SPX Transformer Tour - October 5, 2016

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  • SPX Transformer Tour - October 5, 2016

        On Wednesday, October 5th, 2016, the ASME Milwaukee Section toured the SPX facility in Waukesha at 400 S. Prairie Ave.  Thirty of our members attended including three students—Jordan Black and Ryan Quinn UW-Madison, and Lorne Nix who is attending North Carolina State University on-line.  In addition, three guests from the Public Service Commission attended.

       From the outside, the facility is huge and impressive.  With over 650 employees, the plant covers 449,000 square feet.  Portions of the building are climate controlled to ensure moisture control during production.

       Prior to our tour, Chris Dobner, the HR manager, discussed the corporate structure.  Headquartered in Charlotte, N. C., SPX consists of three divisions— (1) HVAC products; (2) detection, measurement, and technical equipment; and (3) power product lines.  The company has over 6000 employees worldwide in 20 countries with 1000 in the United States.  The largest power transformer they manufacture is rated at 1200 mva and 345 kV.

       For the technical presentation, Dharam Vir, Vice President of Engineering, provided an overview of the operating characteristics of a transformer.  In addition, he described the types and classes of transformers and design considerations.  Also, an overview of the design software was presented.  After a question and answer session, we broke into groups and began the tour.


       During the tour, we witnessed the production process as the tour guides led us thru the plant and described:

    • Two large core cutting machines that sheared .2mm thick steel for the laminations.
    • Three vertical and two horizontal core winding machines.
    • Special climate controlled rooms that applied heat and vacuum to extract the moisture.
    • Assembly of the laminates accomplished manually.
    • Final testing of the transformer.
    • Shipping considerations, in some cases only by rail.
    • Operation of a million pound hoist costing 1 million dollars.
    • The eight million dollar “Faraday Room” used to isolate and simulate lightning strikes and overload conditions.         After the tour, we presented our host with a “Certificate of Appreciation” and ASME Milwaukee polo shirts for their effort.  Also, the tour guides--Chris Plott, Jeff Lex, Matt Kownick and Matt Brian--received ASME coffee mugs.  A sincere thank you to SPX for hosting this tour.

       Next stop—dinner at the nearby La Estacion, a Mexican restaurant.  Our group occupied two railroad cars and enjoyed a complete buffet meal.

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