Benefits of Partial Discharge Testing

By: Clint Jhonson

Partial discharge testing is being used to determine electrical insulation condition ever since the middle of the 1950's. Nowadays, cables, transformers and other items are tested at the facilities of the manufacturers for quality purposes. Partial discharge testing has been adopted in Europe since 1980 for the evaluation of the equipment and this process migrated to the United States somewhere in 1990.

Nowadays, the value of partial discharge testing is recognized throughout the world, being used frequently in order to determine equipment condition. The purpose of such discharge testing is to enhance electrical reliability. It is a proven fact that many high voltage equipment failures happen because of partial discharges. These partial discharges represent partial failures of the insulation and they create sparking or arcing activities across the surface of the insulation. Thus, partial discharge testing is meant to identify voids, cracks or other flaws where electrical stresses exceed the insulation capacity.

If you are having troubles with your electrical insulation and you wish to solve this problem before it gets worse, then we recommend a partial discharge analysis. If you choose to resort to such analysis, you must know that you will have to pay only for the testing time and that partial discharge analysis can be done any time. Quite often, partial discharge activities initiates in high voltage conditions equipment, where the condition of the insulation has deteriorated in time and this is why partial discharge testing is highly recommended. Partial discharges also occur in the case of new equipment when the installation or the workmanship is improper.

The partial discharge analysis is a predictive test which indicates insulation degradation in advance of the failure of the system and it is performed under normal operating conditions. Furthermore, partial discharge testing does not affect the equipment under test and most of the times the occurrence of partial discharge can be identified within the test object, thus allowing the solving of the problem. If you are interested in such a testing, you should also know that the cost for a partial discharge analysis is reasonable, in order to be performed by most facilities.

It is essential to detect and monitor partial discharges because most of the times this phenomena precede insulation breakdowns of the equipment and they lead to expensive repairs. The partial discharge analysis represents a diagnostic approach which uses measurements of partial discharge in order to evaluate the integrity of the equipment. The partial discharge measurements can be made continuously or intermittently and they can be detected on-line or off-line. The results of this analysis are used to predict the electrical equipment which needs to be replaced or repaired.

Nowadays, there are many companies that put at your disposal a variety of non-destructive testing technologies which are meant to assess the condition of your electrical equipment. This information regarding the electrical system allows you to prevent insulation and equipment failure at an accessible cost. After all, why not prevent a problem if it is within your power to do that and at the same time to save money and time?

The advanced and professional partial discharge testing equipment can easily detect insulation deterioration and other problems in the case of motors and generators, switch gear systems, transformers, bus ducts, splices and terminations of cables. If you want to prevent the failure of your electrical equipment, we suggest resorting to an experienced company that can perform a professional analysis of your equipment.

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