Experts Column

Smart T&M tools boosting power sector

P Sridharan, Head-Product Management, Fluke India

“Customer’s expectation is that tools provide answers around machine condition rather than just measurements data”

Industries have seen a spike in installations of smart products, which help them to improve efficiency and productivity in their processes. P Sridharan, Head, Product Management, Fluke India, discusses how ‘smart’ test and measurement instruments are playing a major role in the power generation sector

What are your views on growth of power sector in India?
Infrastructure development is key to any country’s progress and power is vital for any infrastructure development. Indian power sector has seen a rapid growth in power generation, transmission and distribution. The total generation capacity is growing at five per cent for the last five years and the non-conventional energy is growing at a strong rate of more than 20 per cent in the last three years.

Do you think electrification will drive India’s growth?
Certainly! The current peak demand is about 175GW and the installed capacity of 344GW is a clear example of the growth in demand for electrification and this will have a growing trend in the days to come. Make in India initiative is also expected to increase the demand for power and will be a major growth engine for many sectors.

Have new initiatives been beneficial for your sector?
Fluke provides specialised predictive maintenance tools along with advance condition monitoring systems in addition to general purpose test tools. The awareness of predictive maintenance to safeguard critical assets from failures is increasing and we see a large number of deployments of these tools across the energy value chain. Initiatives around renewable and non-conventional energy sources are really helping our sector.

Tell us a bit about the contribution of measuring instruments to sustainable energy?
Measuring instruments help organisations to ensure safety, productivity, efficiency and thereby lower cost of operation, which brings global competitiveness. Fluke tools help its customers understand the baseline efficiency and implement sustained energy efficiency programmes to achieve energy reductions goals, thereby helping them reach their efficiency targets.

What is the role of T&M equipment in extending the life of power plant assets
The test and measurement instruments help the user to gather insights and analyse critical data-points to understand whether the installation is optimised or not. Fluke offers wide range to test tools to conduct load and energy studies, thermal and vibration audits, check various process loops to identify potential problem before they occur.

What parameters measure the power quality?
The quality of the electrical power and installation can be assessed by various power quality parameters. Voltage, current, power factor, phase angle, and harmonics are most important among them. Harmonics, if present in the electrical network, reduces the utilisation capacity of electrical network, poses serious safety risks, causes heating in electrical machines and reduces life of the assets considerably. Unbalance, transient, voltage dip, sag and swell are other important power quality parameters that will affect the process and may cause damage to assets if undetected.

Evaluate the usages of measuring instruments
New technologies in areas like cloud-based storage, faster telecom networks, lower data costs, penetration of internet and IIoT are also reshaping customer’s expectations from their test tools. Nowadays, users are demanding more comprehensive set of tools, which are capable of conducting tests over longer period of time, remote monitoring of test results, and access to historical data anywhere, anytime.

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