The contacts are the current-carrying part of the contactor. This includes power contacts, auxiliary contacts, and contact springs. The electromagnet (or “coil”) provides the driving force to close the contacts. The enclosure is a frame housing the contacts and the electromagnet. Enclosures are made of insulating materials such as Bakelite, Nylon 6, and thermosetting plastics to protect and insulate the contacts and to provide some measure of protection against personnel touching the contacts. Open-frame contactors may have a further enclosure to protect against dust, oil, explosion hazards and weather.
Magnetic blowouts use blowout coils to lengthen and move the electric arc. These are especially useful in DC power circuits. AC arcs have periods of low current, during which the arc can be extinguished with relative ease, but DC arcs have continuous high current, so blowing them out requires the arc to be stretched further than an AC arc of the same current. The magnetic blowouts in the pictured Albright contactor (which is designed for DC currents) more than double the current the contactor can break, increasing it from 600 A to 1,500 A.
Sometimes an economizer circuit is also installed to reduce the power required to keep a contactor closed; an auxiliary contact reduces coil current after the contactor closes. A somewhat greater amount of power is required to initially close a contactor than is required to keep it closed. Such a circuit can save a substantial amount of power and allow the energized coil to stay cooler. Economizer circuits are nearly always applied on direct-current contactor coils and on large alternating current contactor coils.
A basic contactor will have a coil input (which may be driven by either an AC or DC supply depending on the contactor design). The coil may be energized at the same voltage as a motor the contactor is controlling, or may be separately controlled with a lower coil voltage better suited to control by programmable controllers and lower-voltage pilot devices. Certain contactors have series coils connected in the motor circuit; these are used, for example, for automatic acceleration control, where the next stage of resistance is not cut out until the motor current has dropped.
Post time: Dec-01-2019