the solution needed to fix it. Whatever the problem, these are costs you could avoid with a transformer that offers more dependable service.
- Replacements: Even more costly than repairs is the cost to replace a transformer that has reached the end of its productive service life. The expected life of transformers is often between 25 and 40 years, so it may surprise you if a transformer you bought just a decade ago seems beyond help. This scenario can occur when you get an unreliable product, especially if it’s poorly installed, landing you with the unexpected expense to get a new transformer.
These costs are likely enough reason to choose your transformer wisely, but the costs don’t stop there. There are also indirect costs you may have to deal with when a cheap transformer fails. This might include costs associated with:
- Unplanned downtime
- Damaged company reputation
- Regulatory fines
- Civil litigation
If you’re currently dealing with a failing transformer, an emergency replacement can help you keep indirect costs to a minimum by getting you back up and running quickly. In the end, that lower-cost transformer can prove to be more costly than you imagined.
Benefits of High-Quality Transformers
Spending more to purchase a high-quality transformer is a forward-thinking business decision. With a better transformer, some of the benefits you’ll enjoy include:
- Higher efficiency: With an energy-efficient transformer, you’ll experience lower energy losses, which means lower operating costs. This is also a more environmentally responsible choice, which is important for companies trying to minimize their environmental footprint.
- Increased reliability: Anyone who has driven an old car that requires frequent trips to the mechanic knows how great it feels to drive a vehicle that’s truly dependable and only needs basic preventive maintenance. The same principle applies with transformers. With a well-made transformer, you can count on it to work as it should without frequent, unplanned maintenance needs.
- Longer life span: One of the biggest benefits of a high-quality transformer is that it will last longer. This is a key part of what makes these transformers more cost-effective. Instead of spending another chunk of money to replace a transformer that failed too soon, that initial purchase price will get you more years of dependable service life.
- Lower costs overall: Lower operating and maintenance costs, plus all the indirect costs you avoid with fewer equipment breakdowns, add up to some substantial savings over time. You can also go a lot longer before replacing your transformer.
Get Transformers That Are Made to Last From ELSCO Transformers
When you want a transformer crafted with more than a century of expertise and an unending commitment to quality, trust ELSCO Transformers. Our medium-voltage dry type transformers are reliable and come with an industry-best warranty. Plus, we can repair transformers of any make or model. If you need a replacement transformer on a budget, we can help you find a cost-effective solution you can afford, possibly even a reconditioned or remanufactured transformer we’ve inspected and certified.
If you have questions about how we can help you with your transformer needs, call us at 800-232-9002 or contact us online.