Condition monitoring of medium voltage switchgears is fundamental to increase the reliability of the power grid to guarantee the best services for the community.
The energy demand in high density populated areas is very high and constantly increasing, it is essential and cannot be stopped. Medium Voltage Switchgears represent one of the most vulnerable links in power grid. These type of electrical equipment in operating conditions are subject to overheating due to overload, corrosion, loose connections, and challenging environmental conditions. If neglected, these conditions can lead to failures, resulting in costly damage to switchgear and surrounding equipment, power production loss, and in extreme cases, severe injury or death.
Implementing continuous monitoring gives electric utilities the ability to collect data generated during the switchgear’s normal operating conditions, thereby providing awareness to problems in real time.
Real-time trending during full load electrical stresses, vibration, insulation breakdown, and environmental influences, quickly provides insight into the health of the utility’s asset. Having the ability to monitor and trend the most common failure modes allows for planned maintenance events to assess the health of the asset on time versus running the risk of asset failure resulting in unplanned downtime. Common failure modes include excessive temperature, partial discharge (PD), and humidity. Monitoring these three parameters help to prevent risk of asset failure resulting in unplanned downtime which gives electric utilities the ability to collect data generated during the switchgear’s normal operating conditions, thereby providing awareness to problems in real time.
IntelliSAW – Altanova Group has developed a full range of products including sensors and acquisition units, which allow the monitoring the conditions of critical assets.
Common failure modes are:
- Excessive temperature: circuit breaker, bus bar, and cable connections tend to loosen or corrode, causing thermal failure of the connection and nearby insulation.
- Partial Discharge (PD): voltage stresses on the insulation lead to surface and internal discharges, degrading the insulation between live conductors and ground.
- Humidity: moisture within switchgear can create shorts, or be absorbed by the insulators, leading to insulation breakdown