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factors such as system destabilization.. the quality of power supply. may cause the windings to loose their clamping pressure. Transformers fail in service each year. it may suffer mechanical shock that gradually displaces and distorts the windings. Frequency Response Analysis (FRA) is becoming an increasingly popular technique used to externally monitor and assess the condition and mechanical integrity of transformer windings for shortcircuits. We would like to introduce our latest product release being FRAMIT 3. We strive to remain at the cutting edge of FRA technology and. Causes of Transformer Deformation Power transformers are usually very reliable.. harmonics generated under normal operating conditions may cause winding and core vibration. can save a transformer rewind.Page 2 of 4 Introduction We would like to take this opportunity to share with you some exciting news regarding our FRAMIT instrument. enabling them to take those transformers out of service before failure. but when faults occur. they may slacken and subsequently become unable to withstand mechanical forces exerted during faults. The detection of a transformer winding condition that might lead to a fault and subsequent outage. often accompanied by shorted turns. AND THIS.. to a large extent. Most of these failures are caused by transformer winding faults and through faults generated by lightning and switching surges.g. substantial permanent winding deformation or even collapse can occur almost instantaneously. the insulation between the turns can be abraded. deformation. considering consequential COULD BE THE ONLY THING BETWEEN THIS. As the windings experience vibration. causing a short circuit and damage to the windings. Background It is clear that the performance of power transformers will determine. as a result. eventually leading to collapse of the windings. Ageing also contributes to winding looseness. Mechanical vibrations. As a transformer experiences a fault. initiated by short circuit forces. estimated to cost in the region of $1-million for a large power transformer. In the process of winding movement. the start of 2000 saw the release of our FRAMIT 2 software. A common cause of failure is a close-up phase to earth fault resulting from a lightning strike. The other cause of winding movement may be extensive vibration during transformer transportation. winding insulation breakdown and loss of clamping pressure. The failure of a strategic transformer on the power supply network can be even more costly. This feedback has become an important part of keeping the FRAMIT instrument at the forefront of FRA testing. Short circuit faults are potentially very destructive because if the clamping pressure is not capable of restraining the forces involved.. In addition. the transformer can be affected catastrophically. open-circuits. re-clamping or insulation repair) prior to failure. outages and even complete system shutdown. load shedding. and being able to take corrective action (e. It is therefore very important to continuously monitor and assess the condition of transformers to ensure reliability and availability of power supply. . Since this time many customers have shared their suggestions and ideas about potential improvements to the software. The FRA technique can help maintenance personnel identify suspect transformers.
Transformer Winding Modeling For a clearer understanding of what actually happens when a transformer’s winding structure undergoes deformation. This healthy fingerprint is known as the ‘reference fingerprint’. as shown below. and the ability of the transformer to survive short circuits in future will then be severely reduced. The Starlogic instrument called FRAMIT is the result of accumulated knowledge from the research and application of this test technology over the past 8 years. connecting leads and manual are fitted to create a complete. we are examining the effects of the small parasitic capacitance and inductance of the windings of the transformer. whereas a reduction in the pole height reveals partial discharge activity. self-contained instrument that performs Frequency Response Analysis of power transformers. Specifically. A breakdown between the turns or coils of the transformer under test corresponds to a short circuit of one or more of these local LC networks.Page 3 of 4 It is expected that a transformer will experience and survive a number of short circuits during its service life. Consequently. By overlaying fingerprints showing parasitic inductance. a change of the resonant pole frequency indicates a breakdown in the winding insulation. FRAMIT injects a voltage impulse of about 450 volts into this phase winding. which interfaces with a standard laptop computer. as shown below. The transfer function of such a network calculated by FRA shows a number of poles at the resonance frequency of the local L and C circuits. FRAMIT Instrument South Africa’s national supply utility. This fingerprint is unique to every transformer. This will result in shifting the resonant pole to another frequency or the creation of a new pole. Performing a FRAMIT Test The test-leads are connected across a specific phase winding of the transformer. This yields the frequency spectrum. Starlogic Instrument Development together with ESKOM developed a complete. its components deteriorate and the likelihood of a failure increases. and remains unchanged for as long as the transformer’s winding structure remains unchanged. as well as the voltage signal appearing at the other end of the winding. It does this by applying a Fast Fourier Transform Algorithm (FFT) to the time domain signals. The instrument. The frequency response of all the tested phases together is called the ‘fingerprint’ of the transformer. but sooner or later one such event will cause slight winding movement. At the first approximation a transformer winding can be represented by a ladder network with series inductance and capacitance as well as the parallel capacitance to ground. A high-speed digital data acquisition unit samples the injected voltage signal. though its research into FRA initiated the development of a specialized FRA measurement tool. FRAMIT takes these two time domain signals and calculates the frequency spectrum. capacitance and resistance Transformer Winding Modeling Tank Wall C L C R C R Winding L C C Core Winding C CrossCross-section of a transformer . The transformer therefore has a specific fingerprint in a known healthy condition. we need to analyze the equivalent circuit model of a transformer’s windings. The transformer therefore has a specific fingerprint in a known healthy condition. FRAMIT has been internationally marketed with great success for over the past 6 years. These two recorded time domain signals are transferred to the computer. This test is repeated for each phase winding of the transformer (6 tests for a 3phase transformer). This allows each winding of the transformer to be independently inspected and evaluated. A partial discharge condition with the transformer will not significantly affect the resonant frequency of the affected pole. but the pole height will be reduced. portable instrument as shown above. As the transformer ages. ESKOM. The software runs under Microsoft Windows 95/98/ ME/2000/XP & NT and therefore inherits all of features of this operating system. is housed in a rugged carry case in which the measurement electronics. This fingerprint represents the high frequency inductive and capacitive properties of the transformer under test. The frequency response is then determined by dividing the frequency spectrum of the output signal by the frequency spectrum of the input signal. An example of a reference fingerprint is shown above.
partial discharge and dissolved gas analysis. Richard Breytenbach at Starlogic Instrument Development on e-mail:starlogic@pixie. Visit our website at address. This test process can be very easily integrated into any preventative maintenance program. with routine tests being performed.za. Difference between the two fingerprints. a FRA test is performed at the manufacturers premises. as well as transformers. would like to receive additional technical literature then please contact us. taking electromechanical engineering into the future. FRAMIT is the ideal complement to the traditional tests of ratio. 2. Once the transformer has been delivered. Conclusion International FRA research has proven that it is possible to detect a variety of different internal transformer con- ditions. These companies have authorized that FRAMIT tests be performed on all their new transformers before they are purchased from the manufacturer. after they are transported to site. As a preventative maintenance tool. Combined with on-going international research into quantifying specific waveform patterns with corresponding winding faults the system is proving invaluable in providing base data on currently healthy transformers. it is tested again. Contact Details If you have any questions or FRAMIT 3 1. New test-leads. indicates a physical change in the winding structure.com. No calibration tests required. Starlogic FRAMIT is making a difference. The test results will indicate what further action (if any) needs to be taken. this decision is enhancing their transformer preventative maintenance programs. Before a transformer is loaded onto a truck for delivery to the customer. 5. it can be tested to determine the extent of the distortion of the winding structure. Many companies in the USA are successfully implementing FRA testing using the FRAMIT instrument. it means that there has been no movement of the winding structure during transport and loading. Implementation of FRA Test Technology The international use of FRA test technology is growing steadily. Improved testing technique (tests each winding independently). This can save a lot of time. and once they have been commissioned.Page 4 of 4 of a transformer taken at different times one can very clearly determine if the transformer’s winding structure is physically unchanged. If a transformer suffers a high through fault condition. 3. to determine the cumulative effects of high through current faults. More repeatable test results.framitonline.co. Transformers can also be tested periodically. or contact your local FRAMIT representative. In a world where energy is power. is slowly distorting over a period of time. 4. Reptame Equipment Inc.com (905) 936-6979 .reptame. With future routine tests being performed on a regular basis. or has undergone a severe distortion. If the two fingerprints match well. Windows 95/98/ ME/2000/XP & NT compatible software. www. www. By taking fingerprints at regular intervals one can detect deformation that may develop into catastrophic failure.