Tactical Asset Management Reaches New Heights
02 November 2016
William G. Higinbotham
Taking tactical asset management to another level using technological advancements in handheld partial discharge detectors.
In 1983, Dr John Reeves was first able to detect and measure the tiny electrical pulses created on the outside of high voltage switchgear when its insulation starts to fail. He called them Transient Earth Voltages or TEVs and went on to apply this learning to assess and categorise ageing high voltage switchgear. Partial discharges had already been identified as one of the major indicators of insulation failure in high voltage equipment and this pioneering work by Dr Reeves at EA Technology opened the door to viable methods of surveying and assessing whole populations of high voltage switchgear without outage.
That was more than 30 years ago and since then the EA Technology TEV technique has been widely adopted and copied and has triggered a minor revolution in how high voltage switchgear is managed especially in high risk applications and where network reliability and security of supply is vital.
High voltage switchgear is of course very dependable and there are many out there who may never experience a switchgear failure their network. The impact of a failure when it does occur though is normally severe with far reaching safety, financial, environmental and reputational implications. TEV detection allowed this risk to be actively managed and for many adopters of the technique the discovery of a likely failure and being able to intervene and avoid the failure has not only improved their network performance but also created a great sense of satisfaction.
EA Technology in the UK has been designing, making and selling equipment to detect these useful TEV pulses for over 25 years and during this time the company has learned a thing or two about how to do it but more crucially what it means and what to do about it.
As with most technology TEV detection has come a long way since those early days and EA Technology is just about to launch the next generation of hand held assessment tool, the UltraTEV Plus². Not only does this detect and measure TEV, it also gives the user immediate confidence in interpreting the results and taking action. For the UltraTEV Plus², TEV is only part of the story there is also the capability to detect and interpret the acoustic signature of insulation deterioration and to extend the assessment beyond the switchgear and cable terminations and into the high voltage cables themselves for a much more complete assessment of the network. All this in a battery powered hand held device that will pay for itself many times over when a switchgear failure is avoided.
The UltraTEV Plus² blurs the edges between surveying and monitoring by letting the user store and recall earlier results to compare and analyse long term trends – capability Dr Reeves could only dream of in those early days. It all adds up to a tool which will take tactical asset management to another level.
If you operate a high voltage distribution network and you want to catch the switchgear that’s likely to fail in the next year or so and not simply leave it to chance, you should have one of these in your tool box.