Enhanced Protection & High-Efficiency Transformers for Data Centre & Industrial Applications

Tue, 13 Jun 2023
Enhanced Protection & High-Efficiency Transformers for Data Centre & Industrial Applications

Data centre are high-energy installations that account for almost 4 per cent of Australia’s total energy consumption. As the number of internet users continues to grow, so too does the demand for data centre services, which results in concerns about the industry’s energy consumption and emission of greenhouse gases. The future of data centres in the face of power demand will be much bigger than today, as will the need for reliable and efficient medium voltage equipment to safeguard critical operations.

It is essential that all electrical equipment, including transformers, are specified for this high demand application. EXNOVO improves the reliability and energy efficiency of the data centre through multi-year joint product development and certification effort, which resulted in the GSM transformer. The GSM technology combines the efficiency and reliability of Liquid Insulated Transformer, with the superior safety of the Dry Type Transformer.


The Commission Regulation (EU) directive for efficiencies No. 548/2014, provides the maximum load and no-load loss for Dry Type and Liquid Immersed transformer. The GSM transformer has up to 57% less Total Losses as compared to dry type transformer, which can reduce operating expenses, high cost saving in service life and faster return of investment.

Table 1


GSM transformer allows a reduction in clearances between a transformer and buildings for indoor and outdoor installations. The clearance requirements are defined in AS2067: Substations and high voltage installations exceeding 1 kV [1] and FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets 5-4 [2].

The installed separation distance of the GSM transformer is identical to that of dry type transformers. Both require a separation distance of 0.9m horizontally and 1.5m vertically to other transformer and equipment.

The common approach in the industry is to utilise a dry-type transformer for indoor applications such as a data centre. Dry-type transformers require an enclosure to prevent accidental direct personnel contact. Due to the enclosure and air gaps required, a dry-type transformer is physically larger in size than its liquid-immersed counterpart.


Harmonic in data centre applications can produce additional losses in the transformer, contributing to lower efficiency, overheating problems, and reduced equipment life. The GSM transformer can be overloaded at 120% for up to a 4-hour period without loss of life. In comparison, dry type transformer will experience thermal degradation if overloaded.

GSM transformers are insulated with a fire-safe fluid such as MIDEL 7131 or Cargill FR3, which have better fluid dynamics to cope with the extra heat. This provides superior protection from periodical overloads and cyclical load demand of the data centre.

The dielectric fluid of GSM transformers can be referred to as a self-healing unit that when faced with a temporary partial discharge, the fluid will fill any voids within the insulation. In comparison to a dry type transformer, a small partial discharge will expand and create defects in the insulating material. The partial discharge will then increase the noise level of the dry type transformer and potentially lead to an ultimate failure within the insulation material.


Data centre transformers must be fire safe. IEC 61039 defines a fire safe (K Class) dielectric fluid must have a fire point of over 300 °C. An example of a less/non-flammable fluid used in a GSM transformer is the Midel 7131. MIDEL has been in use since the 1970s and there has not been one reported incident of a transformer fire. This safety record is not matched by dry-type technology.

The GSM transformer is the safest liquid immersed transformer available in the industry. As part of the strict compliance with FM Approval and the Australian Standards, a reference design unit of the GSM undergoes destructive testing, including but not limited to transformer tank strength, pressure resistance, fire suppression capabilities and physical performance. The test aims to eliminate fire and explosion risk, in which the GSM has passed the criteria set out in the standard through the following risk mitigation strategy:

  • Risk Mitigation 1: The use of protection relays and devices to limit low and high-energy faults.
  • Risk Mitigation 2: A patented transformer tank technology to withstand high pressure without rupture.
  • Risk Mitigation 3: The use of a pressure relief device to vent internal overpressure.
  • Risk Mitigation 4: The use of insulating liquid with a high fire point over 300°C (K Class).


There are only two factories in Australasia that are certified to manufacture enhanced protection transformers, such as the GSM, that comply with AS/NZS 60076 and FM Approval Standard 3990.

The GSM is a less-combustible liquid-insulated transformer with Enhanced Protection that complies with the Australian Standard, specifically AS2067. As part of our manufacturing process, the GSM transformer undergoes a rigorous testing process to ensure the equipment meets the highest level of standard in performance, quality and technical integrity which comply with AS/NZS 60076 and FM Approval Standard 3990.


The GSM transformer is specially engineered with superior-grade materials to achieve high energy efficiency and reduce losses. Additionally, the GSM transformer is insulated with a fire-safe dielectric fluid that is non-toxic to the environment and readily biodegradable in 28 days. The self-extinguishing properties of the dielectric fluid greatly minimise the hazard level to nearly zero.

For further information about our range of Transformer with Enhanced Protection, please contact EXNOVO PTY LTD at +61 (8) 6102 2814 or email us at contactus@xnv.com.au or visit us at xnv.com.au.


[1] “Substations and high voltage installations exceeding 1 kV a.c.”, Standards Australia, 2016. [Online]. Available: https://www.standards.org.au/s...–2067-colon-2016.

[2] FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheets 5-4

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