Vaisala, a global provider of environmental and industrial measurement, is working with power utilities, maintenance providers and asset owners to bring the first commercial units of its Optimus DGA Monitor for Transformers online.
In recent months, Vaisala has delivered Optimus units to various customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the Americas and Asia. Vaisala looks to keep pace with demand and an expected increase in production in 2018.
As transformer fleets continue to age, the likelihood of faults and failure increases accordingly. Real-time condition monitoring enables asset owners to identify and address potential issues before they result in costly failure, reducing maintenance costs and boosting production and performance.
While various DGA methods are widely used in the international power generation and transmission sector for these very reasons, the Optimus DGA Monitor brings a number of practical, time- and cost-saving benefits to the table that will dramatically improve transformer maintenance and minimize power plant disruption.
Practical condition monitoring
Vaisala’s Optimus monitors transformer oil for the presence of moisture and seven different gases. By tracking real-time levels of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, ethane, ethylene, and acetylene, it gives asset owners a comprehensive understanding of the condition and health of a transformer, enabling them to make informed proactive maintenance decisions.
While many DGA systems available in the market source equipment and sensors from different manufacturers, the infrared sensor technology used in the Optimus has been developed in-house by Vaisala, benefitting from decades of industrial measurement expertise. This integrated approach, using only Vaisala-manufactured sensors and equipment, ensures optimal performance regardless of operational conditions.
In addition, the Optimus DGA Monitor’s installation process is simple, and the unit is designed and delivered to enable asset owners to install and bring the device online independently and in under two hours. Once installed the device delivers reliable results in real-time through a browser-based user interface.
Most significantly, Optimus uses vacuum gas extraction and hermetically sealed and protected optics to completely eliminate the false alarms of the kind that frequently afflict on-site DGA systems. Optimus ensures high-quality gas selectivity through its use of vacuum gas extraction, which operates regardless of oil temperature or gas pressure, and by employing spectral scanning to aid selectivity.
The robust and durable device has components and piping that are made of stainless steel and aluminum, features a magnetic gear pump and valves, and relies on no consumables, which would require servicing or replacing. With a practical browser-based user interface, the device has no need for additional software.
Reducing lifetime costs
“DGA analysis has long been accepted as one of the most effective means of assessing transformer condition,” said Teemu Hanninen, Product Manager at Vaisala. “At Vaisala, we recognized that there was room to improve the reliability, usability and lifetime costs of the existing devices, and we decided to take on the challenge. With its proven durability and sensors protected from contamination, Optimus has shown that it can deliver reliable and accurate data.”
Commenting on site visits Vaisala has carried out around the world, Hanninen added: “We have received a lot of positive feedback from those customers who have already received and installed their units – and as we’re anticipating strong demand for Optimus in 2018. The comments have shown that the technology and capabilities offered by Optimus are really needed. Optimus has the potential to revolutionise the transformer monitoring industry.”
The next opportunity to learn more about Vaisala’s power offering will be at Euro TechCon 2017 in Glasgow, UK on November 13 to 15, and at Low Carbon Networks & Innovation Conference in Telford, UK between December 6 to 7.