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How can condition monitoring make your power systems more resilient?

By Sebastiano Scarpaci
11-05-2023 | 4 min read

Power outages can cause major disruptions in our lives, especially when we rely so heavily on electricity. We all know how frustrating it can be when power goes out unexpectedly, but have you ever wondered what keeps electricity running smoothly?

A high-voltage circuit-breaker plays a crucial role in ensuring the reliability and resiliency of the power grid - its failure could lead to difficult consequences that can greatly impact day-to-day operations and people. Therefore, circuit-breakers require regular and effective maintenance to keep its optimal and high-quality performance.  In fact, some studies1 indicate that more than 40 percent of the overall maintenance cost on substations is spent on maintaining critical components such as high-voltage circuit-breakers.

Hitachi Energy understands the importance of upkeeping circuit-breakers and has introduced the Modular Switchgear Monitoring (MSM). MSM is a customizable digital condition monitoring solution that utilizes real-time data and advanced algorithms to assess circuit-breaker components and help develop an ideal predictive maintenance strategy.

Condition monitoring maintenance vs preventive maintenance

In maintenance, there are two common approaches: condition monitoring and preventive maintenance.

Preventive maintenance is a time-based approach that is still valid and used globally but unfortunately, it has limitations since it does not monitor components and key parameters between scheduled intervals. This disadvantage could lead to over maintenance or under maintenance of the asset, making it unreliable and could possibly increase maintenance costs.

On the other hand, condition monitoring is a predictive approach based on real-time conditions of the asset and is a proactive and optimized approach that significantly improves the reliability of assets. Condition monitoring of switchgear helps build an efficient on-site visit and maintenance strategy, which means fewer chances of surprises in the form of failures and unplanned downtimes. And in the rare case of failure, recorded data offers excellent diagnostic capability, drastically reducing the time to repair. Advanced condition monitoring systems like MSM can help accelerate the transition from the preventive maintenance approach, thereby reducing operational costs for inspection, maintenance, and repair.

What is MSM?

Hitachi Energy’s MSM is a highly customizable digital monitoring system that covers all essential parameters accountable for over 80% of major failures of high-voltage circuit-breakers and provides a cost-effective solution for accurate real-time monitoring with minimized and optimal use of sensors.

MSM uses advanced algorithms to process raw data and offers valuable information through data visualization. It is a scalable and adaptable solution that can be integrated with high-voltage switchgear, including new installations and retrofits, Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), and third-party devices.

In 2022, Hitachi Energy helped realize the first global application of MSM with a measured travel curve feature for a 500 kilovolt (kV) substation that was installed in 2008. MSM was designed to meet specific site requirements and capture, in real-time. Furthermore, MSM was capable of accurately monitoring other parameters such as coil current and motor current. The integration of the solution into the digital substation was made easy through its IEC61850 interface, providing the desired flexibility for the customer.

Unlocking long-term benefits for your assets

Whilst time-based preventive maintenance has been the standard approach, it has limitations that can lead to over or under maintenance.

A better maintenance approach that fits today’s evolving landscape is condition monitoring that enables maintenance optimization and extends asset lifetime.

Through advanced condition monitoring solutions like MSM, utilities can ensure the optimal performance of their power systems while also avoiding unplanned maintenance visits and minimizing maintenance costs.

It is clear that technology and digitalization are essential components of modern power systems, and it is up to us to leverage these tools to make our power systems more reliable and resilient in the face of ever-changing circumstances.

With the increasing demand for electricity worldwide, it is crucial that we continue to invest in innovative solutions like MSM for a more sustainable, flexible and secure energy system.

1 Silva, Milthon & Jardini, J.A. & Magrini, Luiz. (2005). On-line condition monitoring system for in-service circuit breaker. 1 - 7. 10.1049/cp:20050962.

Find further information on customizations and applications of MSM

    Sebastiano Scarpaci
    Global Product Manager

    Sebastiano Scarpaci is a Global Product Manager within the digital portfolio of the High Voltage Products business at Hitachi Energy. He has over 15 years of experience in product management, business development, R&D, design and project management.

    He strives to make a positive difference by leveraging his global outlook while keeping a keen eye for details. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.