Contactors - The Building Blocks of Electrical Systems
Any appliance that we use today has many nuanced mechanisms that make it function. Advances in the technology of electrical devices usually enhance the basic features of devices. Yet there is one building block that is indispensable to the functioning of any device that utilizes a power source. These are contractors.
Contactors are used to control electrical circuits. Simply put, it is a contractor that enables or disables the connection between power supply and load. These contractors are electrically controlled and often connected to a lower power source. Contactors are used in the control of electricity in electric motors, thermal evaporators, heating appliances, and more. Contactors often come in a wide variety of ranges and sizes. These can be small or large depending on their utility. In the next section, we will explore the evolution of contractors and their use cases.
Different Contractors and Their Utility
- Knife Blade Switch - These are the basic contractors with a simple on and off mechanism. Such contractors are manually operated with the aid of a strip and lever. While Knife Blade Switch Contractors were used earlier, they were discontinued. These contractors were not used owing to their high safety risks and other vulnerabilities that reduced their life span.
- Manual Contactor - This type of contractor was an upgrade from the knife blade switch contractors. Yet these also were operated manually. Smaller size and safer operational systems did help these manual contractors gain popularity for a while.
- Magnetic Contactor - The most advanced contractor used widely today is the magnetic contractor. These are used in industrial applications and are often operated automatically. Since these ensure safe operations, magnetic contractors are the latest contractors that are extensively used.
- Power Contactors - These contractors have 2 different voltage points - the first is for moving the load and the second is for maintaining interlocks. These are used in induction motors, forward and reversing starters, and start/stop operations.
Also Read: Difference between Isolator, RCCB, & MCB
How Contactors Work
We have seen the different types of contractors, now we will explore more about exactly how contractors work.
Contactors are made of 3 core parts or systems these are:
- The coil or electromagnet
- The enclosure or frame.
Each part serves a specific function that ensures the smooth operation of the contractor. Let’s dive deeper into each part of a contractor.
- Coil/Electromagnet - This coil, which is wound around an electromagnet, is what operates the contacts in a contractor. This could have one fixed and one movable part, which creates a spring mechanism. This moving of the spring either disconnects or connects the contacts. The input current in the coil can either be AC or DC.
- Contacts - It is Contacts that carry the current in a contractor. In the previous section, we have explored some contractors. Apart from these auxiliary and contact spring contractors are also widely used. There are very integral specifications that need to be considered when it comes to making Contacts. The material used for making contacts should have high welding resistance, and the ability to withstand erosion and mechanical stress. In cases where a high current is carried by the contactor, a material such as silver-tin oxide is used.
- Enclosure - This outer layer of the contractor acts as a protective guard. This is the shield that protects the coil and contacts from damage from dust, bad weather, hazards, and oil spills. This layer also ensures that people working close to contractors don’t touch the contacts and get hurt.
Schneider Electric - Delivering Quality at Each Step
Contactors are integral to the working of any electrical applications. If a contractor fails, it can affect the entire power chain and cause malfunctions. Hence, it’s key to invest in a good quality contractor that offers high functionality and is cost-effective. Where can you get the best range of 2 pole contactors, 4 pole contactors, and 3 pole contactors? The answer lies in a 19th-century electrical brand that has revolutionized the way devices are manufactured and distributed. The answer lies in Schneider Electric.
The brand is a popular name and one that commands trust. The team at Schneider Electric prioritizes quality, safety, and utility above all else. Today, the brand is spread across every country in the globe and offers a wide range of high-quality products to consumers and businesses. From home automation, home security, installation materials, and more. Their range of products is designed to easily blend into your lifestyle requirements. The 2 pole contactors, 4 pole contactors, and 3 pole contactors are yet another addition to the range of products offered by Schneider Electric. These are built keeping in mind international stands of manufacturing, safety, and quality. You can check their range of contactors to invest in one that meets your requirements and budget needs.