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Re: ordering new kiln -- single or three phase?


From: Marvin Bartel (marvinpb_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Jun 07 2003 - 11:13:58 PDT

What is the difference between the single phase and the three phase
kilns? Amy R.

Very good question. Ask the building electrician or the power company.
Three phase 208 volt is best if your building has three phase wiring
available to the kiln site. However, if the building does not have
208 volt available, it is best to stick to single phase 220 volt.

I was once hired to teach pottery at a university that had purchased
a large three phase kiln in anticipation of hiring a teacher. When I
was hired they decided to place the facility in a building that was
not wired for three phase. They spent three times the cost of the
kiln to have the power company install three transformers for the

Three phase is commonly used in industry because large three phase
electric motors need it. In three phase current the 60 cycles per
second are staggered giving three phase electric motors much more
advantage with less internal winding, making them much cheaper to
build and it increases their output power per unit of energy used.
In resistance heating, as with kilns, the cost of firing is the same
for both types of current. Large schools often have three phase in
order to divide the electrical load or because they have a large
heating and air conditioning system that needs it. Even if the
building has three phases, an electrician should be consulted related
to the best choice for your kiln location.

If this is a new kiln, be sure to locate it where it can be
ventilated properly.

Marvin Bartel