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3-phase vs. 6-phase power transmission systems

Posted on by Matt Passannante

Power transmission systems can have multiple types of phases. Two common designs are three-phase and six-phase systems. As Kurz Industrial explains, there are key differences between the two types of transmission, which are designed for use in commercial and industrial settings.

What is a Three-Phase Transmission System?

A three-phase transmitting system is a system that uses three wires to deliver power to the end consumer. The most basic type of power transmitting system is the single-phase power supply, which is commonly used to provide power in residential settings. Because they have a higher load capacity, three-phase transmitting systems are frequently used in heavy-duty commercial and industrial applications. Three-phase transmitting systems have three wires with an AC signal that is spaced apart by 120 electrical degrees. Three-phase electric transmitting systems are generally more efficient due to their high capacity. They also have a predictable power supply with the capacity to deliver electricity at a consistent and steady rate. Three-phase systems often have three wires, although some configurations have four wires instead.

What is a Six-Phase Transmission System?

Six-phase power transmitting systems are sometimes called multiphase transmitting systems. They have the potential to deliver a greater transmitting capacity compared to three-phase transmitting systems. Six-phase transmitting systems will have, on average, about 1.7 times the power capacity of a three-phase system. Six-phase power transmission systems contain multiple components, including a generator, transformer, and multiple transmission lines. Some transmitting systems may have multiple transformers to meet their load capacity.

Although both three-phase and six-phase systems are used for power delivery in commercial and industrial settings, six-phase systems are used to supply the heaviest power loads. Six-phase power supply systems are more commonly used in local settings for power supply. They are not as efficient as three-phase systems, which makes three-phase transmission systems a better choice for larger and more consistent energy supply needs. Additionally, six-phase power supply systems endure heavier power loads, which can be more taxing on the equipment used to keep them operating at full capacity. Therefore, service and maintenance costs are often higher with six-speed transmission systems compared to three-phase power supply systems. Sometimes it is possible to convert a three-phase system into a six-phase system. If even more power is needed, operators can also get a heavy-duty 12-phase system for an even greater power capacity.


Three-phase and six-phase electric supply systems have differing applications. Three-phase systems are used in a range of industrial and commercial buildings. Six-phase systems are commonly used in equipment and machinery. The concept of high phase transmission was introduced in the early 1970s, and it has gained traction since with many utility companies. A power supply company in Pennsylvania, for instance, which is the Allegheny Power Service Corporation (APS), has adopted the six-phase power supply system for its primary method of electric power delivery.

Kurz Industrial can provide all the details that you need to know about three-phase power transmission systems and six-phase power supply systems. Contact the expert staff today for more details about how the two systems compare and their optimal uses.

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