How to use Corona Detection to Avoid Outages

by | Mar 7, 2019 | Predictive Maintenance, Ultrasonic Leak Detection

Listen, we know what might first come to mind when you hear the word “corona.”

A beer.  A beach.  A few moments savored while you are not worrying about your operation.

However, corona is not so relaxing if it happens in your high voltage electrical system.  In fact, it can be downright destructive.

Corona occurs when the air surrounding a conductor is ionized and an electrical discharge results.  That discharge represents a power loss and, over time, can damage system components.  Corona and arcing accelerate degradation of various components.  This, in turn, can lead to an outage and/or a variety of safety issues.

That does not sound like a day at the beach, does it.

Because of this, ATS strongly recommends corona detection as a key part of your predictive maintenance program.

Now, scanning high voltage substations can be dangerous if not handled with great care.  Happily, non-intrusive technology—using ultrasound to detect corona discharge—exists to avoid the dangers of opening substation panels.  With ultrasound equipment, a technician can scan seams and vent slots, and never have to open a door or remove a cover.

Here is how it works: ultrasonic equipment detects high-frequency sounds produced by disturbances in the ionized air.  It then translates those high frequency sounds down into the audible ranges.  A distinct erratic crackle or sizzle is heard when corona is present.  This “crackle” is a telltale sound that is not anything like the normal hum of transformers or other electrical equipment.

Once detected, flaws can be addressed in the system, minimizing downtime and preventing potential catastrophic failures.

If you want to be sure to have the time to enjoy that other kind of corona, make sure your predictive maintenance plan is set up to find corona issues before they become major problems.


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