Transformer Analysis

If your transformer is not functioning effectively, then 3L2R can assist you with our Ontario wide on-site transformer analysis service. An integral component of our electrical services, our transformer analysis service helps to determine your transformers potential life expectancy and its current operating abilities with extreme precision. This allows us to successfully classify its current and future reliability. Using contemporary diagnostic methods, our team of certified technicians performs each transformer analysis on three different levels:

  • Essential level diagnostics during standard operation
  • Advanced level diagnostics requiring minimum outages
  • Optimal level diagnostics incorporating high-voltage testing

From here, a complete visual inspection of your transformer and its controls will be conducted to confirm the reason(s) for its inability to operate effectively. You will receive a detailed transformer analysis report, and we will educate you on the benefits of transformer repair versus transformer replacement so that you can make an informed decision for your organization. This will include a timeframe quote in which you can expect your transformer to be repaired or replaced. If repairing your transformer is a viable option, then we will un-tank, transport and inspect your transformer at our modern transformer repair facility. Our transformer repair engineers and technicians will service, retrofit or upgrade your transformers noble and parts, accessories and other auxiliary equipment. To ensure that your newly repaired transformer can safely be placed back into service, our transformer repair specialists will perform an acceptance test prior to re-energizing.

Transformer condition assessment

In today's power generation, transmission, distribution and industrial electricity systems, there is a growing need to determine the real-world condition of the critical apparatus. Some reasons for this growing emphasis on transformer condition assessment are the general aging of the equipment, increased loading and decreased resources to monitor and maintain the assets. There have been a number of emerging technologies targeting transformers that are at varying stages of effectiveness. The cost and relative experience of these evaluation processes are factors when considering application, whether for a single transformer or an entire fleet. There are well-established, mature testing/evaluation methods available that when evaluated together, can provide an effective determination of transformer health.

Evaluation parameters:

  • Dissolved gas in oil analysis (DGA)
  • Chronological age
  • Standard oil chemical analysis
  • Loading factors
  • Power factor/dissipation factor
  • Visual inspection, leaking, damage
  • Furan analysis
  • Cooling type, radiators, fans, pumps

There are of course other factors that can be used based on an organization's monitoring standards. The more data the better, providing you have a process to organize and evaluate this data.

Establishing thresholds – what is normal?

We wouldn't expect a transmission transformer that has been at half load for most of its life to have the same characteristics as a generator transformer operating at full load, or an industrial transformer application operating well above full load capability. In general, you can establish a set of criteria for these broad groups of transformer applications and then be prepared to adjust the norms for families of transformers within these groups. There are a number of industry established thresholds. For DGA, IEEE has defined some levels. Oil testing labs will also offer some general guidelines. Threshold values are based on the population of transformers evaluated and the risk level an organization chooses to accept. It is important to adjust threshold values for age where applicable, and for voltage class, as we expect more stringent guidelines as the voltage level of the transformer increases. Don't ignore your own history. As an example, the "rule of thumb" for the power/dissipation norm of 0.5 % does not apply to many older transformers. The best analytical comparisons come from transformers of similar size and voltage class, exposed to similar loading and stress conditions.

Keys to effect transformer condition assessment:

  • Having sufficient data
  • Organizing the data in a way that it can be evaluated effectively
  • Actually evaluating the data, and comparing results against valid threshold levels
  • Having a well-established set of "next step" scenarios
  • Getting expert advice for unusual situations
  • Acting on the results of your analysis

In the end, there is no magic box or formula that will predict end of equipment life but with a structured process, some practical guidelines and common sense, many uncontrolled outages can be avoided and your transformer assets can be effectively managed. Turning data into usable information brings real value to your organization. 3L2R's transformer analysis service complies with the strict guidelines set by the electrical products and electrical services industry, and meets each of our client's unique specifications. Please contact 3L2R for any of your transformer related needs, or to learn more about any of the other reputable electrical services we offer throughout Ontario.

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