Be it single-phase or 3 phase power, most folks aren’t too concerned so long as whatever item is plugged in works. But is the item being powered running in an optimal way?
Single-Phase Power vs Three-Phase Power
The electricity used in most homes is usually single-phase in nature. Voltage rises and falls as it flows, hitting peaks (high & low) during each part of the cycle. The cycle repeats itself sixty times per second. This is where the terminology of ’60-cycle’ current comes from. Single-phase power works very well for homes for the type of appliances & consumer electronics used in the average residential setting.
On the other hand, three-phase power is composed of (3) single-phase currents operating at once. Each current moves in the same peaks noted above, but they do so at different times. As such, wavelengths in the current are closer together, making the power generated more consistent. The advantage of consistent power is improved performance in devices & machinery with larger horsepower & larger electrical loads.
Why Make the Switch?
The investment in more efficient three-phase power has other real-world advantages. For example:
The Smart Home – As residences become more connected and have more devices drawing more energy on a daily basis, the need to have a consistent source of power becomes greater. With improved consistency comes improved performance.
Data Centers – Consistency in the power being provided is of critical importance to firms specializing in data & information. Keeping their infrastructure at optimal performance over time is vital to the companies they serve.
Less Power, Same Results – Three-phase power is more streamlined, so less power can be used to produce the same results. This is a boon to companies looking to see improvements in their energy efficiency without seeing a decline in their production.
Industrial/Manufacturing Settings – Because of three-phase power’s consistency, machinery can run longer & not be prone to downtime.
Better Performance of Media – Larger venues like sports stadiums benefit from using three-phase power in a unique way — they can be shot by slow-motion cameras better. These types of cameras capture multiple frames per second. If they were filming in an area using single-phase power, they’d be able to capture the lulls in the cycle, giving off a flicker. Three-phase power creates a consistency that allows slow-motion capture technology to produce a consistent image.
Finally, one of the premier advantages of 3 phase power is the savings on capital expenditures. Systems using three-phase power don’t experience much in the way of outages. This means that equipment is able to run longer without needing to be replaced as often.
Click here for more insight into the advantages of 3 phase power for your industrial/mechanical operations from CCI Culberson Engineering & Construction.