Trans­former tester de­buts in SA for first time

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - ILANIT CHERNICK @Lanc_02

THE CITY of Joburg has launched South Africa’s first mo­bile on-site test of high-volt­age power trans­form­ers, at the Delta sub­sta­tion in Sand­ton.

An ex­cited mem­ber of the may­oral com­mit­tee (MMC) for en­vi­ron­men­tal and in­fra­struc­ture ser­vice de­liv­ery, Nico de Jager, said that in light of the city’s R69 bil­lion back­log in de­vel­op­ment and main­te­nance of elec­tric­ity sup­port, the city needed to be in­no­va­tive in keep­ing up with in­ter­na­tional trends, “which have proven to be suc­cess­ful in ad­dress­ing such in­fra­struc­ture fail­ure”.

Maschi­nen­fab­rik Rein­hausen South Africa (MR) re­cently bought a mo­bile HighVolt power trans­former test­ing trailer and part­nered with City Power and Eskom in an ef­fort to per­form spe­cialised tests on high-volt­age trans­form­ers.

De Jager ex­plained that high-volt­age tests on trans­form­ers are in­creas­ingly con­sid­ered a ne­ces­sity be­cause of the need for quick on-site re­pairs, run­ning of di­ag­nos­tics, in­stal­la­tions and qual­ity con­for­ma­tion.

“This type of test­ing will en­sure that down­time is re­duced as re­pairs will be done speed­ily, en­sur­ing that res­i­dents do not spend long pe­ri­ods of time with­out elec­tric­ity, es­pe­cially dur­ing the up­com­ing cold win­ter months,” he said.

“City Power pur­chases elec­tric­ity from Eskom at Delta sub­sta­tion, which is then dis­trib­uted to three large power trans­form­ers, which in turn sup­ply many sub­sta­tions across the city.

“As such, th­ese power trans­form­ers are crit­i­cal as­sets in City Power’s elec­tri­cal net­work,” De Jager said.

“Over the course of the past year, and to the in­con­ve­nience of many res­i­dents, City Power has ex­pe­ri­enced nu­mer­ous power trips at one of th­ese trans­form­ers.

“To en­sure that ex­tended out­ages be­come a thing of the past, City Power will retest this faulty trans­former with new tech­nol­ogy rather than con­ven­tional test­ing meth­ods, which have not yielded ad­e­quate re­sults.”

This type of tech­nol­ogy is al­ready used in the US, Aus­tralia, China and sev­eral Euro­pean coun­tries.

Ac­cord­ing to De Jager, mak­ing use of mo­bile test­ing on­site would also en­able City Power to make in­formed de­ci­sions about the re­pair of the trans­form­ers based on proper di­ag­nos­tic anal­y­sis and al­low for pos­si­ble re­pairs to be con­ducted on-site with­out hav­ing to trans­port the trans­former to a work­shop.

“Due to the sheer size of the trans­form­ers, and at a cost of ap­prox­i­mately R35 mil­lion each, it is ex­tremely ex­pen­sive and time-con­sum­ing to trans­port and ‘de­tank’ them in a work­shop.

“In this re­gard, mo­bile on­site test­ing is also cost ef­fec­tive,” De Jager noted.

He also said elec­tri­cal in­su­la­tion ages over time, de­pend­ing on its op­er­at­ing con­di­tions, and it was thus es­sen­tial for City Power to ex­tend the re­main­ing life-cy­cle of faulty trans­form­ers by another 40 years or longer.

“The city is com­mit­ted to not only de­liv­er­ing the qual­ity ser­vices that our res­i­dents de­mand and de­serve, but to also set the stan­dard for other met­ros and mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties across the coun­try in terms of in­no­va­tion and find­ing a long-term so­lu­tion to our elec­tric­ity woes,” he con­cluded.

‘Long-term so­lu­tion to our elec­tric­ity woes’

IN­NO­VA­TIVE: MMC Nico de Jager at the launch of South Africa’s first mo­bile trailer for on-site test­ing of high-volt­age power trans­form­ers in Sand­ton yes­ter­day.

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