Long term asset planning and the benefits of 3D modeling in transformer design

A challenge for any utility is the long-term asset plans required to ensure safe, reliable, efficient, and cost-effective electrical power.

Many asset engineers are questioning if they will get the same life expectancy from the transformers they purchase today that they did from the transformers purchased 40 years ago. Should they plan to replace them in 30 years or will they last longer? Advances in 3D design tools allow suppliers like ABB to manage these concerns and provide power transformers that are built to last.

Today, 3D modeling is used in a wide variety of fields; medical, architecture, manufacturing, games and even movies. Transformer design is no exception and 3D design tools allow engineers to model all the elements of mechanical, electrical and thermal characteristics of power transformers. Advances in the 3D modeling field now allow designers to model and design transformers for longer life and safer operation. By understanding the “as built” design conditions of the transformer we can anticipate, identify and address any issues that could cause serious problems once the unit enters service.

The life expectancy of a power transformer is high and with 3D modeling it can be even better. 3D modeling tools allow design engineers to model different designs and optimize that design to reduce hot spots, increase safety margins and reduce footprint. The designers can look for high current and stray flux control, eddy losses, core and clamp temperatures, lead exit temperatures and tank shunt optimization, all of which can reduce the life expectancy of a transformer.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of these new state-of-the-art modeling techniques and how they allow us to design safer and more reliable power transformers please read more here.

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About the author

Scott Curley

I lead the Demand Side Operations for ABB's power transformer business in North America, including strategic partnerships, marketing, engineering, project management and transportation of Power transformers. I've worked at ABB for over 20 years and have lived in the USA, UK and Australia.
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