Industry Analysis

Smart power testing

Are T&M instruments enough advanced to make the power network smart?

Testing and measurement (T&M) equipment are majorly used for testing, measuring, maintenance and verification of various electronic devices. Due to increasing infrastructure development, development in the power sector and technological development in India the opportunities for T&M sector is increasing. Since the power sector is developing rapidly how T&M instruments will strengthen power network smart.

Explaining upon whether T&M instruments enough advanced to make the power network smart Parag Yelegaonkar, Business Development Manager, Testo India Pvt. Ltd says, “Undoubtedly they are. If we are aware of the concept of smart networked in T&M industry that means there does exists a solution that is advanced enough to make the power network smart. Our smart probes, electrical instruments and thermal imagers are the perfect answer to this uncertainty. They are solutions for superior results and are Bluetooth enabled, smart phone integrated and advanced enough to measure, record, process and even send the readings from the site of inspection. For sure there will be more advancement in the technology but for any present day the technology is always sufficient and suitable, it is just how we make use of it.”

As per Avichal Kulshrestha, Staff Technical Marketing Engineer, National Instruments today’s T&M instruments have become more smart and flexible to adapt to evolving requirements of testing smart devices. Latest processors, FPGAs and technologies such as Time Sensitive Networking allow T&M instruments to cater to the challenge of making power network smart and future proof. Such smart networks need to analyse more data from several sources. This needs more bandwidth and interoperability between devices. National Instruments is partnering with leaders in the IOT domain such as PTC, Flowserve and HP to come up with advanced IOT solutions.

Today’s T&M devices are good enough but not sufficient to make the people life simpler believes Ubayathulla Ahamed, General Manager – R&D, Elmeasure India Pvt Ltd. He says, “Most of the devices available today provide the information and control the electrical system when the problem occurs. This is like treating the patient after he or she gets the deceased. But the devices should be proactive. It should give the information to the user much earlier than the failure. The development in progress in multiple ways to achieve this. The artificial intelligence and the prediction methodologies are giving way for failure predictions. One more area the T&M devices to go further is integrating process parameters. Today increasing the cost of power makes it as one of the raw material and the users want to know how much energy is spent on manufacturing per units of the device. This will give the way for their billing to the customer effectively. This also makes the user understand and set target to increase or decrease the productivity or schedule the production activity in the better way say non-peak hours where the usage billing is less.”

Today most of the T&M products are energy-centric, which need to change to sector centric. The amount of information required by the different sectors varies drastically and the existing T&M devices provide information either excess or less. The devices need to be developed based on the sector. “To start with this Elmeasure provides the integration of Textile process. It automatically collects the information all the textile parameters and provides the reports based on production. Right now the device gives the information on failed machinery. The work is going on for making the prediction on the failure of machinery. We are also planning to extend the process integration for multiple industries,” Ahamed adds.

How IOT will provide opportunities in T&M sector?
Over the years, T&M devices have emerged as effective devices that transform energy consumption and management, offering significant value to both consumers and utilities. The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) promises more possibilities and presents utilities with unprecedented opportunities to make T&M devices even smarter, thereby completely revolutionising energy management systems. “IOT platform help field devices to connect flawlessly and transfer data to a cloud based system. The biggest opportunity for T&M devices in a IOT platform is the upcoming smart city ecosystem. IOT platforms helps bringing data to life with rule-based event-action-triggers enabling execution of ‘smart’ actions based on specific sensor data. Analytics performs a range of complex analysis from basic data clustering and deep machine learning to predictive analytics extracting the most value out of the IoT data-stream. Visualisation enables humans to see patterns and observe trends from visualisation dashboard where data is vividly portrayed through line, stacked-, or pie charts, 2D- or even 3D-models. IOT platforms also helps easily integration of 3rd-party systems and the rest of the wider IT-ecosystem via built-in application programming interfaces (API), software development kits (SDK), and gateways,” informs Ahamed.

IoT promotes smart networked instruments that reduce downtime of the equipment, keeps human involvement to minimum, which leads to automatic operation of devices that can communicate, interpret and adjust of its own seamlessly, believes Yelegaonkar. The emergence of IoT has pushed the testing and measurement sector and ensured a driving growth in the market. It has enabled the launch of several new instruments that are governed via Bluetooth, WiFi, cloud etc and at the same time have increased the privacy and security of customer’s critical data. Equipment those are smart enough to generate alerts, reminders and process multiple measurements at the same time are indispensible in the current situation. Another important aspect that is influential is the ability to inculcate predictive maintenance that is possible only with the networked instruments. This not only saves cost and time at both ends but also facilitates scheduling of inspections and eventually curbs accidents and damages. “IoT also seeks instruments that can serve critical applications in power, food and drugs, automotive and other sectors and thus provide considerable opportunities for T&M companies that are competent to match stringent guidelines such as accuracy, reliability, precision etc,” Yelegaonkar informs.

Kulshrestha says that the T&M sector look at IOT from two perspectives: Consumer IOT and Industrial IOT. Both of these provide several opportunities for the T&M sector. Consumer IOT relies heavily on wireless connectivity where the need of testing cellular and wireless connectivity standards arises. Industrial IOT need large asset management and condition monitoring. Overall IOT needs a testing platform which can provide I/O connectivity to several sensors and do signal analysis on latest computational technologies.

Advanced T&M instruments for power domain
Elmeasure India Pvt Ltd:
The advanced instrument Elmeasure is offering is Navigator Pro, which measures almost all the electrical parameters in the electrical system. This is also powered with the bright graphical display. This device operates at 12,800 samples, second, channel, which amounts to 256 samples, cycle, and channel. The important and neglected parameter in the power systems is load balancing in all the phases over the period of time. Generally, electrical engineers do that for the full load or operational load, but in the nights or when the fluctuating load is used, it is very difficult to check the same. Navigator Pro devices provide the individual phase energy, which facilitates the engineer or electrician to understand the overall load pattern over the period of a month and take the corrective actions. If the proper analysis is done with the unbalancing almost about 10 per cent energy bills can be saved. This product also provides the information on power quality. The devices measure up to 51st harmonics of all the phases. This will be displayed in the numerical and the graphical form separately for all the phases. It also displays all the waveforms for further analysis. The device provides last 20 occurrences of sag and swells with the waveform. This also provides the comparison of all the voltage and current waveform for the analysis. This device also provides the information on last 60 days energy and every 15 minutes snapshot information for 10 days on selected 20 parameters. All the Elmeasure devices can be fitted with multiple communication media to provide remote IOT server.

Testo India Pvt. Ltd:
The latest trends and technologies that Testo is witnessing are coming from the digitisation of the existing systems. The traditional methods and processes are now getting replaced with smart solutions and we are completely up to date with the advancement prevailing around. Considering its latest and most advanced solutions for instance, the company has the new range of smart probes which equips the users with smart and easy measurement techniques using the smart phone interface. It makes measurement simple, reliable and possible absolutely anywhere and anytime.
The company’s new electrical instruments are very distinct and unique in their features. Auto adjustable features, safety built-in, connectivity to smart phone app to get the reports from site itself and off course cost effective application are the key features of these instruments. Testo’s latest solution to the industry is new thermal imagers with smart phone integration designed to deliver networked thermography. Wireless operation, with the easy of saving and transferring data over networks makes its instrument more users friendly, interactive and cost effective. The company’s continuous approach towards innovation, R&D ensures eminent future of its products which are sure to redefine the overall working experience of T&M in power domain.

Explaining on the advanced offerings Kulshrestha says, “Renewable generation, energy storage, plug-in electric vehicles, interconnects, and increasing demand are just some of the challenges grid owners face today. These challenges require increased flexibility and new measurement technology to improve grid control and asset use. The National Instruments Grid Automation System is a programmable intelligent electronic device (IED) designed to simplify substation monitoring and upgrades while improving measurement visibility. It does what fixed-function devices on the market can’t do because the functionality is defined by software. The personality that ships with the system makes the device function as a PMU that meets the latest C37.118.1a-2014 standard. Out of the box, the NI Grid Automation System helps bring high speed, high quality phasor data to grid operators.”

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