Three Serious Questions to Ask Now About Condition Monitoring

By Tony McGrail, Solutions Director at Doble Engineering Company

While condition monitoring is becoming an integral part of daily power grid operations, there’s a huge difference between simply checking on assets and truly proactive intervention.
When a ‘check engine’ light goes on in a car, taking the directive literally and opening the hood to make sure the engine is intact doesn’t solve the problem. Someone needs to understand how the car works to take steps to prevent the engine from failing. The same principle applies to power grid assets.
Yet, too many teams forget to take a step back and think about the ultimate goal of condition monitoring, which is to actively monitor, and spot signs of equipment failure early, and then ACT by scheduling maintenance or other interventions before it’s too late.
If you want to get serious about condition monitoring, ask yourself three questions:

1. Do I have the resources necessary to achieve my goal?
Regardless of your motivation for conducting condition monitoring, your entire team must have a genuine understanding of the program’s core objectives. Once aligned on the specific problems that need to be solved, these program goals can be used to better guide your purchasing decisions and determine whether an existing solution is the right fit.
Anyone can sell you a box with lights on it—but not all condition monitoring solutions are created equal. The monitor should give you actionable information on which you can base confident decisions. And considering how quickly the industry is changing, its critical to have a flexible, scalable platform capable of growing alongside your condition monitoring needs. Today you may only want to monitor one or two parameters on assets at one station, but that may change in the future.

Read full article in the SPECIAL TRANSFORMERS ISSUE.

Doble Engineering Company advertisement in the issue:
“CALISTO™ T1. A Configurable, All-in-one Condition Monitoring System.”

SOURCESPECIAL TRANSFORMERS ISSUE. Electricity Today Magazine. 2020 Volume 33, No.2
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Tony McGrail is Doble Engineering Company’s Solutions Director for Asset Management & Monitoring Technology, providing condition, criticality and risk analysis for utility companies. Previously, McGrail spent more than 10 years with National Grid in the U.K. and the U.S. McGrail is a substation equipment specialist with a focus on power transformers, circuit breakers and integrated condition monitoring. He has also taken on roles of Substation Asset Manager and Distribution Asset Manager, identifying risks and opportunities for investment in an ageing infrastructure. McGrail is a Fellow of the IET, a member of the IEEE, and a member of the IAM. He is currently Chair of the Doble Client Committee on Asset and Maintenance Management and a contributor to SFRA and other standards at IEEE, IEC and CIGRE. He holds a B.S. in Physics, supplemented by a M.S. and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and a M.B.A. McGrail is an adjunct professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute of Massachusetts, leading courses in power systems analysis.