A brief on how T&M instruments can energise T&D sector
The test and measurement instruments are used for maintaining and repairing various mechanical and electronic product. These instruments also enhance the efficiency, reliability and accuracy of the products. As per a research report the India market for test and measurement instruments market is expected to grow at CARG 13.24 per cent by 2015-19.
Test and measurement instruments are the need of the hour especially for power sector as the country needs uninterrupted power supply. T&D is the most important link in the power sector as it transmits and distributes power to the entire country. To escalate the power sector it is important to maintain the transmission and distribution lines healthy with new technologies. In this article, we will discuss about how test and measurement instruments will play an effective role in energising T&D sector.
Energising T&D Test and measurement instruments are essential to power system assets for two key purposes. Initially, when the equipment is commissioned and subsequently to provide a periodic check of the integrity of the equipment, either as a part of a time-based maintenance schedule, or following an incident with the asset which raises concern about its condition.Whatever the reason for the testing, it is becoming increasingly important to carry it out as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. Speed is important in the commissioning phase to help to ensure that the project is not delayed and due to the increasing cost of the staff carrying out the testing – especially if they are not locally based. However, if the tests require the asset to be taken out of service then the costs can be considerable, especially if there is any interruption of supply which may incur penalties on the energy supplier.
“With modern test and measurement equipment, the use of power electronics and computer control has led to many tests becoming almost completely automated,” states Bill Kibart, Regional Sales Manager Middle East and South Asia, Omicron Energy Solutions Pvt Ltd. A good example of this is the power transformer; traditionally each individual test would have required a separate piece of, often bulky, test equipment. Each item would have to be connected individually, which would require a technician to climb onto the transformer. By combining the tests into one device which performs them automatically the testing time can be reduced considerably. Similar trends are being seen in testing most of the other equipment in the substation.While speaking about how T&M will energise the power sector Kibart says, “The trend towards greater efficiency and thoroughness in testing, leads inevitably to lower initial project costs and a higher level of reliability of the system. This, in turn, makes the T&D sector more profitable which can attract investment and lead to the energisation of the sector.”
According to Imteyaz Siddiqui, Regional Area Manager – South Asia and GCC, ISA Advance Instruments India Pvt Ltd, “T&M instruments plays a very vital role in ensuring the quality of manufactured products or goods. Good, sensitive and reliable instrument provides the accurate condition of the tested equipment. Hence, it ensures the consistent performance of the T&D equipment in the longer run. Therefore, the selection of T&M equipment is very critical when it comes to maintain the quality of product and most of the customers worldwide do a lot of due diligence before buying. In order to get good instruments, most of the government companies in the South Asian market do a lot of exercise on their technical specification, as they are obliged to buy from the technically suitable lowest bidder whereas the private customers straightaway decide on the basis of the quality of instruments.”
V. Vijayakumar, General Manager – Sales and Marketing, Qmax Test Technologies Pvt Ltd states that the T&D losses of the developed nations is expected to be below 15 per cent levels whereas in India it is as high as 27 per cent and above almost at the levels of 1.5 per cent of our GDP. He said, “It is very important to bring down these levels by planned energy audit schemes, set year-on-year targets for reduction of transmission losses and time bound action plan bringing down the losses and introduce relevant remedial measures. Half of this value is due to poor distribution lines and service connections. Installation of calibrated and tested metering units is also an important factor.”
While sharing some of the test and measurement instruments that can energise the power sector Vijaykumar briefs, “One of the important instrument which helps in this 3-phase power quality and harmonic analysers and data loggers. It helps in clamp on True RMS power measurements, measurement of active power, apparent power, reactive power, power factor measurements, simultaneous display of voltage and current waveforms, analysis of total harmonic distortion, calculation of maximum demand power with programmable periods, calculated unbalanced current through neutral lines, voltage or current unbalanced ratio (VUR/AUR), capturing of transient events with programmable threshold.”
“These power quality analyses come with CE marking and CAT III – 600 volts safety standards. These are truly portable weighing less than 1.5 kg and come with carrying case and essential accessories and in-built SD memory card for storage of readings and subsequent analysis by data transfer to PC and laptop through USB interface,” he adds.
Qmax is an authorised distributor of EXTECH Instruments USA ( FLIR group). Qmax also has range of handheld and desk top metres and clamp on metres and PCB test systems for testing the electronic circuit cards. “Customers like NTPC and state electricity generating authorities are already using the solutions from Qmax,” informs Vijaykumar.
Most people think of power quality in two states. One is when power is on and everything is fine and second is when there is a black out. This is an incomplete view of power quality, as there are a multitude of states in between where the power quality is not good enough and is unusable or detrimental for the equipment that we use.
Raviteja Chivukula, Staff Technical Marketing Engineer, National Instruments points out few problems that could be undesirable when it comes to power distribution and consumption.
The amplitude of the voltage – Over voltage or under voltage.
Frequency too far from 50 to 60 Hz.
Presence of harmonics.
On the load side, problems like the power factor being far from unity.
Unreliable power due to incorrect demand-supply management, manual interventions, faults etc.
3 -Phase load imbalance.
Excessive phase difference between phasors at multiple locations.
“In order to fix any of these issues, to ensure reliable and efficient transmission and distribution, it is essential to be able to measure these values at as many locations as possible. And that is the main role that T&M systems play in ensuring that the grid works reliably,” states Chivukula. Traditionally, these measurement equipment were hand held and manual measurement devices, the information from which was recorded, communicated and used to make decisions. “With the way that the grid is evolving and becoming more distributed, enabled by the digital communication revolution, these measurement systems are moving more and more towards automated measurements, data aggregation, communication and analytics,” observes Chivukula. National Instruments has systems that combine the digital communication revolution along with a platform based approach to deploy customisable and smart measurement solutions for the grid. What does this mean for grid measurement systems? The traditional T&M market has different instruments for power quality analyser, synchrophasor, power factor analyser, smart metering etc. However, as many power engineers understand, at the heart of each of these systems lies the same, voltage and current measurements that can be synchronised to a globally defined time scale. Only difference is the computations performed on the acquired voltage and current values. “National Instruments’s grid automation system, not only allows the power system engineers to customise these, but also allows control action to be taken based on the data. In this manner, a generic smart grid measurement and automation controller can be programmed to act like power quality measurement system, synchrophasor, power factor correction controller, smart switch controller, smart recloser, load unbalance detection system and fault detection system, informs Chivukula.
All objects warmer than (-) 273 C that is absolute zero emit infrared heat radiations which cannot be seen by human eyes. Thermal imagers, however, can convert these infrared radiations into electrical signals and present them as a thermal image. The thermal image shows the temperature distribution on the surface of an object.While explaining how thermal imaging can help for regular checks in electrical maintenance Kalidas Bhangare, Managing Director, Testo India Pvt Ltd say, “Maintenance and servicing are crucial for the operational reliability of a high-voltage system. Potential weak spots such as circuit breakers and power switches, or malfunctions in the transformer cooling can lead to an interruption of the energy supply. The technology of thermal imaging thus equips the engineers for regular checks in electrical maintenance by early recognition of defective components by evaluating the heat status of low, medium and high voltage systems which in turn, minimises the risk of fire that avoids costly production downtimes.”
Taking a step ahead, testo has recently introduced the Supertele lens with thermal Imagers testo 885 and testo 890 which allows early and reliable identification of these sources of error with fast overview, due to the standard wide-angle lens. High-precision measurement of the smallest anomalies from a distance using the super telephoto lens. Convenient handling, due to the rotatable display and ergonomic, rotating handle. Professional reporting using the testo IRSoft analysis software.
In addition, the non-contact infrared thermometer from testo like testo 835 allows measurement of temperatures up to 1,500 C reliably and from a safe distance and thus equips the engineers to measure the temperature of objects with high voltage.
——————————————–Maintenance and servicing are crucial for the operational reliability of a high-voltage system.
Kalidas Bhangare, Managing Director, Testo India Pvt Ltd.
———————–With modern test and measurement equipment, the use of power electronics and computer control has led to many tests becoming almost completely automated.
Bill Kibart, Regional Sales Manager Middle East and South Asia, Omicron Energy Solutions Pvt Ltd.
—————————T&M instruments plays a very vital role in ensuring the quality of manufactured products or goods.
Imteyaz Siddiqui, Regional Area Manager – South Asia and GCC, ISA Advance Instruments India Pvt Ltd
————————To ensure reliable and efficient transmission and distribution, it is essential to be able to measure these values at as many locations as possible.
Raviteja Chivukula, Staff Technical Marketing Engineer, National Instruments
————————–Installation of calibrated and tested metering units is also an important factor.
V. Vijayakumar, General Manager- Sales & Marketing, Qmax Test Technologies Pvt Ltd.