Insulators are a vital component of an electrical circuit because they ensure the safety of the entire electrical installation. In a production plant, insulators are one of the most underappreciated electrical elements. It’s easy to forget about them, and they’re only remembered when they stop working properly.
What are Electric Insulators?
An electrical insulator is a device that prevents electrons from freely flowing through itself. Their atoms have tightly bound electrons and no free flow of internal electric charges. Only a small amount of electric current can pass through it when it is influenced by an electric field. On the other hand, other materials, like semiconductors and conductors, can easily conduct an electric current. An insulator’s resistivity distinguishes it from semiconductors and conductors. The resistivity of insulators is higher than that of semiconductors or conductors. The most popular examples are non-metals.
Electrical conductors in electrical equipment are supported and isolated by insulators, which do not allow current to pass through them. They connect power distribution networks to electric poles and distribution towers. They handle the load of the hanging wires while blocking the flow of electricity from the tower to the ground.
Types of Insulators
The most common forms of insulators are as follows:
- Pin insulator – They are attached to a pin on the pole’s cross-arm. They separate a connecting wire from physical substructures like a pin on a distribution tower. The glass or porcelain have been used to make that.
- Post insulator – Post insulators are used to protect bus bars in transformer substation yards, as well as breakers and capacitor banks in switch-gear. They can bend, experience torsion, and other compressional forces during operation.
- Suspension insulator – An overheated transmission line is protected like a conductor by a suspension-style insulator. It is usually made of porcelain and consists of a single or a series of insulating discs suspended from a tower.
- Strain insulator – It is used when a straight portion of the line comes ends or bends in another direction, a dead-end, an anchor pole, or a tower. The horizontal stress of the straight segment of wire is handled by these poles. They endorse signal boosters and overhead power lines and are used in overhead electrical equipment
- Shackle insulator – A shackle insulator is a low-voltage insulator that is used in distribution networks. A spool insulator is another name for this insulator. These insulators may be used in either horizontal or vertical configurations.
Bushing – They allow numerous conductors to move through a blockade while remaining separated from any conducting substance.
Materials Used as Insulators
Mostly, insulators for high-voltage power transmission are composed of glass and porcelain. Composite polymer materials are also being used nowadays. Clay, quartz, alumina, and feldspar are used to make porcelain insulators, which are finished with a smooth glaze to make the whole thing waterproof.
Some energy suppliers have recently begun to use polymer composite materials for certain types of insulators. The benefits of composite insulators include -are cheaper than most other materials, are lighter in weight, and are mostly resistant to water. Because of this combination, they are ideal for use in contaminated areas.
Electric Insulator Market-Overview
Electric insulator market demand is expected to grow at a CAGR of about 7.81 percent between 2020 and 2025, according to predictions. Energy companies are upgrading their networks to meet the rapid adoption of renewable energy and distributed technologies.
The Transmission and Distribution (T&D) infrastructure is going to grow meteorically in the years to come. And as a result, higher demand for electric insulators is also expected. The increased use of underground cables in T&D networks over overhead cables is expected to reduce demand for electric insulators in the long term
As of 2018, ceramic and porcelain made up a significant portion of electrical insulators. They are used in conditions that require physical strength of a very high degree.
Africa has outlined a lofty goal of universal grid electricity connectivity by 2025, with a strong focus on sustainable and clean energy alternatives. There is a huge potential for T&D infrastructure development as a result of the combination of global access to electricity and the Power Africa initiative. In turn, it will increase prospects for electric insulator manufacturers.
Asia-Pacific is expected to keep its dominance in the years ahead. Electricity consumption is increasingly growing in the region as a result of expeditious urbanization and industrialization.
The renewable energy industry is assumed to sustain to swell up too. It will continue with China averaging more than 40% of international sustainable power by 2022. This is expected to boost the demand for T&D infrastructure for delivering renewable energy to end-users. The electrical device market which includes electrical insulators as well is anticipated to grow as well.
India’s T&D spending has risen dramatically as a result of increased power generation capacity and the privatization of the distribution network. More than 25,000 ckm (circuit kilometers) of power lines were placed into action in the 2017 fiscal year. It exceeded the annual target of 23,384 ckm set for 2016-17 by 100.9 percent, triggering an increase in demand for electric insulators.
In Japan, on the other hand, the number of electric vehicle charging stations has risen dramatically. It touched 27,000 in Q1 of 2018. This resulted in a surge in demand for electric insulators.
As a result, factors such as the integration of alternative energy sources are projected to lead the way for the electric insulator market in the region in the coming years. The expansion of current T&D networks and the deployment of electric vehicle charging stations are also helping in the same.
Over the next few years, demand for different forms of insulators and electric insulator market is expected to skyrocket. This is due to the global transition to renewable energy sources and the adaptation of e-vehicles. With the majority of global growth patterns, the APAC field is in the lead. The market benefits from the increased electricity supply, rapid industrialization, urbanization, and the expansion of T&D infrastructures at the grassroots level.