Mobile transformer testing unit one-of-a-kind

Select Technical Solutions, a division of Victorian energy distributor SP AusNet, now has Australia’s first mobile high power transformer testing unit.

Imported from Germany, Select Technical Solutions’ condition monitoring manager, Russell Wheatland said the $2.2 million testing unit is the only one of its kind in Australia.

“Everything we need to conduct selected high power and high voltage testing is now contained in a 12 metre container which can be transported anywhere in Australia,” Mr Wheatland said.

“This ability to conduct high power tests in the field will save energy companies valuable time and resources, something that essentially is a major benefit to both the business and the customers.”

The testing equipment is designed to prove the insulation integrity and basic performance parameters of electrical transformers. From the extra high voltage transmission system down to an electricity sub-station, transformers play the vital role of changing the voltage to levels safe for use in homes.

“Developed in Germany, there was considerable effort to ensure the testing unit would meet Australian requirements before the decision was made to import it,” Mr Wheatland said.

“More than two years of research and testing was carried out, but the final result was definitely worth the effort.”

The mobile unit is capable of undertaking a number of specialised tests on electricity transformers rated up to 500 kV and 600 MVA, which previously could only be completed in a laboratory with a suite of expensive test equipment.

The mobile unit is primarily used for over-voltage induced tests, including partial discharge detection, load and no-load loss measurements and, given the correct reactive compensation unit, can supply the continuous power required for on-site temperature rise tests.

“Using the mobile unit we are able to undertake some of these tests on site, saving considerable time and costs. These tests are critical to ensure the efficient operation of electrical assets,” Mr Wheatland said.