EREA innovates, creating energy-efficient transformers

EREA innovates, creating energy-efficient transformers

In the hullabaloo of the start-ups hype, we sometimes forget that in Belgium, traditional companies are also capable of innovation. In Wijnegem, in the Antwerp region, a team of some thirty people is manufacturing the world’s most energy-efficient low-voltage transformers. Read the full story here.

Distracted as we are by the start-ups hype, we sometimes forget that Belgium also has traditional companies that are capable of innovating. In Wijnegem, in the Antwerp region, a team of some thirty people is manufacturing the world’s most energy-efficient low-voltage transformers. Founded in 1933, EREA was acquired by two of its engineers, Herman Nollet and Jeroen Goetschalckx, as part of a management buy-out. The two partners have targeted a very specific segment, low-voltage transformers for industrial use (up to about 400 kVA), positioning EREA as Belgium’s market leader.

Their vision is clear: they aim to design and produce the most energy-efficient transformers by relying on advanced R&D. These efforts have paid off, producing their famous “blue e3” product line, e3 being the acronym for “E” to the power of three as in Erea, Energy and Efficiency.

The energy efficiency of a transformer can be improved by limiting losses. The use of higher quality magnetic plate to build the core and larger diameter copper wire for induction coils improves conduction and thus reduces energy losses. However, these improvements do come at a higher price.

Quick ROI

Herman Nollet: “We are always looking for the best balance between manufacturing cost and energy efficiency. The materials needed to make an energy-efficient transformer are more expensive. In terms of ROI, if we compare them with our conventional transformers, the price surcharge of our blue e3 range – in a 24/7 full load regime – is amortized in less than a year, as a result of a lower energy bill. Compared to the transformers of other manufacturers, the ROI can even be as fast as 4 to 5 months.

EREA supplies its products to wholesalers and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The company also exports to more than 40 countries all over the world.

EREA transformers are used in many sectors and industries. One of the fast growing markets for such transformers is the charging stations for electric vehicles. “The company that installs the Tesla charging terminals uses our transformers to meet the car manufacturer’s strict requirements. It is a great reference for an innovative Belgian company like ours,” concludes Jeroen Goetschalckx.

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