General Industry News
Most executive engineers managing transformer fleets are quick to acknowledge that certain of that fleet would be classified as ‘strategic’ assets to their company. They would readily agree that the unforeseen loss of such strategic assets would be a calamity but then the interesting conversation begins. When asked to articulate the likely cost of that impact to the business most would cite an approximate figure for the transformer replacement cost but begin to pale when asked next to articulate the cost to the business beyond the value of the asset itself. Perhaps a ‘well it depends…’ statement could be expected but few really have worked it through in reality to the extent that the true likely impacts sit at their fingertips, nor by corollary, at their top of mind.
For more than 20 years, consultants at Lord Consulting have been working with utilities in a range of sectors to implement real-time condition monitoring and assisting companies to improve asset management practices. Although this has been largely successful in many companies, we have started to see some concerning trends in some organisations.
Some companies have not recognised that their traditional monitoring techniques are hopelessly inadequate and key assets such as transformers are vulnerable to catastrophic failure.
In his recent paper: “When On-Line Monitoring Goes Wrong”, my colleague Terry Krieg spoke very wisely about the wider implementation of transformer main tank monitors, making clear that not only are these devices covering some 80% of the demonstrated insurance risk of a plant, they are only going to deliver a viable and useful result if they are purchased, installed, and implemented suitably (i.e.: alarms set, plan of response in place etc). Fortunately, there is readily-available assistance to hand and LORD Consulting takes pleasure and pride in taking its unique IP in this area to clients Australasian-wide with excellent success in the overall risk minimisation.
Today there are many devices sold as ‘transformer DGA monitors’ but they are by no means equal and in some cases, we are sad to observe, simply unsuited to the role. It is truly a case of ‘buyer beware’ and here too the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ very much applies to the purchase and successful deployment of these devices. Well then, what should one buy to do the job optimally? Firstly, we need to make the observation that there two generic types of monitor sold: ‘Detection’ and ‘Diagnostic’ monitors.
Reprinted by courtesy of ‘Energy Source and Distribution’ magazine
Successful asset management encompasses the entire organisation: not just engineering, not just IT and not just finance.
In fact, asset management is not even just about the assets themselves, but is also about the more fundamental objectives of the organisation that owns those assets. It is about using assets to achieve organisational objectives, seeking an optimal outcome for the organisation in terms of costs, performance, risk and even sustainability.
Trevor has more than 35 years experience in electrical power engineering, having worked within the plant manufacturing, power generation, mining and power utility industries. In his previous role as Principal Engineer with Western Power he was the technical specialist for power transformers and reactive plant.
Craig started his career in 1992 as an apprentice electrical engineering trades person with Capricornia Electricity Board before commencing further engineering studies. He joined GEC Alstom in 1997 as a Cadet Test Engineer at the Rocklea Works and from 2001 to 2013 has held positions of Test Manager and Product Quality Manager. In 2013 he commenced independent consulting.
LORD Consulting, long-established in the Australasian region and specialising in the strategic management of power industry assets for optimum life and reliability, has been joined by Mr Terry Krieg, Chairman of CIGRE Study Committee B3 -Substations.
LORD Consulting Director, Mr Trevor Lord, hails the move as a proud one for the company. "The support of Mr Terry Krieg to the organisation will greatly enhance the innovative work that LORD Consulting has been doing over the years to assist our power industry clients with the optimal management of their assets", he noted at the announcement at TechCon Sydney on April 1st. "Terry's wide focus, experience, and diverse skill set will be a major boon to the Company and a very good fit with the needs the Industry are presently facing".
LORD Consulting will also be focussing its team this year on the significant contribution to asset management and associated strategic processes that can be offered to an organisation by way of the recently-released ISO55000 standard.
"In an increasingly risk-averse industry also facing many commercial constraints into the mid-term, the attention of risk management sub-committees of Boards of Directors is firmly focussed on how innovation and strategic repositioning of present asset management methods might permit their organisations to withstand increased stakeholder and shareholder scrutiny. LORD Consulting will be contributing strongly in this space", commented Mr Lord.