Put a cork in it: Amorim provides key to transformer noise and vibration reduction

Rui Palavra, global technical manager at Amorim Cork Composites, will argue why cork composites are the most effective means of reducing noise and vibrations in transformers at CWIEME Chicago 2017.

From insulative flooring to air-tight bottle stoppers, people are mostly familiar with the common uses of cork. However, the bark of the Cork Oak tree (Quercus suber L) is a far more versatile material than many realise. Cork is a light material that is impermeable to liquids and gases. It is also elastic and compressible, fire retardant, highly abrasion-resistant, and provides great thermal and acoustic insulation. It's also completely biodegradable, renewable and recyclable.


Therefore, it's hardly surprising that companies, such as Amorim Cork Composites, are capitalizing on the material's many strengths. In addition to providing the cork products that many are familiar with, Amorim also provides innovative solutions for a wide range of industries - from construction to transportation to retail to aerospace.

"We combine cork with other materials - such as rubber, foam, textiles - to create composite products for multiple applications," says Rui Palavra, global technical manager at the company. "Our solutions are used as gaskets for sealing motors, anti-vibration pads in buildings, marine decks for yachts and even thermal protection systems for SpaceX."

Amplified noise reduction
One industry that is developing a keen interest in the benefits of cork composites is the transformer industry. "We are currently experiencing very high demand from this area of the market," says Palavra. "It's pretty simple; transformers sell better if they can offer low noise benefits compared to the competition, and cork composites offer a particularly high level of acoustic insulation, when made and applied in the right way."

In the case of transformers, Amorim Cork Composites combines cork with rubber to amplify the acoustic insulation properties. "It's the best of two worlds," says Palavra. "Rubber is a good isolative material and cork is a high dampening material. When this composite is applied in the proper way, it can significantly lower the noise of the transformer."

Similar products to cork and rubber are available on the market. However, what sets Amorim Cork Composites apart is that it don't just sell product; it provides a solution.

"When a customer comes to us and says: ‘We want to reduce the noise output of our transformer', we will try to find a way to solve that problem using our expertize and range of materials," explains Palavra. "In a sense, we see our customers as partners; we work with them to truly understand the design of their product, and provide a solution that is the most effective. After all, we are not experts in transformers, but we are experts in cork and other vibration control materials."

CWIEME Chicago 2017
Rui Palavra will be speaking at CWIEME Chicago 2017, the leading exhibition for coil winding, transformer and electric motor manufacturing, taking place at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center between 3-5 October. Despite having exhibited at many CWIEME exhibitions in the past, this will be the first time Palavra will speak at the event.

His seminar, entitled ‘Noise reduction in transmission and distribution equipment - key techniques in vibration control optimization' will take place between 15:10 - 15:50 on October 3 in the CWIEME Connect Theatre.

"I'm first going to present Amorim's vibration and noise control material solutions, as well as the key techniques that can be used to reduce noise - both theoretically and by using some case studies from previous customers," says Palavra. "I'll then discuss how the solutions have been designed and what the final results were."

Palavra will also present a piece of software that Amorim Cork Composites has developed to help find solutions for noise and vibration requirements.

"Essentially, I want people to understand that Amorim Cork Composites provides solutions, not just materials. I also want to highlight that we can achieve a high level of noise reduction using these vibration control solutions and techniques, and that every customer will receive a bespoke service," he concludes.

Amorim Cork Composites is part of Amorim Group, one of the largest, most entrepreneurial and dynamic multinationals of Portuguese origin. Its origins were in the cork business, back in 1870 and today it is a world leader in the sector. It has plants in Portugal and the USA and sells its products in more than 90 countries worldwide.

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