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230KV AND 400KV EQUIPMENTS MAINTENANCE PRACTICES,

EXPERIENCES & EXPECTATIONS


N.KAMALASANAN ACHARY
R.N.KAMARAJ

Additional Chief Manager / Electrical / TPSII


Deputy Chief Engineer / Electrical / TPSII

NEYVELI LIGNITE CORPORATION LIMITED,


NEYVELI 607 807

NEYVELI LIGNITE CORPORATION


LIMITED, NEYVELI is one of the prestigious
organization in Indian Power Sector & Lignite Mining
Industry. NLC is the biggest lignite based power
station in South Asia. There are three power stations
viz., Thermal Power Station-I, TPS-II and TPS-I (Exp)
of installed capacity 600MW, 1470MW and 420MW
respectively. In TPS-II, there are 22 bays of 230kV
equipments and 13 bays of 400kV equipments. EHV
sub station activities are very vital for smooth
evacuation of Power Generated. Only proper routine
maintenance practices, retrofitting of switchgear
equipments and its up gradation will ensure the
complete success. No doubt, our own experiences
are our master but the subtle man learns from the
others experiences also. This paper discusses our
own practices, experiences and expectations.

MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE:

MOCBs:

Periodical inspection of Air / SF6 / Hydraulic


oil pressures & their leakages and oil level
etc.
For air compressors, cleaning, periodical
changing of lubricating oil and removing of
water condensation from the air receivers
Measurement of breaker closing and opening
timing once in two years
Measurement of contact resistance, once in
two years
Half yearly maintenance schedule like
termination tightness checking, interrupter
insulator& supporting insulator cleaning, etc.

ISOLATORS:

The present system of maintenance schedule is the


result of continuous development based on the
experiences and events occurred in the system. The
details of preventive, periodical and major over haul
maintenance are furnished as a part of sharing the
information.

SF6 CIRCUIT BREAKERS:

Half yearly maintenance works viz., terminal


contacts inspection, tightness checking,
insulator cleaning, moving parts lubrication,
alignment checking, greasing of gear
mechanisms, checking / cleaning of auxiliary
contacts etc.
Assessment of damage in Fixed contact
assembly & moving contact assembly and
replacing them if required
Measuring and maintaining of contact
resistance

Periodical inspection of oil level, Nitrogen


pressure and oil leakage
Half yearly maintenance schedule viz.,
terminal contacts inspection, tightness
checking, cleaning, moving part lubrications,
critical dimensions checking (like sinking gap,
symmetrical movement, closing armature air
gap) etc.
Measurement of breaker closing and opening
timing once in two years
Measurement of contact resistance, once in
two years
Replacement breaker EHV oil once in two
years and as when the breaker operates on
severe fault current and also confirming the
operation of Nitrogen pressure relief valve
Major Overhaul once in five to seven years

CURRENT TRANSFORMERS:

Periodical inspection of oil level and oil


leakage
Half yearly maintenance works like tightness
checking, insulator cleaning, secondary
terminal box inspection etc.
Checking of spark gap
Oil tests for BDV, Dielectric dissipation factor
and specific resistance, once in two years
Checking of Nitrogen pressure once in two
years and charging the same if required
Replacement of EHV oil whenever the oil
parameter exceeds specified norms or once
in Five to seven years, which ever is earlier

Carrying out all detailed electrical tests viz.,


Insulation resistance, Ratio, Magnetising
characteristic, Dielectric Dissipation Factor
etc., once in five to seven years

CAPACITIVE VOLTAGE TRANSFORMER:

Periodical inspection of oil level in EMU and


oil leakage
Half yearly maintenance works such as
termination tightness checking, capacitor
insulator cleaning, secondary termination
box inspection etc.
Major Overhaul as when required and all
detailed electrical tests like IR value,
Capacitance
measurement,
Dielectric
Dissipation Factor, Winding resistance &
ratio measurement, etc.

LIGHTNING ARRESTORS:

Periodical monthly inspection and recording


of leakage current and counter reading
Half yearly maintenance works like LA stack
insulator cleaning, terminal tightness checking

FREQUENT PROBLEMS FACED


1. The half yearly maintenance works are
carried out on routine basis. These
maintenance works are carried out in
systematic
manner
with
checklist.
Occasionally, the problem arises after half
yearly maintenance also. One of the major
reasons identified is that the potential weak
points could not be identified before the start
of work. This leads to the thinking of
introduction of Infra Red Thermal Scanning.
2. 400 kV CVTs were failing very frequently due
to the failure of surge arrestor inside EMU
unit. Also numbers of failures have occurred
due to the failure of damping resistances.
3. Some manufacturers especially WS make
has not provided oil sampling provision with
valve arrangement in their CTs. The dummy
provided could not be opened confidently as
there is a chance of jetting out of oil with out
control. We ourselves are making steps to
provide suitable valve arrangements for
taking oil samples easily.
4. Failure of accumulators in Hydraulic
mechanism operated 400kV SF6 circuit
Breakers.

5. The available bus arrangement is two main


bus and one transfer bus system. Improper
current sharing especially in 230kV Double
break Isolators are noticed due to high
contact resistance when the two bus isolators
are closed for isolating one of the above main
buses / isolators.
6. The oxidization of silver coated contacts of
isolators could not be avoided in out door
switchyards. The problem is finding a method
to hoe with out affecting the silver coating.
7. It is generally felt that the MOM boxes of
isolators are not to the tune of withstanding till
the life of main equipments. In spite of regular
attention, problems like door hinge breaking,
key interlock switches failure, improper
closing of doors, auxiliary switches failure etc
are happening frequently.

SPECIFIC MAJOR INCIDENCES


1. One of the 230kV Current Transformer got
blasted and resulted in damaging of insulators
of so many near by equipment insulators. The
opening of secondary could not be suspected
because one day before the blast the feeder
had tripped on lie fault and the sensing &
operation protections were perfect. The
manufacturers may have more point to share
in this regard for the sudden failure of that
current transformer.
2. The originally available Pneumatic type NGEF
make 400kV Generator Transformer breakers
were replaced with BHEL make SF6 breakers
mainly due to frequent SF6 gas leak and air
leak. The cost of power generation loss was
so heavy which leads to replacement of four
generator transformer breakers. During
commissioning of one of that BHEL breakers,
the PIR mechanism failed to open which
resulted in blasting even before the unit was
tried for synchronizing
3. In one of the 400kV BHEL breakers, one pole
opened partially during protection tripping
which leads to blasting of that particular pole
interrupter.
4. One of the 400kV CVT, top capacitor unit has
blasted while charging the line which was
kept under hand tripped condition due grid
over voltage condition in the night.
5. The rare phenomena of Isolator getting struck
up in the arcing region had occurred 2 or 3
times.

6. 198 kV Lightning Arrestors especially in


Transformer yard which are not under the
protected area of switchyard lightning master
had blasted three or four times. Every time
these incidences had occurred on the rainy
day in the month of April & May. These
occurrences leads to the decision of replacing
all the Gap type lightning arrestors with
Gapless type lightning arrestors.

The main draw back of this instrument is that


it is difficult to obtain absolute value of particular
surface temperature. This will not affect usage of
this equipment in sub-stations because the
comparative analysis always possible very easily.

Up dating of Maintenance Practices:


In any front, continuous up gradation of
practices / technologies are must for the continual
improvement and to sustain the systems. The
problems enumerated above could not be
eliminated altogether. The failure of equipments
could be at least predicted to the maximum extent
possible by adopting suitable maintenance
practices. Some aspects are thought over and
implemented. The same are discussed below.

of the equipments due to internal failure while in


service. Before availing any shut down for routine
maintenance, all the equipments of particular bay
are scanned and potential weak points are
identified before shut down. This is helpful in
giving special attention to the identified weak
points during routine maintenance. These
measurements are very effective especially in CT
termination and Isolator & Breaker power
contacts.

High current DC Contact Resistance


Measurement
Infra red Thermal Scanning
Circuit breaker operating analyzer

High current DC Contact Resistance


Measurement:
Measuring of DC contact resistance with 100
Amps kit was introduced. This test could ensure
the perfect making of power contacts in Isolators
and breakers.
Whenever the breaker is tested for timing
checks, the contact resistance values are also
measured. This will be helpful in identifying any
major problem / damage inside the interrupter
with out opening the same.
The contact resistances of all isolators of
Generator transformers and feeders having high
current power flow are being monitored on regular
basis. This test will guarantee the proper closing
of isolators. This contact resistance measurement
is helpful in minimizing the power loss through
isolator contacts and also eliminating the
unbalance in current sharing as stated above.

INFRA RED THERMAL SCANNING:


The introduction of Infra Red Thermal
Scanning is a boon to our maintenance divisions.
Before its introduction, routine maintenance
activities were carried out with out knowing fully
the potential weak points before hand.
This
instrument can measure the surface temperature

CIRCUIT BREAKER OPERATING ANALYZER


This instrument is exclusively used for
circuit breakers. Earlier only tripping time and
closing time are tested / checked. The availability
of this instrument is helpful in analyzing:
Operation timing of Main and PIR
contacts simultaneously
Bounce / Chattering during operation
Coil current characteristic
Auxiliary contact status
Contact travel / mechanism velocity
Wipe of contacts
Dynamic Contact Resistance
The initial signatures of all the breakers are
not available to compare with that of present
status. It is being attempted first to create the
existing status signature, which will be more
useful for future comparisons and analysis.
The main draw back of this instrument is
that only a comparative study of the parameters
of the same equipment can mainly be carried out
which necessitates always the old parameters
than the independent study. Another major draw
back of this instrument is that these
measurements
require a lot of time, which is
normally not available during shut down for
routine maintenance works.

UP GRADATION OF EHV SWITCHGEARS:


Majority of our bay equipments have served
more than 15 years. It is essential to have more
hectic activities like retrofitting, up gradation,
major overhauling to keep the equipments in
healthy and trouble free operation. The major
activities on the anvil are:
1. Now MOCB technology has become
absolete.19 numbers of 245kV MOCBs are to
be replaced with SF6 Circuit Breakers.

2. Some of the 400kV SF6 Circuit breakers have


served 15 to 20 years of service. These
breakers are to be taken up for major over
haul and requires detailed inspection of gas
chambers.
3. Some 70 numbers of 245kV double break
isolators have served more than 15 years
service. These isolators require retrofitting /
replacements to further extend the life of
these equipments.
4. The available CVTs are 0.5 class accuracy.
The available energy meters are 0.2 class
accuracy. It is planned to replace the existing
bus CVTs with 0.2-class accuracy CVTs.
5. The major work of replacing more than 50
numbers of 198kV and 360kV Gap type
lightning arrestor with the Gapless type
lightning arrester is under progress.

EXPECTATIONS:
The expectations listed below are based our
experiences. Here some of the expectations,
which require further clarifications from the
manufacturers, are also listed below.
1. As said already one our 245kV CT had
blasted some few years back, which
leads to multiple damages to the various
neighboring equipments. Really it was a
nightmare to replace all the defective
equipments within a specified time frame.
It is learnt composite bushings suitable to
EH Voltages are available in the market
which is fracture & explosion proof and
easy to handle. These insulators have
excellent pollution free layer on account
of the hydrophobic insulation. These
insulators may be introduced for breaker
interrupters and Current transformers,
which are liable for explosion.
2. The silver coatings of power contacts of
isolators are getting removed while
cleaning by usual practices to remove
oxide coating. This results in increase of
contact resistance and damages further.
Is there any other method of removing
this oxidation with out damaging silver
coating or is there any possibility or
method of giving silver coating at site.
3. The failure of Lightning arrestors had
occurred. Is there any foolproof method to

assess the condition of the lightning


arrestors while it is in service?
4. Some pf our OIP condenser bushings and
Lightning arrestors are located near Air
Condition Plant cooling towers. This result
in exposure of one side of insulators to
water drifts, which leads formation thick
scale in one half of the insulator with in a
short period (six months to one year).
Whether any body could suggest the
method removing scales with any loss in
insulator properties or method to avoid
formation of such kind of scaling.
5. There is a formati0on of white powder
coating in aluminum pad clamps,
aluminum bus bar clamps etc., where an
air gap is available. No doubt it is creating
a high resistance path. Whether it is due
to mere oxidization or any other
phenomena and how to prevent that
coating formation.
6. Corona discharge is a common
phenomena in any EHV system. There
are some instruments available in the
market to measure the corona discharge.
Is there any significance in measuring
corona
discharge?
Is there
any
recommendation
from
the
EHV
switchgear manufacturers in this regard?

CONCLUSIONS:
The maintenance schedule discussed
here is for our own evaluation purpose.
Whatever failures / incidences highlighted are
just for the purpose sharing our experiences
with
the
other
power
utilities and
manufacturers for the further improvement
system / equipments. Some of our
expectations are thrown to this august forum
in the form of questions. Any manufacturers
or any agency those who some remedy /
solutions with them may share for every ones
betterment.