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Utilizing PD Detection for Improved Reliability and Performance of Critical Assets

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Asset managers face the increasing challenge of maximizing their aging electrical infrastructure with fewer technical in-house resources, stricter regulatory requirements for worker safety, and shrinking maintenance budgets.  Utilization of Partial Discharge testing gives asset managers a cost effective approach to achieving improved reliability and performance of critical electrical assets.

Partial discharges are small electrical sparks that occur within the insulation of medium and high voltage electrical assets.  These discharges erode insulation and eventually result in insulation failure.  A simple fact of PD; once PD starts it ALWAYS increases until eventually total insulation failure.  According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 70B), the leading cause of electrical failures is insulation breakdown.  The National Electrical Code (NEC) states that these partial discharges are the first indicator of insulation deterioration.  Research from the IEEE Gold Book, Table 36, indicates that cables, switchgear, and transformers suffer the greatest losses from insulation failures.

Because partial discharge activity is often present well in advance of insulation failures, asset managers can monitor PD activity over time and make informed strategic decisions regarding the repair or replacement of equipment.  These predictive diagnostics help companies to prioritize capitol and MRO (material, repair and overhaul) investments before an unexpected outage occurs.  A first pass partial discharge detection test can help predict future performance and reliability of critical assets, including:

• Cables, splices and terminations
• Power transformers and bushings
• Switchgear
• Motors and generators

Failures are not limited to service aged equipment.  Acceptance testing on newly installed equipment builds in reliability right from startup.

Protec Equipment Resources understands the impact of critical asset failures and provides a wide inventory of test equipment to test, measure and evaluate the overall health of MV and HV insulation systems.  Building on our existing inventory of insulation resistance testers, high voltage Tan Delta testers and VLF hipots the newest addition to our inventory is the EA Technology UltraTEV Plus+™.  UltraTEV Plus+™ is an advanced hand held, dual sensor, Partial Discharge (PD) detector, which enables more detailed identification and comparison of PD activity across multiple substation assets. Contact us today to learn more about PD detection!