AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B ACCREDITED

Electrical Transformer: How Does It Work?

For years, transformers have served as essential elements in electrical power distribution systems for industries, businesses, and homes. Without transformers, it would be necessary to shorten the distance between power plants and the different types of consumers that rely on them. To better understand how a transformer makes electricity distribution more efficient, this blog will outline the working principle of transformers and the different types available on the market.

A transformer is a machine that operates using the principle of electromagnetic induction. Essentially, this means that transformers allow you to increase or decrease the voltage and intensity of an electric current, usually alternating, while keeping the power constant. As such, these machines contribute to the safety and efficiency of electricity distribution systems over long distances, and they serve as the best way to transport an electrical current from the power plant in high voltage.

The major problem with high-voltage current is that current cannot reach homes in this way as it would damage the entire electrical installation and the appliances affixed to it. For this reason, the current must be reduced to tolerable limits in order to be utilized in homes and businesses in a safe way. That being said, transformers carry out distribution work and protect electrical installations.

Transformers are composed of three essential components: the magnetic core, the primary winding, and the secondary winding. In terms of operation, transformers work based on Faraday’s Law of Electromagnetic Induction. Transformers rely on the mutual electromagnetic induction between two circuits connected by a common magnetic link. The mutual induction that occurs between these circuits is what facilitates the transfer of energy from one point to another.

The main winding is connected to the electrical source and supplies the initial magnetic flux. It is worth noting that both coils are isolated from each other. First, the initial electric flux is induced in the main winding, from which the magnetic core passes and is linked to the secondary winding in terms of low reluctance, helping to maximize the connection. The core itself operates like a bridge to retransmit electrical flow to the secondary winding to create a magnetic circuit that completes the current flow.

In some transformer types, the secondary winding can generate an impulse when both windings are wound on the same core, allowing the resulting magnetic field to produce movement. Keep in mind that all types of transformers are equipped with a magnetic core assembled by stacking steel sheets with minimal clearances to guarantee the continuity of the magnetic path.

Different Types of Transformers

There are various types of transformers that serve a myriad of applications. To become familiar with your options, the following section will cover three of the most common transformer variations.

Power Transformer

Power transformers are one of the most widely used types when one needs to increase and decrease the voltage in power plants or substations. Generally, they are operated at full load conditions and conduct high voltages. This transformer encompasses an array of subtypes including laminated core, toroidal, autotransformer, and induction regulator options.

Distribution Transformer

Distribution transformers, also called service transformers, provide the final voltage in an electrical distribution system. In simplistic terms, distribution transformers transform and deliver current to the final consumer. With regards to classifications, they are categorized based on their voltage class, mounting location, insulation type, and whether they are single-phase or three-phase transformers.

Traction Transformer

Traction transformers are typically utilized to transform electricity generated from the traction effect during the movement of trains and then deliver this energy to the electric motors.Other popular transformer types are pulse, RF, IF, and audio transformers.

Safety Tips

Since current transformers handle high voltage, it is important to understand how to avoid accidents. To begin, your transformer should adhere to the requirements set forth in ISO 9001. Then, pre-installation inspections and checks should be carried out to ensure that no strange smells are present and there are no damaged or misplaced parts. When working with transformers, the current input must be disconnected. Anyone working with transformers should wear the appropriate protective equipment and keep an eye on the voltage output indication of the equipment. Other precautions include keeping your transformers away from water or other liquids, and making sure they are grounded to avoid static electricity.


Fastener Orbit is a leading distributor of transformers, electric motors, magnetic circuits, and other related items. With countless options on our database, customers can easily source everything they need with time and cost savings. Get started today and see how Fastener Orbit can serve as your strategic sourcing partner! 


February 19, 2023
December 2, 2022

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