3 Steps to Monitoring Critical Electrical Assets – Free White Paper

By Jonathan Murray, Director of Products – IntelliSAW, Emerson Automation Solutions

I’d like to talk about a significant issue in the power industry. Electric utilities strive to improve reliability in the face of challenges such as fewer operators, aging assets and increased cycling. An electrical power critical asset (switchgear, transformers, bus ducts, etc.) failure can result in a forced power outage leading to lost production, environmental issues, personnel safety concerns, potential litigation, and repairing and/or replacing the damaged asset. All of this can result in critical risks and millions of dollars of associated costs.

The following table shows a simple view of the associated average potential revenue lost if a 500MW generator was down due to a forced outage.



To address these issues, asset maintenance is transitioning from traditional reactive and time-based activities to implementing a proactive strategy through continuous condition-based monitoring. Modern sensing technology makes it possible to continuously monitor the health of electrical power critical assets and inform plant personnel when, or even before, problems arise.

I’d like to offer you a white paper that describes the three steps for deploying condition-based monitoring on critical electrical power assets which will lead to a proactive – and eventually, predictive – maintenance strategy:

  1. Prioritize which assets should be monitored.
    Independent of the type of power plant, a typical electrical power delivery system includes assets such as generators, generator circuit breakers (GCBs), line disconnect switches, step-up and step-down transformers, segregated and non-segregated bus ducts, potential transformer cabinets, medium voltage switchgear, motors, and other equipment needed to support the transmission and distribution of power. Prioritizing which assets to monitor is key to success.
  1. Apply continuous condition-based monitoring.
    The 3 most common electrical asset failure modes include thermal breakdown, insulation breakdown, and air dielectric breakdown. Although manual inspections can be used to monitor less critical assets, continuous condition-based monitoring is the preferred alternative for assets which must be kept online at all times. Continuous condition-based monitoring systems are available with temperature, partial discharge (PD) and humidity-sensing capabilities.
  1. Analyze data and evaluate asset health.
    Once data is acquired and brought into a digital space where it can be analyzed, limits and alarms can be placed on data trends. This allows the delivery of actionable information to the maintenance and engineering team responsible for the assets.

The white paper will help you select the best monitoring and analysis approaches for your requirements. Please click HERE for your copy. And if you have any questions, please contact me at Jonathan.Murray@Emerson.com.

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