The Manufacturing Problem
The current technique to manufacture electrical contacts that are used primarily in vacuum interrupter switches, is a multi-stage process that is highly energy-intensive and cumbersome. The electrical switchgear industry is highly cost-focused and operates with low profit margins, and as such is continuously looking for cost reduction opportunities. Despite operating margin pressure, the electrical contacts industry has seen little change or improvement to manufacturing techniques in recent years.
A Breakthrough Solution
The Contactmat manufacturing process has as its objective lower cost, higher quality and the production of medium voltage contacts with superior performance levels. Initially, Contactmat manufacturing will include Copper Chromium (CuCr) contacts used in applications up to 145kV. The technology has great scope for product extension, including the ability to manufacture contacts for higher voltage applications, CuAl203-based products for welding and packaging applications and further alloy development.
The global switchgear market is growing at a rate of 5 percent per year with revenues forecast to be U.S. $80 billion by 2020. Contactmat’s addressable market is the global medium voltage contact segment, which is forecast to reach revenues of U.S. $1.35 billion by 2020. Contactmat’s potential to reduce manufacturing costs by up to 30 percent will drive profit margins substantially higher in the traditionally low profit margin contacts manufacturing industry.
The Contactmat technology is a breakthrough innovation that is demonstrating significant competitive advantage to traditional manufacturing processes in the electrical contacts industry. These advantages include:
- Substantially lower cost of production.
- Manufactured contacts have a longer life.
- The process produces alloys of highly consistent microstructure, ensuring a higher quality product with superior performance.
- Lower cost materials are able to be substituted for more expensive metals while delivering performance levels at or above the current standard.