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(Bio-)SLIM Versus Dry Type_en

(Bio-)SLIM Versus Dry Type_en

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Published by: Subhadip Raychaudhuri on Oct 15, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Van Schevensteen R 7/18/06 p1/7
The following comparison is typical for the transformer product range of 1 to 6MVAand up to 36kV. Outside this scope transformer specifications need to be studiedcase-by-case and customising of the design becomes imperative, in general infavour of the liquid-filled type power transformers.Next to conventional liquid-filled transformers of Thermal Class A in which theinsulation system consists of cellulose solid insulation combined with mineral oil,silicone fluid or ester, PAUWELS TRAFO developed a line of high-temperatureliquid-filled transformers.These transformers have a homogeneous high-temperature insulation system as per IEC 60076-14 and IEEE 1276. They combine NOMEX® paper and board with either silicone fluid (the “SLIM®” transformer) or with the synthetic ester namedMIDEL®7131 (the “Bio-SLIM®” transformer). The liquid is operated at a maximumtemperature of 125°C (which is only 25K higher than in Class A transformers,allowing the use of standard bushings, gaskets, paints) while the windings go ashigh as 165°C (NOMEX® is Class 220°C).These (Bio-)SLIM® transformers were especially developed for specific applicationswith severe operating conditions and restricted installation. They combineadvantages regarding reliability, compactness, fire-safety, environmentalfriendliness, overloadability, life expectancy, overvoltage withstand.Typical applications are found in wind industry (nacelle installation or fitting the smalltower door), traction, replacement of pcb-filled transformers, power upgrade of existing installations, public buildings, …
Van Schevensteen R 7/18/06 p2/7
Liquid-filled transformers generally have a 30% to
50% lower 
no-load loss
levelcompared to dry-type transformers. No-load losses are present while thetransformer is energized, usually 8760 hours per year. These losses thereforerepresent a considerable cost during its life.Example: a 2.5MVA/20kV liquid-filled will have 2.5kW no-load losses and a castresin 5kW. At 0.05 Euro/kWh, this represents an
annual saving of 1095 EUR
Liquid-filled transformers generally have a
5 to 8dB(A) lower noise level
 compared to dry-type transformers. The lower the noise, the lower the audibledisturbance, but also the lower the risk for reflections, reverberations, resonance,vibrations of nearby panels or walls which may add to the overall sound level.
Liquid-filled transformers can either be filled with a mineral oil, an ester (syntheticor vegetal) or silicone liquid. The selection depends on the specific applicationsof the transformer. Both silicone and esters will generate a price premiumcompared to the cheaper mineral oil filled unit. But they offer importantadvantages regarding environmental friendliness and fire behaviour. People whoappreciate these added values will see a justification for the higher purchaseprice that will be partly compensated by reduced cost of the fire protection andliquid-retaining aspects of the installation.
Dry-type transformers can either be open dry-type such as Securamid
or Reliatran
, or encapsulated in resin. The design of cast resin transformer canalso vary. The LV-winding can be cast or insulated with prepreg material(cheaper), the HV-winding can be cast or wrapped with resin coveredglassfilament (ABB patent). Here also each design will have its priceconsequences and typical pro’s and con’s.
The manufacturing process of cast resin transformers is more critical. The correctvacuum during casting must be respected; else partial discharges may appear which deteriorate the insulation. The ideal mix of the resin, hardener and fillersmust be respected, else the difference in thermal expansion of conductors andresin may lead to mechanical stresses in the resin resulting in micro-crackswhich can be penetrated by moisture and lead to transformer failure. In liquid-filled transformers, these parameters are of a less severe impact. That is why themeasurement of partial discharges is a routine test for cast resin transformersand why climatic and atmospheric tests (including cold start) are defined for castresin transformers only.
Dry-type transformers are more sensitive to cooling efficiency, since thesurrounding air is the only cooling medium. If the ventilation of the installationreduces, dry-types will heat faster than liquid-filled units which have the liquid asbuffer. This phenomenon has an inverse effect when using forced cooling:ventilators on cast resin transformers can upgrade the rating to 140% while for liquid-filled this generally is limited to 125%.
(Bio-)SLIM® transformers have an additional thermal reserve compared toconventional liquid-filled units thanks to the NOMEX® 220°C class. Thereforethey will not suffer from overloads or increased ambient temperatures. They arevery well suited for installation in small substations or in applications with variableloads such as traction and wind turbines.
Van Schevensteen R 7/18/06 p3/7
While the typical design and physical and electrical characteristics of dry-typetransformers, especially cast resin transformers, will limit their use to mediumvoltage applications (<36kV), liquid-filled transformers can also be built for HVand UHV systems. The Bio-SLIM® line offers designs up to 66kV.
Compared to dry-type transformers, (Bio-)SLIM® transformers are the better alternative for installations at high altitudes and in severe atmospheres. SLIM®transformers have been installed in the mountains near Mont Blanc. They hardlysuffer from thin air or high humidity as dry-type transformers in which the air isboth cooling and insulating medium. Condensation on the tank surface will notcreate creepage paths that may lead to flashover, as is the case when the castcoil surface becomes wet.
Liquid-filled transformers have a mixed insulation system of a liquid plusimpregnation cellulose or NOMEX
, while cast resin transformers have a systemof solid encapsulating resin and air. The glassy condition of the solid resin makesit very hard and brittle. This gives several disadvantages regarding electrical,mechanical, thermal and chemical stresses of which some are elaborated in thenext points.
In liquid-filled transformers, the MV-windings are generally wound directly ontothe LV-winding creating one solid block. This set of windings is then solidlyanchored onto the core legs. All this improves the ability to
withstand short-circuits, vibrations, shocks
and earthquakes. In cast resin transformers thewindings are generally separated from the core and from each other, by rubber support blocks.
The large liquid volume with its high thermal time-constant is a good buffer for heat generated by the windings under 
conditions and thermal shocks.
Liquid-filled transformers with continuous layer windings on the MV-side have aninherent better withstand against
voltage surges
(such as switching impulses,lightning and fast transients) than cast resin transformers with disc windings.Layer windings allow a more linear voltage distribution along the winding, givinglower electrical gradients and smaller voltage stresses. Properly liquid-impregnated inter-layerinsulation is a far better insulating system than vacuumresin casting.
 A liquid has the inherent feature of 
. If a small discharge occurs, or gas is formed on a critical path, the moving liquid is able to take that away beforeit can lead to a real failure. If the DGA monitoring would show too highconcentrations of gasses, it is possible to streamline and re-use the liquid on-site.If the analysis of the gasses would reveal possible internal discharges, aging or arcing, the liquid-filled transformer can be more easily repaired than a cast resintransformer. In such transformers, it is “all-or-nothing”, the resin mould does notallow repair.
The NOMEX® and silicone/ester insulating system, as used in the (Bio-)SLIM®,will hardly age, seen the design operating conditions leave sufficient safetymargins. This increased life expectance, together with the low no-load loss level,results in an optimal TOC-evaluation, compared to dry-type transformers.

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