What better place than Las Vegas - land of a gazillion light bulbs - for Gentec to exhibit its 3-phase converters at the AWFS fair?
Gentec was established in 1991 after general manager Jay Yurgens and engineering director David Rehm couldn't find a quality converter to run CNC and basic shop machinery. After modifying what was available, they decided to produce their own.
The 3-phase converter is a good solution for shops off the 3-phase power grid or put off by the price of adding a 3-phase line. "We get calls from guys every day who get estimates from their utility company stating anywhere from $7,000 up to $1 million to bring 3-phase to their shop. For smaller shops, that's not even worth it. There are also some areas where the utility company just won't bring it to you," says Yurgens.
Gentec offers three types of converters:
Static phase: Described as a very simple starting device that uses a capacitor starting circuit to create torque in a 3-phase motor in order to get it started. Gentec says its static converters "maximize the usefulness of the static converter concept by balancing current using motor-run capacitors in a run circuit, therefore allowing the converter to produce more power for the load." Static converters are limited to lower horsepower motors (typically below 10 hp) and are not capable of providing full power to the load. Gentec's static converters sell for $115 to $300.
Rotary phase: Generate a "third" line of power from a generator motor and combines that with two single-phase lines to produce "true" 3-phase power, according to the company. The rotary converter turns on and idles, then the loads are turned on. Rotary converters are available to power machines ranging from 3- to 60 hp with a single unit, though several rotary units can also be combined. Gentec's rotary converters range in price from $619 to $8,000.
Transformer phase: Start as soon as power is required from the load, making it suitable for dust collectors, air compressors, pumps and fans. "Transformer phase converters run in a solid state condition and have no moving parts as opposed to rotary converters," adds Yurgens.
Gentec's transformer phase converters sell for $629 to $2,649.
All Gentec converters include a built-in motor starter.
"Our business is extremely steady," says Yurgens. "We're seeing more small businesses - guys who start out in residential areas - or shops that have downsized to shops that don't have access to 3-phase power."
Contact: Gentec, 215 S. Park St., Port Washington, WI 53074. Tel: 262-268-9092. www.industrialphaseconverters.com
This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue.