T&M plays a considerable role in the power sector. It helps certify, calibrate and assess the quality and reliability of power equipment.
India has a huge number of transmission and distribution projects in the pipeline. According to the Central Electricity Authority, around 123,000 ckt.km of transmission lines, 400,000 MVA of AC transformation capacity and 13,000 MW of HVDC substations are currently under construction and will be commissioned in the span of 4-5 years. The interregional transmission capacity is planned to be increased from 78,050 MW at present to 118,050 MW by 2022. In addition, several distribution utilities are planning to reinforce and enhance their networks, and install smart meters as part of the various government schemes.
In the milieu of such large capacity addition and the increasing deployment of advanced technology in the sector, the demand for testing and measurement of critical equipment like switchgear and transformers is likely to rise. Further, the escalating reliability and safety concerns call for innovative maintenances strategies and T&M techniques.
Need of T&M equipment in achieving efficient T&D network
Balasaheb Doiphode, CEO, T&M Business, SCOPE T&M Pvt. Ltd says, “For T&D network to be efficient, each component of this network needs to be efficient. The transmission / distribution lines, substation equipment like transformers, circuit breakers, isolators, surge arresters, current & potential transformers all need to be healthy & efficient.
By using suitable testing, measuring and monitoring instruments we can assess the current health, losses or leakages and correctness of operational performance parameters of various line and substation equipment. Early detection of defects or deviations enables corrective actions avoiding possible breakdowns which severely affect the availability & hence efficiency of T&D network, he adds.
Today various off-line T&M tools as well as on-line monitoring tools are available for critical equipment like transformers, circuit breakers and surge arresters. From simple tools like Low Resistance Meters (for CBs, isolators, transformers, earth & tower footing resistance, bus bar and other joints) to sophisticated non-invasive condition assessment tools like DCRM (Dynamic Contact Resistance Meter) are being put to good use by substation engineers for assessing & reducing the losses and taking grid towards efficiency, examines Doiphode.
Kalidas Bhangare, Managing Director, Testo India Pvt. Ltd says, “In the last few years we have seen a considerable technology shift in the T&M sector. Now with digital being the new trend the advancements are overwhelming. The traditional methods and processes are now getting replaced with smart solutions, governed with just one click of the smartphone. This leap has far reaching consequences in the empowerment of T&D network and power sector.”
During the installation phase of any power plant the T&M equipment are very much required and used in setting up benchmark parameters for various process tags. They are very crucial in the T&D segment as they enable predictive & preventive inspections minimise the risks of accidents or system breakdown. One can as well derive the optimum efficiency of each power infrastructure equipment and record the measured parameter values by using T&M equipment for future use looking in to consistency in optimum operation and for all kinds of trouble shooting jobs.
T P Singh, Director-Emerging Markets, Instruments, FLIR Systems India Pvt. Ltd says, “Efficient electrical T&D network is backbone for today’s economy. Robust and efficient T&D network will ensure desired Indian growth. One of the critical factors to ensure efficiency in this system is preventive maintenance and faster repairs. Preventive maintenance may help to predict the problems which may arise in future and may provide longer lead time to fix the problems. To achieve this result, T&M instruments play a very important role.”
The T&M instruments are also used for efficient testing and maintenance of electrical substations ranging from 16.5 kV to 765 kV including 220 kV and 400 kV. These instruments include Products like thermal camera, transformer testing equipment, relay testing, multimeters, clamp meters etc. Sudden failures & unplanned shutdowns can be avoided by using good quality test & measurement tools, adds Singh.
Milind Thekedar, Managing Director, JBS Enterprises Pvt Ltd says, “There is ‘Never Before’ type of need of T & M equipment today. The main reason is energy transmission & distribution activity has transformed from a “Public Welfare” activity to a “Business” activity. When it was in “public welfare” mode, the factors like cost of production, cost of T & D, efficiency & availability of the system were on back seat. Ever since it has become a business and electricity has become a tradable commodity, all these factors have taken a front seat.”
The Testing and Measurement equipment have a very important role to play to help decide predictive maintenance actions. Use of T & M equipment has a direct relation with availability of transmission line, he further adds.
Most advanced solution in achieving efficient T&D network
Scope has developed Dynamic Contact Resistance Measurement (DCRM) kit in close interactions with CTU of India, PGCIL. This measurement which has been made mandatory by PGCIL has helped saved failures of many EHV CBs due to identifying various electro-mechanical defects at early stage. It made it possible to assess the condition of CB contact which was earlier possible only by physical opening of CB interrupter, typically during overhaul. It made it possible for utilities to schedule major overhauls based on condition of CB instead of time duration.
The company has largest experience with DCRM measurement globally. ‘HISAC Ultima’, CB Analyser with multi-channel DCRM has become a must have tool for utilities and has created a benchmark for global T&M Industry to follow.
Today the industry is witnessing multiplied growth in the overall industry accompanied by the infrastructural renaissance. This has led to the growing power and energy requirements & related concerns, which ultimately call for advanced T&M instruments that, can act as a back-up for the power domain & also help in energy conservation and control system breakdown. Considering Testo’s latest and most advanced solutions for instance, the electrical Instruments are very distinct and unique in their features. They are excellent instruments to inspect the electrical components and circuit failure threats during power transmission and distribution. The latest solution to the industry is the new range of thermal imagers with smartphone integration designed to deliver networked thermography mostly used for predictive and preventive maintenance in electric and power sector.
Flir offers three families of products within this T Series- T1 K, T6xx, T5xx. Same can be selected based upon object size to measure and distance from where scanning is to be done. This range has capability to measure temperature range from (-) 20 to 2000 degree with an accuracy of (+/-) 2 per cent if right product is chosen. In a substation, most of the objects are above eye level and hence 120/180 degree tiltable optics helps the user to easily search & locate hot spots without getting pain in the shoulder/neck/eyes. All products in T series range have this tiltable optics.
There are many T & M equipment available to monitor various parameters. A binocular and a camera are primary devices to observe physical condition and capture images of tower and conductor. Thermography presents better opportunity to locate hot spots. Tower Footing Resistance (TFR) measurement gives idea of condition of earthing of tower. High tech instrument like Partial Discharge Detector (PDD) makes it easy to timely detect a defective insulator before it gives away and causes conductor snapping etc. More advanced instrument like Portable Daytime Corona Detection Camera allows detecting slightest corona even in day time. The state of the art instrument available to detect multiple faults and also compare healthy condition with faulty condition is “Line Signature Analyser”. JBS Enterprises possess all these instruments and regularly do condition monitoring and predictive maintenance of thousands of kilometers of transmission lines.
Early detection of defects or deviations enables corrective actions avoiding possible breakdowns which severely affect the availability & hence efficiency of T&D network.
Balasaheb Doiphode, CEO, T&M Business, SCOPE T&M Pvt. Ltd
Sensible utilisation of T&M equipment will surely be beneficial in the long run and will strengthen the T&D network.
Kalidas Bhangare, Managing Director, Testo India Pvt.
Efficient electrical T&D network is backbone for today’s economy. Robust and efficient T&D network will ensure desired Indian growth.
T P Singh, Director-Emerging Markets, Instruments, FLIR Systems India Pvt. Ltd
The Testing and Measurement equipment have a very important role to play to help decide predictive maintenance actions.
Milind Thekedar, Managing Director, JBS Enterprises Pvt Ltd