Quick Deploy Solution for Substation Monitoring

2019 UPDATE: Study originally conducted March-April 2018. Based on customer feedback, Viper has made developments to further enhance system functionality and portability. See comments throughout this report.

UPDATE: Installation process has been streamlined and can be accomplished in under an hour.

UPDATE: Installation process has been streamlined and can be accomplished in under an hour.

Portable, Multi-Use System Resolves Critical Problems

Overview

Hot spots - evident with thermal imaging - are an indication of impending failure.

Hot spots - evident with thermal imaging - are an indication of impending failure.

Electric power companies need systems that reduce the risk of breakdown in power delivery, such as blackouts and brownouts, often caused by aging infrastructure. A breakdown can have extensive negative affects to the customers and communities they serve. The costs associated with unplanned maintenance and restoring system operation can be massive.

Viper recently worked with a company known as an innovation leader in the production of clean, safe and reliable energy. We collaborated with the substation engineering team at one of the company’s facilities that generates electricity to provide service to nearly 1.5 million customers.

Challenge

The Substation Support Manager approached Viper in order to develop a means of monitoring multiple substation locations. Due to the substantial investment it would take to cover every substation location in the state, he asked for a remote monitoring solution that could be transported from one site to another, as needed. After these initial discussions, Viper cooperated closely with the Substation Support Engineer to design a system that would meet their needs. Subsequently, Viper designed an innovative, portable system that can be implemented on a temporary basis at almost any substation. By use of such a system, engineering teams are better equipped to respond in real time to sudden changes, facilitating continued uptime while working safely and effectively.

Before contacting Viper Imaging, the Substation Support Engineer said that his team relied on manual inspection, using handheld thermal imaging cameras to identify problems before failures occurred. These traditional methods proved ineffective in preventing downtime due to limitations of both time and manpower, as well as increased potential for human error. He mentioned that a CCVT (Capacitively Coupled Voltage Transformer) can go down in one minute - resulting in significant downtime. He added, “This also presents a safety hazard, as CCVT’s can explode during failure, sending out shrapnel that can injure employees or damage other equipment.” One can easily see the advantages of constant remote monitoring as opposed to manual inspection.


Solution

Setup now complete in 60 minutes or less: Simple, streamlined process - see for yourself! (2019 update)

Installation of Viper’s Quick Deploy Substation Monitoring Kit provides remote monitoring that can easily be positioned to monitor critical monitoring assets and then transported to another location as those needs change. Installation is complete in about 90 minutes – consisting of two FLIR thermal imaging cameras integrated with powerful ViperVision software for continuous monitoring. In addition to the camera capabilities and integrated software, the Substation Support Engineer and the Equipment Testing Supervisor are very pleased with the ease of setup and the system’s portability.

 

2019 UPDATE: Installation process has been streamlined and can be accomplished in under an hour.

Components and connectivity (June 2019)

Components and connectivity (June 2019)

Temperature increases in substation components are monitored by the system which can alarm when a component exceeds or falls below a pre-set temperature range, providing early warnings via email, text and control point verification. This allows for proactive maintenance and reduces the risk of catastrophic failure. ViperVision software directly communicates with the industrial platform controller via a variety of standard protocols. Temperature data is displayed on a monitor in real time, and hot spots are evident before excessive heat or insulation loss results in failure. The software analyzes and compares the data against predefined parameters and triggers an alarm if warranted. These parameters can be adjusted based on the specific application needs, and all data can be saved for process analysis and quality control.

UPDATE: Infographic above reflects changes made in 2019. 2) New control panel enclosure is more compact and features a touch panel display - making it even simpler to use in the field. 6) FLIR A300 series cameras are now housed in IP67-rated ViperVenom enclosures, which helps reduce cost while increasing protection.

Infographic Notes:

  1. Ruggedized computer system designed to withstand the environment

  2. To keep the system lightweight, Viper uses an aluminum (5052) electrical enclosure. It can be locked with a padlock.

  3. Web relay is installed allowing for remote reboot of the computer and cameras.

  4. High speed 4G cellular communication is standard.

  5. Options to the control panel enclosure include a touch panel (shown above) and an air conditioner which provides up to 800 BTU/hour of cooling. Heaters are installed for cold environments.

  6. The FLIR A300 series cameras are housed in the IP67-rated ViperVenom enclosures, protecting the camera from the environment. The camera’s digital data stream is connected wirelessly to the control system. ViperVision software controls all camera functions, collects temperature data, displays thermal images and analyzes data.


Outcome

Since implementing the use of Viper’s Quick Deploy Substation Monitoring System, the Substation Support Engineer and Equipment Testing Team cite the following key benefits:

  • Portability and quick setup - requiring only power,

  • Improved safety for plant personnel and reduced risk of breakdown,

  • Saved time and manpower,

  • Remote thermal monitoring for plant management,

  • Ability to plan for maintenance, and

  • Increased reliability of power delivery.

The engineering and testing team relies on the data provided by this system. When asked if there is a particular aspect of the system they depend on most, the Substation Support Engineer said, “The ability within ViperVision [software] to draw regions of interest is a real time-saver.” He added that the team also relies heavily on the system’s portability. They will be using the system in many locations throughout the region.

ViperVision software screenshot - monitoring two specific regions of interest (ROI's)

ViperVision software screenshot - monitoring two specific regions of interest (ROI's)

As this study illustrates, ViperVision software, paired with FLIR thermal imaging cameras, is providing an effective solution for measuring temperature to assess substation component reliability. The added benefits of quick setup and portability make this a truly powerful solution for substation monitoring.

For more information about Viper’s Quick Deploy Substation Monitoring Kit, or any other industrial process monitoring application, please contact us!

The ability within Vipervision [software] to draw regions of interest is a real time-saver.
— Substation Support Engineer