Dissolved gas monitoring for transformer reliability

Transformer gas analyser cabinet

The Optimus DGA monitor constantly assesses dissolved gases in transformer oil for early fault detection and reduced down-time for the power distribution industry.

Power transformers are a critical element in the power generation and transmission industry, but can also represent one of the key vulnerabilities. This is because any transformer downtime will lead to substantial financial losses and to energy shortfalls for national grids. Repairs and replacements can take months, greatly increasing associated business interruption costs.

Efficient condition monitoring is one of the only means of proactively mitigating the risk of transformer downtime. Furthermore, real-time monitoring of the dissolved gas content in transformer insulation oil allows a utility to diagnose any emerging faults quickly and reliably, and plan their maintenance activities better.

Dependable data with no false alarms

According to Juhani Lehto, the Product Manager at Vaisala Controlled Environment, around half of power transformer faults can be detected with the right online monitoring tools meaning that severe failures can be prevented. “But nobody wants monitors that give false alarms or require regular maintenance so we created a product that doesn’t,” said Lehto.

Thanks to its careful design and the patented technology, the Vaisala Optimus DGA Monitor for Transformers does not give false alarms. It carries an IR sensor based on Vaisala core measurement technology and components manufactured in the company’s in-house cleanroom. It uses vacuum gas extraction, which gives a fully representative sample and means no data fluctuation due to oil temperature, pressure or type. Hermetically sealed and protected optics prevent sensor contamination, and long-term drift is eliminated with a unique autocalibration functionality.

The Vaisala Optimus DGA Monitor is designed to be installed in less than two hours just by connecting the oil, power and communications. A browser-based user interface brings ease of use as no additional software is needed. In case of a disturbance such as a power outage, self-diagnostics enable automatic recovery.

“We have used our 80 years long experience from operating in different environments and climate conditions to build a solid product that withstands harsh conditions,” continued Lehto. The Optimus has a robust construction with stainless steel pipes and temperature controlled housing and it is rated IP66. The hermetically sealed structure tolerates vacuum and pressure variation and its magnetic pump and valves mean superb performance and durability in any environmental conditions.

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