The Preliminary Agenda is already set for the upcoming 2015 INMR WORLD CONGRESS to be held in Munich this October – a conference with 130 technical presentations by over 120 international experts in the fields of insulators, arresters, bushings and cable accessories.
This 20th anniversary INMR Congress will bear little resemblance to the first such event – the Symposium on Non-Ceramic Insulator Technology which took place in Zurich in 1995. Then, we had only a handful of speakers from the U.S., notably Ravi Gorur of ASU, Herman Schneider of EPRI and Jeff Burnham of Florida Power & Light. They talked mostly about the fundamentals of a composite insulator, from design to materials to manufacturing processes.
Back in 1995, polymers were seen more as a temporary detour than a final destination for insulator technology.
Twenty years ago, few power engineers at grid operators or electricity supply companies knew much about composite insulator technology. Those who did usually regarded it as still unproven and maybe even a technology that would ultimately be discredited. Porcelain and glass were still so firmly embedded in the discipline of line and substation design that it was very hard to conceive they might ever be displaced.
The conversion process from ceramic to composite insulator technology was made the more challenging by the long time it took to issue sufficient standards governing these products. Large utilities such as EDF in France and ENEL in Italy therefore had to propose their own internal requirements, including passing different 5000 h multi-stress test cycles. Looking back, the entire field seemed more a research dream than anything else.
Fast forward to 2015.
Today, numerous IEC as well as national standards have been specifically developed for composite insulators for both line and station applications. Today, growing service experience the world over has demonstrated all the areas of potential weakness in this technology. This has allowed manufacturers to adjust their designs and manufacturing so as to hopefully eliminate them. Also, new purpose-built injection molding equipment is now available to manufacture large numbers of polymeric network components of consistent quality.
Today, most power engineers have had some direct or indirect experience specifying composite insulators or polymeric housings on equipment such as arresters, bushings and cable terminations. And today, there are prototype transmission substations in Europe and China that are designed exclusively around composite insulator technology – for everything from posts to equipment housings.
Given the enormous changes in how the power industry utilizes composite and other types of insulators, the goals of this upcoming INMR event have also changed. Today, we are aiming to review what is being learned from continuing service performance in order to better understand the origins of all types of service problems and how these can best be resolved. We are also planning to present recommendations from experts on how to optimize insulation design for traditional transmission voltages as well as for emerging applications, from UHVAC to HVDC and UHVDC. We will also discuss the latest inspection technologies applicable to composite insulators and other line components so as to monitor their condition in service and allow for safe live line working. And, we will also hold one of the very first broad discussions on how aesthetic structures can help increase public acceptance of new lines. Combine this with sessions on application and condition monitoring of surge arresters, bushings and cable accessories and it seems clear that there will be many benefits for everyone who attends.
This 2015 INMR WORLD CONGRESS is a natural evolution of our first event in 1995 and will reflect how much has changed over only 20 years. It promises to be a unique gathering of international experts that should not be missed.
See you in Munich!