Connection technology that pays for itself
Pluggable connection technology versus fixed bushing
Flexibility is the byword of our time, yet it poses big challenges for energy network operators. Power transformers are designed to operate for 40 years – a very long period, during which their environment or even their place of installation can change. But with pluggable connection technology, grid operators keep all future options open – at comparable costs. Additionally, there are other advantages, too.
“In the beginning, the goal was to develop better contact technology.” This was the driving idea for Karl Pfisterer when he started out in 1921. Even he would probably be surprised at how far-sighted this statement has proved to be, with regard to the subsequent development of pluggable connections. At present, the only sure thing that can be said about the future of network infrastructure is that the grids are going through radical changes – and nobody knows today exactly what requirements will prevail in any given place 25 years from now. So, planning from the current perspective is challenging, as it needs to be long-term, but also flexible. As populations become increasingly concentrated in growing metropolitan areas, and with the arrival of e-mobility, high voltage is moving into the cities. What currently is mostly happening in substations on the outskirts of town will have to move closer to people and consumers in the future. Grid decentralisation is another challenge that is also taking place in parallel. The adaptability of grid systems is therefore becoming increasingly important so that investments remain future proof as more frequent restructuring becomes likely within the network infrastructure.
Pluggable equals flexible
Karl Pfisterer’s philosophy remains deeply embedded in the PTS Cable Business Unit to this day. As inventors of the inner cone system, their approach of universally pluggable connection technology has proven effective time and again over decades using it with power transformers and switchgear. “But with a view to the future flexibility that these facilities will require, the pluggable technology becomes even more important; unlike fixed bushings, pluggable connections on the transformer give systems a high degree of adaptability for different applications,” explains Eduardo Santana, Director of BU PTS Cable at Pfisterer.