Efficient Plant March 2018 - 27

PdM partial-discharge testing
MOST ELECTRICAL SYSTEM failures
are current- or voltage-driven events that
can lead to substantial business losses in
plants, including loss of production, significant equipment damage, even personnel
injury or death. Two of the most common
causes of electrical-equipment failure
involve bad connections and deteriorated
insulation. Addressing these issues is paramount for personnel tasked with managing and/or maintaining plant equipment.
The path to success starts with an understanding of what specifically causes these
trouble spots-and how to detect them.
Bad connections can be the result of
poor contact pressure (inadequate torquing of bolts, insufficient pressure in compression lugs, poor mechanism pressure),
deficient contact surface, or dirt and corrosion. Bad connections fail because of heat
produced by the current passing through
the highly resistive connection, which is a
current event. Thermographic or infrared
(IR) surveys have been effectively used
for decades to detect abnormal heating of
electrical connections. Today's technology
allows equipment-temperature differences
of one degree Celsius to be detected.
Insulation, on the other hand, deteriorates with age. Factors such as heat,
moisture, and contamination, however,
can lead to premature failure. Deteriorated
insulation fails because the electric field
stresses overcome the insulation properties
and, eventually, a fault occurs. This is a
voltage event. Deteriorated insulation can
be detected by a partial discharge (PD)
survey, which detects signals emitted from
the partial discharges occurring in deteriorated or stressed insulation.
IR and PD surveys can be partnered and
PD-signal detection is the first step in executing
an online predictive-testing program. Understanding its causes and how to address them based on
survey results is more complicated.

MARCH 2018

Understand
Electrical
Equipment

Failures
New technologies and techniques are
improving detection of damaging heat and
failure-predicting partial discharge.

Steve Park, P.E.
Vertiv

EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM |

27


http://www.EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Efficient Plant March 2018

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