HomeRegional NewsAfricaHow to deal with aging transformers

How to deal with aging transformers

Transformer assets are a long-term investment and as such there is a growing number of aging assets now challenging the delivery of high network reliability; however, through on-site condition analysis (ArmCoil’s OSCA system) positive results can be achieved.

It is essential to monitor transformer operating conditions, the insulation system, and the working condition of accessories other components in efforts to extend the ‘life’ and reduce the costs of these strategic assets.

The characterisation of faults and defects during the asset’s life cycle period – and the presentation of proposals for improvements in the predictive technique, aimed at reducing the number of stoppages in the electric power supply system – are expected to contribute to the body of knowledge in this field. The term ‘stoppage’ indicates that the service of a piece of equipment was interrupted; specifically meaning that it was removed from operation due to a defect or fault.

Several studies undertaken highlight the importance of optimising maintenance processes and diagnoses of substation equipment such as transformers. In these studies, from universities and engineers in Brazil and India who struggle with similar situations to those faced in subSaharan African countries, the prevailing question raised is whether to replace or maintain the unit until failure.

Stoppages can be properly managed through planning ahead and based on informative decisions. The aim is to prevent unplanned stoppages, thereby supplying electricity uninterrupted to emergency facilities such as hospitals and large businesses; infrastructure such as railways and other large users of power; and domestic users.

Optimising assets within budget is possible

The situation becomes even more troubling when it comes to power transformers. Taking into account the age of electrical grids across the world, there are many countries in which these transformers are approaching their ‘end of life’. This means that the transformers are urgently in need of being optimised through higher availability and reliability.

However, due to ever increasing pressure to decrease costs, managers are continuously searching for alternatives to reduce the associated life cycle costs of installed assets and thereby improve the return on investment (ROI) of this equipment. This is normally achieved through the lowest possible cost and with a minimal environmental impact.

With this in mind, ArmCoil developed the on-site condition analysis (OSCA) service to provide cost effective solutions for a complete range of solutions to meet the demand for optimising the performance of transformers through the asset’s prolonged life cycle. OSCA service is supported by the company through many years of experience in the repair and manufacturing of transformers across South Africa and into Africa. This enables ArmCoil’s qualified employees to service transformers very effectively and quickly on almost any installation.

More than a once-off service

Prolonging and optimising the extent of the transformer life cycle and performance through higher availability and reliability is achievable through the OSCA service as informed decisions produce the best results. This is why ArmCoil offers a costeffective and unique solution for on-site condition analysis.

This analysis is useful in that it can be used to reduce insurance premiums; and the reliability of the assets is also determined through the service events exclusive to ArmCoil’s OSCA service. Of strategic importance are the quarterly or annual recommendations that are proposed for monitoring purposes, oil sampling and asset replacement for this phase.

Undertaking these phases will achieve the desired results of reducing expenditure on routine inspections through the use of ArmCoil’s mobile technicians. ESI

About  the author

Morné Bosch is the general manager for sales and marketing at ArmCoil, a privately owned South African leading supplier and repairer of transformers and electric motors. With over six years’ experience in the transformer industry, Morné is passionate about local manufacturing, skills development, job creation and above all providing a reputable service. www.armcoil.co.za


Babalwa Bungane
Babalwa Bungane is the content producer for ESI Africa - Clarion Events Africa. Babalwa has been writing for the publication for over five years. She also contributes to sister publications; Smart Energy International and Power Engineering International. Babalwa is a social media enthusiast.