Transformer Service Life: How to Extend It

When a person buys something, whether it is an inexpensive razor or a high cost power transformer, he will pay special attention to the expected service life of the product. The service life of an electric power transformer is very important since it determines the reliability of the electric power supply to average consumers as well as to large industrial production facilities.  The electric power transformer is a very expensive piece of equipment.  Its unscheduled failure therefore, will require very costly repairs and disruptions in electric service.  In general, a transformer’s service life is determined by its performance characteristics and life expectancy of its dielectric insulating oil which is approximately 20 years. It is clear that this is an approximate figure since every unit has its own peculiarities in terms of operational modes, preventive and corrective maintenance, and environmental operating conditions. Economic crises, that periodically shake the international community,  have led to the fact that many industrial facilities are still using electric power transformers that have exceeded their expected service life by between fifty to one hundred per cent.  First of all this is mainly due to preventive maintenance programs for the transformers and the insulating oil. Transformer oil is necessary to transfer heat from the heated parts of a power transformer and to insulate conducting parts of a transformer from non-conducting parts.  The expected service life of such oil is less than the expected service life of a power transformer.  Transformer oil therefore, should be regularly monitored and regenerated in order to extend both the oil and transformer’s service life. If regular preventive maintenance of power equipment is performed on a scheduled basis, the operational reliability of ‘old’ transformers will be virtually the same as that of ‘new” transformers.  That is why some specialists recommend performing preventive maintenance of power equipment on a timely and as needed basis.  Transformers that have been in service more than 70 years bear great testimony to the benefits of timely and comprehensive preventive maintenance programs. According to the U. S. Electric Power Research Institute (USEPRI), as of 1997, 65% of electric power transformers operated in the USA had reached a service life of 25 years.  In Japan, nearly 30% of electric power transformers were nearing 30 years of service. GlobeCore is an industry leader in manufacturing equipment for electric power transformer maintenance.  GlobeCore’s advanced technology extends the service life of power transformers and reduces corrective maintenance costs  and operating costs. It is wise and prudent to use the following pieces of equipment for preventive transformer maintenance: These modern engineering marvels restore all physical and chemical characteristics of dielectric insulating oils to acceptable values so that the transformer and its oil can be placed back into service without replacement. GlobeCore CMM-R units are equipped with a unique Fuller’s Earth “Reactivation Mode” that allows for sorbent restoration directly in the equipment.  Additionally, oil may be processed without being completely removed from the transformer.  If there are large quantities of oil that need to be processed, the GlobeCore units are designed to process oil 24 hours a day without stopping for sorbent unloading and reloading.
  • GlobeCore CMM high vacuum degassing units.  These units are used to vacuumize transformers and remove mechanical particles, water and gasses from transformer oil.
  • GlobeCore PPM oil heaters.  This equipment is used to heat transformer oils when topping off, changing or drying transformers;
  • GlobeCore UVD units are designed for topping off of oil-filled, high voltage transformers with dielectric insulating oil when repairing and servicing transformers and circuit breakers at power plants, substations and other energy facilities.
  • GlobeCore Iney Vacuum Cold Trap is designed for pulling vacuum and drying of solid insulation inelectric power transformers;
  • the GlobeCore Sukhovey Air Drying unit is designed for purging of transformer tanks with dry hot air and removal of mechanical impurities.