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Home » Industry Analysis » Technologies that enhance transformers performance

Technologies that enhance transformers performance

February 11, 2021 5:18 pm

Technologies that enhance transformers performance
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Changing consumption pattern and implementation of innovative technologies have been one of the key factors in driving India’s power transformer market. With an upward trend in adoption of technologies, industry anticipate a positive outlook for power transformer market in the near future.

Indian power and distribution transformers market is anticipated witness an upward trend between 2020 to 2026. Owing to the government’s initiatives to enhance the electrification rate and the operational efficiencies of DISCOMs. Rise in demand for long-distance power transmission drives the demand of the outdoor transformers. Increasing numbers of residential power transmission boost the demand for indoor transformers. Moreover, the incessant increase in power utilities across the world to cater the electricity requirements and influence the power demand significantly. Rapid industrialisation has been accelerating the market’s overall growth.

Harnessing the benefits of recent growth in transformer market

With the above factors pushing market growth, it is imperative for companies in the segment to take advantage of the growth factors and use them to their benefit in order to keep up the momentum.  Atul Agrawal, MD, Uttam Bharat Electricals Pvt. Ltd. says, “In order to be part of the growth momentum, we are aggressively working on technological and capacity expansions. Our strong sales and marketing team is continually working on expanding our geographies both in the domestic and international market. The power sector is extremely robust with an increase in demand for electricity. As renewable energy and sustainability are becoming the need of the hour, our company is gearing up to focus more on solar energy. Through these initiatives, we plan to contribute to the growth of the Indian transformer industry.” N.K. Duggal, GM (Marketing), ABC Transformers, talks about about their multi-phototype products. “During the process of making our products we stringentlyfollow the prescribed and set standards and specifications. We usually get industrial references standards for both new and repeat orders from the customers. Moreover, I feel it’s the quality deliverance and our commitment allowed us to maintain a vigorous business partnership with our old clients.” We also cater to new transformers and obtain tenders for the same. Moreover, consumers today have become conscious towards quality products.  People today are aware of the quality complications hence they insist on verifying the quality before purchasing a product. People today don’t mind investing more for quality products.” Whereas, Narendra Goliya, Director, Rishabh Instruments Pvt. Ltd., says “Power and distribution transformers requirement measurement not just for the voltage, current, active / reactive power, but also for advanced parameters like instruments positions, oil temperature, disturbances like swivels, dips and transients to ensure uninterrupted operations in a transformer. These measurements are generally used predictive failures and post-failure analysis, based on the software installed. Rishabh is in all these fields including data on the cloud.”

Creating technologies for transformer

Laser scribing technology was introduced about 25 years ago. The purpose of this technology was to reduce the eddy current component of the core loses. Through laser scribing, small domains were created on the core laminations. In this way, the resistance to eddy current was increased and thus the I2R losses were reduced. Agrawal discusses, “The etching or scribing was initially done by drawing physically visible parallel lines.

This affected the overall stacking factor badly. Nowadays such domain defining is being done using laser rays which do not affect the physical dimensions and hence the stacking factor is not affected adversely. But there are limitations in such laser scribed laminations as the annealing process nullifies the benefits obtained due to laser scribing. However, in the present scenario, laser scribed CRGO is available where annealing after processing of the lamination is possible. Further, the laser scribed lamination poses the same challenges while using these materials for wound core construction.” With regards to technologies for better safety of transformers, Jitendra Agrawal, Managing Director, The Motwane Manufacturing Company Pvt. Ltd. tells us, “We have a huge large fleet of assets and distribution networks, so it is essential to maintain the assets. Traditional maintenance practices make it difficult and tedious as it requires heavy investments and ample of manpower, it is time consuming which may result into inefficiency; it also affects the productivity because of its prolonged shut down. I guess, it is time to shift towards need-based maintenance with real-time monitoring of transformers.”

Continuing to the discussion, Goliya says “With the increase in incidents of transformer failures, cost towards downtime and technologies available in today, it becomes imperious to understand all the failures, have continuous monitoring of these parameters and alarms set-up so that there is a predictive signal to the user to avoid the failure.” Failures can be due to overloading, either continuous or intermittent; deterioration in the quality of oil; excessive current and/ or voltage harmonics in the system, too much of reactive current, and deterioration in the insulation resistance of the windings. All ofthese aspects are thoroughly monitored and the data be taken to a cloud to provide suitable alarms to mend these in proper time.

New insulation materials are also letting the transformer companies make quality products and attain high safety standards in the industry. Insulation systems in power transformers consist of a fluid — either liquid or gas — together with solid materials. The solid insulation and oil form an inseparable insulation system in a transformer. Insulation in transformers usually have paper wrapped around the conductor in transformer coils, mineral oil and pressboard. The basic requirement of insulating materials is to have compatibilitywith the insulating oil. “Paper is a low-cost base material with strong mechanical and electrical properties. But due to variety of factors including temperature, paper can substantially lose its properties, thus affecting the service life of a transformer”, explains Aggarwal.

To substitute, the so-called thermally upgraded Kraft papers/diamond dotted Kraft are made for covering the conductor with high thermal index and mechanical strength. These types of papers help in maintaining insulation property even at a higher temperature. The other new insulation material used in transformer is ester oil. Ester oils have a high flashpoint temperature and excellent biodegradability.” According to Jitendra, “Transformer designs has already attained maturity to give maximum efficiency.

The innovations already matured to deliver maximum efficiency. The technological innovations primarily focusedon enhancing the transformer’s reliability by cutting down on possible breakdowns and failures. Such issues can be dealt with two different ways; online condition monitoring, and using various insulating medium. Based on the choice of medium used for insulation, there are two innovative designs, i.e., Dry transformers and gas-insulated transformers (GITs).

Modernising power transformers

Newer design, manufacturing and condition-monitoring technologies are being widely adopted and implemented to increase the overall operational and functional efficiency of a power transformer. “Today, a lot of R&D activities are being done to analyse a power transformer and make it more costeffective and energy-efficient. No significant changes have been made in the type of winding conductors being used in the power transformers, still we see a steady development in core steel materials from non-oriented steels to scribed-grain oriented steel.

In terms of insulating liquid, natural esters, silicone oil and synthetic esters are being increasingly used.” Jitendra feels “Investment towards innovative solutions for monitoring various critical assets like transformers, reactors, switchgears, etc., will further improve the reliability of operations of the assets.” Also, investment in various material technologies to improve asset stability and extend the range of the operation and life of assets, as well as investment in power storage technologies like batteries and inverter technologies are also essential. With increasing power and voltage ratings of transformers, the technological leap will continue to grow in the coming years.

 

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Demand for quality has been increasing amidst the consumers ever since they realised the adjacent consequences.

N.K. Duggal, GM (Marketing), ABC Transformers

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Though there has been no significant change in the type of winding conductors used in power transformers, we can see a steady development of core steel materials from non-oriented steels to scribed-grain oriented steels.

Atul Agrawal, MD, Uttam Bharat Electricals Pvt. Ltd.

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Company’s must adapt innovations so as to reduce the breakdown risks and possible failure in a power transformer.

Jitendra Agrawal, Managing Director, The Motwane Manufacturing Company Pvt. Ltd.

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We must realise the possible failure and have continuous monitoring of standard parameters to provide a predictive signal to avoid the possible failure.

Narendra Goliya, Director, Rishabh Instruments Pvt. Ltd.

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