Dissolved gas analysis utilities become more sophisticated in transformer monitoring and changes in total cost of ownership
LumaSense Technologies, Inc. has published results of its recently completed survey on dissolved gas analysis (DGA) monitoring for transformers. The survey suggests the electrical power industry is becoming more sophisticated at monitoring the performance of transformers, but still lacks cost effective alternatives to allow for a wide scale deployment of this monitoring. The targeted survey conducted from March-June 2012 by LumaSense Technologies, Inc. polled a small sample of power industry professionals from around the world (cf. LumaSense’s LTC / Transformer full survey results: http://www.slideshare.net/lumasenseinc/lumasense-ltc-transformer-survey-results ).
Among the insights of LumaSense’s survey on dissolved gas analysis monitoring for transformers (October 2012):
1. Dissolved-gas analysis (DGA) is becoming a preferred and vital part of utilities‘ asset management strategies as many of them seek to protect and extend the lives of their aging transformer fleets. Nearly 95 percent of respondents said online DGA is important to their monitoring programs.
2. Utilities and transformer makers are transitioning to technology that measures increased types of gases, which indicates the industry is taking steps toward more-sophisticated monitoring philosophies. For instance, most respondents (nearly 70 percent) said they are driving toward multiple-gas analysis of DGA measuring three to nine gases, as opposed to hydrogen only or a total combustible-gas (TCG) reading. Hydrogen and acetylene were selected as the two most-important gases/readings when reviewing DGA results for transformer main tanks.
3. Utilities still lack cost effective alternatives needed to monitor the performance of their transformer fleets: Most respondents indicated that at least 75 percent of transformers in their fleets are not supported by online DGA monitoring, and 65 percent of respondents said they sample transformer oil for lab analysis – one of the more-traditional methods for transformer monitoring – only once or twice a year. Price, onsite service and support and technology used are the three most important factors when considering which online DGA technology to use.
„Many things can go wrong in a year, which reinforces why more utilities are looking for online monitoring solutions versus their typical annual lab analysis,“ said Brett Sargent, LumaSense Vice President and General Manager, in response to the data regarding oil sampling practices. „Transformers are becoming more stressed and are driven harder today. When you combine that with the fact that many transformers are more than 35 years old, it is plain to see why it is so critical to install more online monitoring systems.“
LumaSense conducted the survey in support of the introduction of its SmartDGA line of online DGA products for load tap changers (LTCs) and transformers earlier this year ( http://www.lumasenseinc.com/EN/products/gas-monitoring/dga-for-transformers/ ). Survey respondents confirmed that transformer DGA, winding hot spot and LTC DGA were considered the three most important elements to monitor on transformers. All three elements can be measured using LumaSense Technologies instruments.
Designed to help electric utilities augment condition-based maintenance for transformer and LTC fleets, the SmartDGA line includes three instruments: SmartDGA Gauge, SmartDGA Guard and SmartDGA Guide. The Gauge is designed to monitor dissolved gas within transformer LTCs and is the only dedicated LTC dissolved gas analysis monitor on the market. The Guard and Guide are designed for online DGA monitoring of transformers. The entire line uses industry proven non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) technology to track gases, and is up to 50-percent less expensive than comparable solutions.
SmartDGA Guard e. g. provides reliable early warning diagnostics by dissolved gas analysis and monitoring to prevent transformer failures and can be installed in a matter of a few hours as opposed to days with present systems and can cost 50-percent less than other monitors. The multi-gas instrument measures hydrogen (H2), acetylene (C2H2) and carbon monoxide (CO) for incipient fault detection, as well as moisture. SmartDGA Guard requires no routine maintenance or scheduled calibration, can be mounted single valve or to two valves, and is available with fully integrated communications for Smart Grid deployment.
LumaSense’s SmartDGA solution for dissolved gas analysis monitoring for transformers also represents the power industry’s lowest total cost of ownership with up to 80 percent reductions, which allows utilities to reduce their asset monitoring budgets and capital expenditures while achieving widespread deployment across their transformer fleets ( http://www.lumasenseinc.com/EN/products/gas-monitoring/dga-for-transformers/ ).
About LumaSense Technologies™
For over 50 years, LumaSense Technologies, Inc. ( http://www.lumasenseinc.com ) has provided temperature and gas sensing instruments for the energy, industrial, clean technology and commercial markets. LumaSense is a trusted partner to both end-user and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), drawing on proven technologies and deep industry expertise to develop state-of-the-art infrared and fiber optic temperature sensors, IR pyrometer / thermometer, radiometric thermal imagers, gas analyzers, photoacoustic gas monitors and calibration sources. With offices in Asia, Europe and the Americas, LumaSense is ideally positioned to serve the needs of the energy, industrial and clean technology markets worldwide.
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