We can imagine that a transformer is like a human being, where the oil within is equivalent to our human blood. Upon reaching a certain age, our doctors would recommend that we go for regular medical check-ups which normally involve blood tests for various parameters. Blood samples are tested by a certified laboratory, but test results would be analyzed by medical specialists (experts) who would endeavor to diagnose and provide a status of your health. Should there are any ‘complications’, recommendations for ‘further monitoring or tests’ or appropriate treatments will be given.
A transformer is generally regarded as the only part of an electrical system that acts like a ‘complicated chemical reactor’ and is one of the most important components. Unfortunately it is also the most vulnerable to failure/breakdown. Solid insulation (a form of craft paper) and mineral oil are important parts of the transformer. These two items are mainly responsible for preventing the transformer from destroying itself and other associated equipment connecting to it. The paper (solid insulation) prevents the coil winding from short circuit or flash over. The transformer oil acts as a dielectric insulator for the internal components and as a coolant to aid with the dissipation of heat generated by the transformer. Generally, the solid insulation is the prime determinant of the transformer operating lifespan.
Over time, oil oxidized inside a transformer will degrade or deteriorate to produce oxidation by-products that are harmful and damaging to the solid insulation. The paper and mineral oil in the transformer normally degrade gradually, although there are cases where degradation occurs abruptly. Signs and symptoms of degradation are normally concealed, and this poses a major challenge for transformer life optimization.
Fortunately, the oil in the transformer can act as a major diagnostic tool for evaluating the solid insulation. Just like using blood tests to determine human health condition, the oil is tested to give an indications of conditions inside the transformer. Hence, CMS involving regular sampling and testing of the oil should be conducted to determine the overall conditions of the transformer. We strongly believe that you should look after your transformers like we look after ourselves.
With proper CMS, we can assist you to extend the useful life of your transformer , minimize unexpected breakdown and production downtime and enable reductions in huge maintenance cost.