Transformer Maintenance: Field Service Guide

From routine maintenance to emergency repairs, our service & repair team stands ready to ensure that your transformers continue to function at peak efficiency.

Two JCL Field Service experts working on a substation in Pennsylvania.

An Overview of Transformer Maintenance Procedures

Transformers: the power grid’s unsung heroes, demand regular maintenance to ensure safe and efficient power distribution. Their upkeep, encompassing electrical testing, fluid analysis, and oil processing, directly impacts every device dependent on electricity. In this article, we’ll dive into the intriguing realm of transformer maintenance and introduce our dedicated field service team, always ready for any transformer challenge.

At the core of transformer maintenance lies a series of meticulous procedures designed to keep these power giants operating at peak performance. The first of these procedures is electrical testing, a process that involves checking the transformer’s vital signs. This includes measuring insulation resistance, turns ratio, and winding resistance among other parameters. These tests offer a snapshot of the transformer’s health, indicating any potential problems before they can become catastrophic.

Electrical Testing

Essential to transformer upkeep, electrical testing gauges the equipment’s health, pinpoints potential problems, and validates proper function. This includes procedures like insulation resistance, winding resistance, and transformer ratio tests. Conducting these, JCL Energy’s team catches early deterioration signs, enabling timely interventions to dodge unforeseen failures and expensive downtime.

  • CT Testing: Checks the accuracy of the current transformer.
  • Doble Excitation Test: Assesses magnetic core properties to identify potential problems.
  • Doble Power Factor Test: Evaluates insulating materials within transformers, revealing potential issues with dielectric loss.
  • Insulation Resistance Test (Megger): Detects moisture and contamination in the transformer insulation.
  • IR Scan: A non-contact, non-destructive test method that detects excess heat in electrical components, signaling potential problems.
  • Partial Discharge Test: Identifies areas where the electrical insulation might be failing.
  • Sweep Frequency Response Analysis (SFRA): Examines the mechanical and electrical integrity of the transformer’s core, windings, and clamping structures.
  • Turn Ratio Test: Ensures that the transformer produces the correct voltage ratio, vital for system operation.
  • Winding Resistance Test: Measures the resistance of the transformer windings to identify issues such as poor connections or damaged windings.

Fluid Analysis

Transformers house insulating oil, a coolant and insulator for internal parts. However, with time, oil degradation and contaminant buildup can impair transformer performance. Through routine fluid analysis, JCL Energy’s service team detects potential problems such as moisture ingress, overheating, or corrosive gases. The findings dictate preventative measures—like oil replacement or processing—safeguarding the transformer’s health and efficiency.

  • De-gassing of Fluid and Transformer: Removes dissolved gases from the transformer oil and the transformer itself, improving its electrical properties.
  • Envirotemp (FR3) Fluid Processing: Treats transformer oil with a natural ester fluid that enhances fire safety, transformer life, and loadability.
  • Hot Oil Circulation and De-hydration of Oil and Transformer: Circulates hot oil through the transformer to remove moisture, thereby improving the insulating properties of the oil and the transformer.
  • Removal of Oil During Service: Safely storing the transformer oil in a tanker while the transformer is being serviced.
  • Vacuum Filling of Transformer: Fills the transformer under vacuum conditions to ensure that no air is trapped within.

Dress Outs

Field dressing, involving component installation and fluid filling, is key to transformer functionality and safety. JCL Energy adeptly provides these services, ensuring transformers meet industry standards while enhancing reliability and system performance.

  • Installation of Radiators, Bushings, Fans, Pumps, Arresters, and Connectors: Equips the transformer with necessary components for optimal operation and safety.
  • Vacuum Filling of Fluid: Fills the transformer under vacuum conditions to prevent air entrapment.
  • Acceptance Testing: Validates the transformer’s performance and safety in accordance with industry standards.

Oil Processing

For sustained transformer performance, apt oil processing is pivotal. This process, entailing filtration, dehydration, and degassing, eliminates impurities and rejuvenates the oil’s dielectric strength. Equipped with advanced equipment, JCL Energy’s service team seamlessly executes these procedures on-site, thereby curbing disruptions while promoting optimal transformer operation.

  • Furanic Compounds: Evaluates the condition of the transformer’s paper insulation.
  • Gas in Oil Analysis (DGA): Helps detect faults within the transformer by analyzing the gases dissolved in the transformer oil.
  • Oil Moisture Analysis: Determines the moisture content in the oil which, if high, could degrade its insulating properties.
  • Oxidation Inhibitor: Measures the concentration of antioxidant additives in transformer oil to prevent its degradation.
  • Power Factor @ 25 and 100 C: Evaluates the dielectric loss characteristics of the transformer oil at different temperatures.
  • Standard Oil Quality: Assesses the physical and chemical properties of the transformer oil to ensure it is within acceptable limits.
  • Wear Metals: Detects the presence of wear metals that might indicate mechanical wear within the transformer.

Repair and Maintenance

Beyond preventative measures, transformers occasionally need extra maintenance due to wear or unexpected issues. JCL Energy’s Field Service Team is fully equipped to handle these situations, from small repairs like fuse replacements to significant overhauls. Our team’s expertise with both reconditioned and new transformers ensures efficient and effective problem resolution.

  • High Voltage Bushing Testing and Replacement: Tests the insulating components for any degradation and replaces them if necessary.
  • Installation of Cooling Fans and Controls: Helps in heat dissipation from the transformer to enhance its efficiency and lifespan.
  • Installation of Positive Pressure Nitrogen System: Introduces a nitrogen atmosphere to inhibit oxidation and moisture ingress.
  • Leak Checking and Repair: Identifies potential leaks in the transformer and repairs them to prevent oil loss and potential damage.
  • Nitrogen Blanket Recharging: Replenishes the nitrogen blanket to maintain a stable, moisture-free environment inside the transformer.
  • Transformer and LTC Control Upgrades: Updates the transformer’s load tap changer (LTC) controls to improve its performance and reliability.
  • Transformer Controls Troubleshooting, Testing, and Repairs: Addresses any issues with the transformer’s control systems to ensure optimal operation.

JCL Energy: A Comprehensive Solution

The world of transformer maintenance is a complex, yet fascinating one. It’s a realm where science, engineering, and dedication meet to ensure that the unsung heroes of our power grid continue to serve us reliably. Regular maintenance procedures are essential to maintain the performance and reliability of electrical transformers.

Our field service team is ready to help with any transformer-related issue. We ensure that the transformers we sell continue to function optimally for years to come.  You can rest easy knowing that you have a dedicated team of experts standing by, ready to act fast and keep you powering forward! Visit our website to learn more about their services and expertise!

Providing exceptional after-sales support through our field service team is just one small way we stay committed to standing behind the transformers we sell. This team of highly skilled technicians has the expertise and tools to perform electrical testing, fluid analysis, oil processing, repair, and maintenance on any transformer, ensuring its reliability and longevity. Our in-house and field service teams are the backbone of our maintenance operations, braving all conditions to ensure that our transformers remain in top condition. These dedicated professionals are trained to handle any transformer challenge that might arise. From routine maintenance to emergency repairs, our team stands ready to ensure that your transformers continue to function at peak efficiency.