Column: Transformer lifecycle

Column: Transformer lifecycle

Vol. 6 Issue 4

Transformer measurement policies for optimum asset management value


  1. Introduction

Power transformers are crucial components in our systems for transmission and distribution of electrical power. They allow electrical power to be transported at any voltage level, thereby keeping losses limited and networks more stable. For the network manager, the health of the transformer fleet is, first of all, needed to ensure a reliable grid. Secondly, he has to ensure other values such as safety and cost efficiency. For that purpose, the asset manager needs to monitor the condition of the transformers, organize appropriate maintenance, and decide on timely replacement. The asset manager has an abundance of measurement options at his disposal for condition monitoring. One of the challenges the asset manager faces is the development of an adequate set of techniques from a large variety of available options. Another challenge is how to integrate condition assessment in the asset management process in a smart way: how to optimize maintenance processes and replacement decisions, thereby optimally assuring reliability and control over risks and costs. The measuring policy however, will not only depend on the available options, but also on the expected costs and benefits of using condition assessment, and the effectiveness of mitigating risks. Firstly, we will discuss the interaction between asset management and measurements. On the one hand, the results of measurements directly influence asset management decisions, and on the other, the asset manager has to decide which measuring policies to adopt. Secondly, we will present what kind of diagnostic options and measurement policies are at the disposal of the asset manager and discuss a number of relevant choices to be made and aspects to be taken into account.

  1. Asset management

2.1 Asset management background

The core activity of modern asset management is focused on how to safeguard the required performance while controlling risks (against various business values) at acceptable costs. Asset management involves the complete asset lifecycle. In this column, we focus on the operational life of the transformer. In this lifecycle phase, asset management decisions are often related to the condition of the assets. Some examples are:

  • • Aging and maintenance (condition based maintenance, indicators, intervals)
  • • Aging and end-of-life (lifetime extension, replacement, refurbishment, maintenance)
  • • Upgrading and uprating assets