Power Instrument Market: Perspective of China's Power Transformer Products

Recently, ABB, the world's leading power and automation technology group, announced that it will cooperate with China Southern Power Grid Co., Ltd. to design, manufacture and install a converter station for the Yunnan Uzbekistan-Guangdong UHVDC power transmission project. And debug 800 kV UHV DC transformer equipment.

As an internationally renowned power transformer company that ranks among the top 500 companies in the world, this is not the first time ABB has taken the power transformer market in China. ABB even stated that only China has its most complete product line, and other countries have not achieved market coverage from products, components, and services.

This kind of international giant's strong participation in the domestic market competition behind it is on the one hand China's huge potential in the electric equipment market; on the other hand, it also reflects the progress of Chinese companies, especially in terms of quality, domestic power transformers have come The closer to the international level, the international giants have to come up with "watching skills" to compete in the Chinese market.

Quality level is equivalent to foreign products

A power transformer, a stationary electrical device, is a device used to convert an AC voltage (current) of a certain value into another voltage (current) of the same or different value. According to the AQSIQ's results of the third quarter of last year's supervision and spot checks, of the 29 kinds of power transformer products produced by 29 companies in 12 provinces and municipalities directly under the Central Government, 6 products were found to be inconsistent with the requirements of the relevant standards, and the passing rate was 80%. . "This result basically reflects the quality level of the current domestic power transformer industry. It should be said that after so many years of development, the overall level of the domestic transformer industry has basically reached the international first-class level, the quality level and foreign products are almost the same." China Electrical Appliance Industry Association The relevant person in charge of the transformer branch said.

It is understood that the transformer industry that dominates the world's technological high point mainly looks at two figures, product capacity and voltage levels. As early as the "Eleventh Five-Year Plan" period, China was already the world's largest producer and application power transformer, but it was not a power. At that time, only a few companies in China were able to produce ultra-high voltage transformers of 500 kV. The market share of UHV transformers was basically monopolized by foreign giants. With the launch of the first UHV test demonstration project in China, the domestic transformer enterprises ushered in the development opportunity, the product voltage level and capacity leapt to the top in the world, occupied the technical commanding heights of the industry development, and promoted the low voltage transformer The technology continues to mature and improve.

“At present, China has been able to create a world-leading power transformer. As part of China’s power transformer industry, ABB’s transformers manufactured in China have been exported to Europe, Oceania, Africa, Asia and other countries, which fully reflects the fact that Chinese manufacturing has been It is widely recognized.” Jiang Shuwei, manager of distribution engineering department of Hefei ABB Transformer Co., Ltd., told the reporter that ABB has implemented a unified technology platform, production process and standards worldwide. As part of China's power transformer industry, ABB has introduced the most advanced public technology design platform in China more than 10 years ago for both power and distribution transformers.

According to the relevant person in charge of the Transformers Branch of China National Electrical Equipment Industry Association, the direction of transformer development in China is still toward energy-saving, low-noise, fireproof and explosion-proof, and high reliability. There are two main development directions: First, the direction of high voltage and ultra-high voltage. Development, especially 750 kV, 1100 kV. The second is the development of energy-saving and miniaturization. The former is mainly applied to long-distance power transmission and transmission lines, and the latter is mainly used in urban power transmission and transmission lines.

There is still a certain gap between details

According to reports, the development of the transformer manufacturing process mainly combines the characteristics of new products and new structures to develop a process that is compatible with it, and focuses on the development and application of new materials and new equipment in order to continuously improve the quality and reliability of products, but The research and development of these new processes require a lot of capital investment and production costs.

As a major component of the power grid, a power transformer is an industry with light weight and heavy weight, and the material cost accounts for more than 60% of the cost price of the entire product. As the main raw material for transformers, the output of domestic silicon steel sheets is very limited and has been dependent on imports for a long period of time. Transformer companies suffered from insufficient supply of silicon steel sheets. The sudden increase in the price of silicon steel sheets caused many companies to have problems in their survival. In addition, the volatility of copper prices is also a serious problem facing the transformer industry. Due to the long production cycle of transformers, copper prices frequently change during the production process, and the price set at the time of signing a contract is often inconsistent with the actual production price. This is indeed a challenge for a relatively large raw material industry.

It is understood that the current shortage of raw materials and components that restricts the development of transformers has been basically solved, which provides conditions for the transformer industry to develop better. However, there are still certain gaps in details. “The major elbow factor in production equipment for certain distribution transformers in China is the low degree of automation and process assurance of key equipment for transformer manufacturing. Although most production equipment can be domestically produced, it is related to the body/coil mechanical strength. There is a shortage of constant tension home-made winding equipment.In addition, some distribution transformer manufacturers have room for further improvement in terms of efficiency, reliability, and stability.These insufficiency will affect the reliability of the power grid operation and the economic development of the location. Even the daily life of residents has caused a very negative impact, and the maintenance time and cost of the power grid have risen sharply, Jiang Shuwei pointed out.

Prevent overcapacity in the industry

With the rapid development of China's national economy, the demand for electricity is also increasing. As the main equipment in power transmission and transformation systems, transformers have also been developed. Transformer manufacturers and transformer traders have mushroomed.

“The transformer industry currently has a serious excess capacity. I hereby call for not adding new transformer manufacturers.” Relevant person in charge of the transformer branch of the China Electrical Appliance Industry Association solemnly reminded, “At present, China’s only three transformers are electrical transformers, transformers, and transformers. The production capacity of local brands is more than 500 million kVA, plus the production capacity of 500 kV, 220 kV, 110 kV transformer manufacturing and 110 kV product manufacturers, the total in China's transformer industry The production capacity is about 3 billion kVA, and the annual market demand will not exceed 1.3 billion kVA currently."

The consequences of over one-time excess production capacity exceed market demand, leading to increasingly fierce market competition. On the one hand, the profits of enterprises have been declining. In the 1970s and 1980s, the average profit rate of the transformer industry was about 20%, about 8% two years ago. Last year, the average profit rate of products below 500 kV was only From 2% to 3%, many companies have entered the era of negative interest rates; on the other hand, they have hidden dangers in the stability of product quality. Due to the current oversupply of transformers in China, the price competition is extremely fierce, and users are preferred in tendering activities. It is a price factor. Therefore, it is difficult for manufacturers to make a large amount of investment. As a result, the production process cannot be developed. The quality of the product cannot be maintained, and the quality does not increase. The price will not be high and there will be no vicious circle resulting from no profit.

According to the current situation analysis, experts expect that the transformer industry may shuffle this year. In the next few years, companies that fail or fail to obtain orders will be eliminated due to the continuous increase in market demand.