The Power of Direct Current in Industry Today

The comparison between AC power and DC power can be boiled down to another historic rivalry: Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. Edison is the inventor supporting DC (direct current) power while Tesla is the engineer behind AC (alternating current) power. The storied debate between the two, known as the “War of the Currents”, dates back to the late 1800s. According to Energy.gov, when DC power was first developed, it could not be easily converted to higher or lower voltages, leading to the development and widespread adoption of AC power.

Nowadays, the uses for AC and DC power are very different. AC power is typically used for distribution for consumers, in home and small commercial applications, while Direct Current power is primarily used for heavy industrial applications. This is where PCTI steps in. Our power supplies are manufactured for a wide range of industries and can handle DC power applications from 10 kilowatts to 15 megawatts.

Where specifically can DC power be found today? There are a variety of applications and industries that require Direct Current power, and it’s able to make anything from chemicals to cookies. Most applications employ industrial DC power supplies that convert AC power into a DC form that is used specifically for that particular application. In order to get DC power, you need to have an AC to DC power supply; there are many output voltages and current combinations that are then specific to an application. While applications are wide ranging, some common ones include:

Transportation: DC substations are applicable for subways and electrical buses, as well as locomotives.

Steel and specialty metal manufacturing: Oftentimes, steel manufacturing plants can be retrofitted for DC power, enabling an increased efficiency. For example, we worked with a specialty steel company and replaced old DC power supplies with more efficient power supplies, saving them $600,000 a month in utilities.

Metal finishing and plating: This process requires very low voltages and very high currents.

Industrial battery charging: DC power can found in anything from electric vehicles to backups for relay stations, internet servers, and other critical applications.

It’s clear that DC power is here to stay, and becoming more used throughout the heavy industrial market. Our DC power supplies are equipped to handle whatever combination of output voltage and current you may need.

About PCTI

PCTI designs and manufactures leading edge power electronic equipment in the highest power ranges. PCTI’s engineering staff has in-depth knowledge in the key areas of power conversion such as power semiconductor analysis and application, thermal exchange, magnetic design, packaging, DSP (digital signal processor) control for inverters, frequency converters, DC power supplies, battery chargers and dischargers. PCTI is a certified DBE woman-owned business. Contact us for more information on our products, applications assistance, or pricing.