Reliability analysis of power transformers : case : Eskom Distribution Eastern Region, 1MVA to 80MVA power transformers.
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This dissertation analyses the reliability of power transformers and its impact of failure on system performance. Eskom Distribution, Eastern Region is used as a practical case study, which has an installed transformer base of 6066MVA comprising of 428 transformers ranging from 1 MVA to 8OMVA with voltage levels of 6.6kV to I 32kV. The literature review illustrates the theory and principles of transformers, evolution and changes in design criteria, the function of cellulose and insulating oil, failure modes. operations and maintenance practices and factors affecting the distribution systems performance. This study included a conditional assessment and an oil analysis review of transformers at Eskom. A method to trend multiple oil samples was developed and illustrated. The research further investigates the reliability of series and parallel systems using actual component reliability values. A study was conducted to establish the degree of network firmness. Transformer failure data was analysed and were shown to be characteristic of a bathtub curve. Defects from on site inspections were analysed and identified oil leaks as a maintenance focus area. The Distribution Supply Loss Index was determined to be the major impact Key Performance Index due to transformer failures. Transformer failures using statistical methods, showed HV/LV winding to be the main component to fail. The cost of a transformer failure to Eskom and the customer was determined. International Benchmarking was investigated to establish the criteria for network reliability indices and to compare the network infrastructure and performance of international utilities and Eskom. The later part of the study involved the analysis of a risk ranking methodology to establish a risk ranking matrix. The transformers were ranked according to the matrix, identifying the high risk focus areas. Projects were raised within Eskom to replace the identified high risk transformers. This study has concluded that the reliability of transformers is impacted by the changes in transformer design, increased maintenance defects and inadequate transformer protection at substations. The reduced oil volume per kVA, increased hot spot and ambient temperature, and compact tank designs have resulted in the cellulose being overheated and fault gases being produced during normal operating conditions. The increase in load demand from the existing transformer fleet and a reduction in capital expenditure to maintain and build additional substations have also contributed to accelerated aging, since the transformers are forced to operate at 100 percent loading. There is an increase in transformer maintenance defects due to in sufficient operational staff, high staff turnover, reduced skills transfer. and insufficient network contingencies to allow for planned outages to clear the defects identified. The failure analysis showed that the main component to fail is HV/LV windings. The winding failures were traced to there being no or inadequate transformer protection at -20% of substations.