How often should you perform inspection routines on your company's transformers?
Its role is essential for the operation of your company; Setting the correct maintenance routines ensures the continuity of your operations and prolongs the life of the equipment up to 10 more years.
Published on 18 December 2019
By implementing the adequate inspection work, you not only protect this asset - whose cost is high - but you guarantee the reliability of its operation and avoid impacting the productivity of your business due to the economic losses that may result from the transformer's downtimes.
On the other hand, by carrying out a judicious maintenance program you can extend the life of a transformer up to 30 years, which is usually designed to work for 15-20 years.
No visible damage does not mean the device is in good condition
With predictive maintenance or predictive diagnosis -which is carried out by means of electrical and oil tests-, you will identify the current state and trends of transformer behavior. With the results of these tests it is possible to project in time the concrete actions that you must contemplate to guarantee its correct functioning.
This type of maintenance includes chemical physical analysis tests of the dielectric oil to determine the percentage of water present in the transformer, and the chemical concentration of the oil. Likewise, more specialized analyzes are carried out that include gas chromatographs -to determine based on the concentration of gases within the equipment any damages that may have occurred-, furan analysis, among others.
Anticipate any failure
Preventive maintenance is performed on equipment that has not yet failed and it is essential to do so from the beginning. It is performed based on the recommendations of the transformer manufacturer and taking into account the results of the predictive maintenance routines, visual inspections and electrical tests.
Some of the actions included in this type of maintenance are:
- Sampling of dielectric oil, usually every 12 months.
- Regular visual inspections to check oil levels, the existence of oil leaks, the state of components such as insulators and others.
- Operation review of devices such as Buchholz relay, overpressure valves or thermometers.
- Thermo vacuum treatment.
- Oil level adjustment or oil change - if applicable.
- Drying of the active part.
- General cleaning and change of packaging.
- Revision of the grounding system and adjustment to its connections.
About corrective maintenance
This is implemented when the equipment has already failed. At this point, the priority is to intervene the transformer to resolve the situation as soon as possible, and reduce production downtimes due to the absence of electricity supply, and restore and guarantee the continuity of the operations of the production process.
And if you wonder how often you should perform maintenance work on a transformer, it is generally indicated once every year. However, from our experience we can assure you that the best thing you can do is have the transformer test results at hand, as well as the recommendations from previous maintenances, the criticality of the equipment for your business processes, the transformer capacity (KVA), the percentage of use and the transformer’s current physical condition is to schedule the revisions or actions on this equipment.
Finally, keep in mind that without the transformer the operation of your company's processes is not viable. So we encourage you to determine an inspection routine of the equipment and closely monitor the maintenance schedules. At Enel X we can provide support to define the proper maintenance routine for your company's transformer.
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