Kenter, a leading Dutch energy metering and management company with more than 30,000 customers, has transformed maintenance inspections through the fast and safe detection of partial discharge. Left undetected, partial discharge can cause degradation of medium voltage installations which pose significant safety, efficiency and financial risks that are critical considerations in maintenance inspections.
Kenter is part of Alliander, the largest energy network operator in the Netherlands, and works to install, rent and maintain safe and reliable energy supplies to a wide range of businesses from small family-run bakeries through to electric vehicle manufacturers and large multinational chemical companies. Kenter offers innovative energy supply and measurement solutions to aid companies wanting to optimise their energy consumption. The company’s team of 300 maintenance specialists have greatly improved the speed and accuracy of scheduled maintenance inspections using an innovative handheld tool, the ii910 Precision Acoustic Imager from Fluke.
Managing maintenance schedules
Kenter provides 24/7 maintenance on the equipment required to deliver a safe and reliable power supply to customers nationwide. This service includes scheduled maintenance cycles which typically occur every three, five, six or 10 years. During scheduled maintenance, Kenter coordinates a series of works to minimise disruptions to operations, including checking for partial discharge.
Partial discharge is typically caused by a minor defect which can result in thousands of smaller repetitive electrical discharges. The phenomenon often occurs around insulation on pieces of equipment, such as high-voltage lines, transformers, turbines, busbars and the inside of cabinets, and can impact energy supply due to mechanical, heat, and chemical damage to insulators and conductors.
Fast and accurate inspections
The ii910 Precision Acoustic Imager allows maintenance engineers to quickly scan a customer’s electrical assets from a safe distance whilst operational, and immediately identify areas impacted by partial discharge. The image can be easily analysed to detect the type of partial discharge, enabling the team to undertake appropriate maintenance. Users benefit from the tool’s speed and accuracy, while customers can continue operations during maintenance inspections without the need for a plant shutdown.
According to Martin Damen, Technical Engineer Manager at Kenter, Fluke’s ii910 Precision Acoustic Imager has revolutionised maintenance inspections and is a critical tool for maintenance.
“Being able to scan a whole installation in one go is a real game changer in regard to how quickly we can identify a partial discharge issue,” he says.
Benefits in application
A recent review at a customer’s site using Fluke’s ii910 Precision Acoustic Imager showed partial discharge was occurring on the switchgear installation. This had not been detected by staff as there was no distinctive smell or sound during the interim review and no malfunction issues had been reported. The customer was also reluctant to shut down operations for assessment using an oscilloscope. Failure to identify this issue could have significant consequences due to the ultimate risk of the switchgear failing. According to Damen, the cost to replace the switchgear could be in the region of €30,000 – and that’s without assessing the potential damage to the customer’s reputation.
The ii910 device has helped Kenter’s management team to deploy their workforce more effectively. More than 18 engineers are now fully competent using the ii910 with online training being rolled out to the national engineering team.