Many electric utilities have employed equipment condition monitoring (ECM) to maintain electric equipment in top operating condition while minimizing the number of interruptions.
With ECM, equipment operating parameters are automatically tracked to detect the emergence of various abnormal operating conditions.
This allows substation operations personnel to take timely action when needed to improve reliability and extend equipment life.
This approach is applied most frequently to substation transformers and high-voltage electric supply circuit breakers to minimize the maintenance costs of these devices, to improve their availability, and to extend their useful life.
Equipment availability and reliability can be improved by reducing the amount of off-line maintenance and testing required and by reducing the number of equipment failures.
To be truly effective, equipment condition monitoring should be part of an overall condition-based maintenance strategy that has been properly designed and integrated into the regular maintenance program.
ECM IEDs are being implemented by many utilities. In most implementations, the communication link to the IED is via a dial-up telephone line.
To facilitate integrating these IEDs into the substation architecture, the ECM IEDs must support at least one of today’s widely used IED protocols: Modbus, Modbus Plus, or DNP3 (distributed network protocol). In addition, a migration path to UCA is desired.
If the ECM IEDs can be integrated into the substation architecture, the operational data will have a path to the SCADA system, and the nonoperational data will have a path to the utility’s data warehouse. In this way, the users and systems throughout the utility that need this information will have access to it.
Once the information is brought out of the substation and into the SCADA system and data warehouse, users can share the information in the utility. The “private” databases that result in islands of automation will go away.
Therefore, the goal of every utility is to integrate these ECM IEDs into a standard substation integration architecture so that both operational and nonoperational information from the IEDs can be shared by utility users.