Taking the transformer hospital to the patient

Transformers are everywhere and when they break down they need to be fixed. Most are a little too big to be taken back to the workshop, so the service engineers have to go to them.

Whether it is out in the jungle, in the middle of a megacity or on a snow covered mountain, ABB’s unique TrafoSiteRepairTM solution is designed to repair and put failed transformers back in service in record time. This ensures that utilities and industrial plants have substantially reduced outage time during transformer failures, reducing loss of revenue and in some cases saving millions of dollars.

So what exactly is TrafoSiteRepairTM? This is ABB’s concept to bring the hospital to the patient instead of transporting the patient to the hospital, which could be far away or very costly.

This is a proven solution developed some 20 years ago and the concept has since evolved and is available globally with standard processes and workflows to secure quality and reliability. Remote or difficult site locations coupled with old and ageing infrastructure like bridges and roads resulting in high transportation costs and risk can be daunting for customers who see this as a viable alternative to fix a problematic transformer in the shortest possible time.

Transformer on site repair is performed by utilizing or constructing a temporary workshop environment on site. Heavy equipment like cranes and special material handling equipment is mobilized to the transformer site. Engineering and production teams design and manufacture required elements such as new transformer windings in the factory and deliver them to site.

The winding packages are shipped to site by truck in special sealed containers simplifying transportation and reducing cost. The failed windings are removed and replaced along with the insulation system. It is crucial that the complete core and coil assembly is dried on site before final high voltage testing prior to energizing the unit. On-site drying is achieved by utilizing low frequency heating coupled with a hot oil circulation process. Finally, ABB’s mobile high voltage test equipment helps with the on-site testing. This state-of-the-art test system is housed in a standard 40 foot shipping container and can be transported by road, ship or air to any location in the world.

ABB has successfully “TrafoSiteRepaired” more than 400 transformers (up to 800 KV) on sites all over the world. Transformer type, size, make, voltage class, MVA or other parameters are not a limitation for the ‘flying doctors’.

Continued investments are underway to further improve and develop related processes and equipment that support TrafoSiteRepairTM. This includes areas like mobile high voltage testing , temperature and impulse testing.

ABB’s highly skilled teams across more than 30 service centers around the world help ensure that there is a hospital at hand to rush out to the patient!

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About the author

Thomas Westman

I am Head of Transformer Service in ABB. I have been with ABB for more than 20 years having worked in a number of different functions and countries. In my current role I work with my global organization to support our customers in ensuring a reliable and safe energy supply.
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