Transformer Condition Assessment - TCA®

Comprehensive Transformer Oil testing & Assessment

What does the TCA® program include?

Insulating Fluid Quality Assessment

Diagnostic Evaluation

The most easily accessible and efficient way to determine transformer condition is to use the fluid as the diagnostic medium. It has been estimated that transformer fluids contain about 70% of the available diagnostic information for transformers. The challenge is to access and use it effectively. Traditional transformer oil testing programs utilize only a few diagnostic parameters leaving a myriad of important oil­ based information unused. Surveys of failed transformers have revealed that many failures can be attributed to problems that could have been property managed with a more detailed analysis of the insulating fluid.

To meet the demand for an improved transformer management tool, TJIH2b Analytical Services has developed Transformer Condition Assessment, TCA®. TCA® offers a comprehensive assessment of the dielectric and mechanical state of the transformer through transformer oil testing and analysis of the insulating fluid. The TCA® test selection includes application from the field of microscopy, providing a better understanding of the problems and risks associated with continued transformer operation.

What are the benefits of the TCA®?

Comprehensive Diagnostics

TCA® integrates test data, analyzes trends and provides important information for the life management of transformers through transformer oil testing and analysis of the insulating fluid.

Optimized Transformer Use

Information about the dielectric and mechanical state of the transformer provides for better management of loading.

Greater Reliability

TCA® provides assistance for fault management and corrective procedures leading to a reduction in failures and an enhancement in reliability.

Frequently Asked Questions About TCA®

After performing a TCA® analysis on your transformer, you will receive a condition rating. The recommended sampling interval ranges from ‘immediately’ to ‘annually’, depending on the condition of your unit. Please refer to the scoring methodology or reach out to TJH2b for further explanation on recommended intervals.

TCA condition codes, in general, indicate the following+:

  • Code 1: All parameters within acceptable limits. Retest within 12 months.
  • Code 2: Onset of fault activity or oil degradation is evident. Retest within 6 months.
  • Code 3: Substantial development of fault and/or deteriorating oil quality. Retest within 3 months.
  • Code 4: Serious fault activity and/or very poor oil quality. Further investigative action required. Retest within 14 days.
  • Code 4*: Urgent action required. Retest immediately. Subject to confirmation via repeat sample, an internal inspection may be required, proceed immediately and with caution.

+Some variations of the recommended mitigations or retest intervals may occur at the discretion of the laboratory based on information provided. With transformers, we are dealing with a complex subject involving a number of variables. As such, general “rules of thumb” with regard to sampling intervals cannot be applied in every case. A number of other factors must be taken into consideration, such as:

  • Service history of the transformer (e.g. units with a history of elevated dissolved gas levels should be sampled more frequently)
  • Maintenance history
  • Voltage rating
  • Age
  • Load – past and present
  • Criticality

As such, the appropriate action is up to the discretion of the Asset Manager who is best placed to take other influencing factors into account according to established internal procedures. Our codes and recommendations, while based on a vast amount of experience as well as guidelines published by IEEE and other standards bodies, are to be taken only as useful guides.

A Transformer Condition Assessment (TCA®) includes a condition rating, diagnostics, and potential remediation actions where applicable. Upon receipt of the report from TJH2b, we recommend that results and diagnostics are reviewed promptly, following internal procedures. If further support is needed, TJH2b offers free, 24/7 consultation services to help you understand reports and provide guidance.

TJH2b recommends following the latest revision of ASTM D923 (Standard Practices for Sampling Electrical Insulating Liquids) or an equivalent standard in order to ensure consistent, high-quality sampling practices. TJH2b has developed a tool to help you meet the standard and take a proper, representative sample every time: Turbulent Flush Sampling System.

How can we help?

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