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Friday, 26 November 2010

Condition Based Maintenance of Underground Cable Systems


De-regulation of power market brings changes by creating an increase in competition among utilities. Minimizing the cost of maintenance and losses due to cable failures is a key to successful operation.

Simulations demonstrate the possibility of applying condition-based maintenance for the entire service period of a cable system if maintenance cost could be lowered to a certain level.

The aging of power cables begins long before the cable actually fails. Preventing incipient failures developing into failures can greatly reduce loses. There are several external phenomena indicating undergoing aging problems, including partial discharges, hot spots, mechanical cracks and changes of insulation dielectric properties.

Most sensors currently used are cumbersome to move, complicated to use, or destructive to cables. In the presented project, non destructive miniature sensors capable of determining the status of power cable systems are developed and integrated into a monitoring system, including a video sensor for visual inspection, an infrared thermal sensor for detection of hot spots, an acoustic sensor for identifying partial discharge activities, and a fringing electric sensor for determining the aging status of insulating material.

Mobile monitoring can greatly reduce the maintenance cost and supply more accurate status of local cables over traditional monitoring techniques. The application range of condition-based maintenance can be expanded greatly with the aid of mobile monitoring.

A novel autonomous robot is developed A graphical user interface on the host computer is developed to enable motion control, sensor control and signal processing. Presented work demonstrates the use of mobile monitoring system for underground power cable systems to be viable and economically efficient...

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