Diagnostic, Maintenance & Replacement Strategies Applied to Insulators & Cable Systems


The term ‘Smart’ is often encountered for products and processes and relates to the fourth industrial revolution, dubbed Industry 4.0 and which succeeds Industry 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 (see Table 1). Industry 4.0, and in its slipstream Reliability 4.0, concern ‘smart’ production or systems that incorporate four themes: 1. Interconnection (IoT, IoP and IoE, i.e. internet of things, people, everything); 2. Information transparency (a.o., digital twins, fusion of physical and virtual world); 3. Technical assistance (cyber physical systems (CPS), i.e., sensoring, data storage, network compatible); and 4. Decentralized decisions (algorithms and rules).

Industrial revolutions are triggered by breakthrough technologies on the one hand and societal/economic needs on the other. The roots of technologies and needs can be part of much older trends. However, through the ages, generic drives to implement technologies are factors such as adapting to crises, cost reduction, quality improvement, efficiency improvement and increased output.

Computers, data storage and software also developed over the centuries, from ancient calculators, algorithms (800s), mechanical programmable devices (1800s) and libraries (writing from before 3000 BC). From about 1940, electrification of computers and semi-conductive material technology enabled compact and increasingly powerful systems that triggered the digitalization revolution. But it is not only material that shapes breakthroughs – also philosophies, visions, concepts and direct developments, such as computer languages and software. For example, massive interconnection, integration of systems and information science and technology have facilitated the ‘smart’ revolution. Therefore, the fifth revolution may well be already in the making but may take several more decades to recognize.

Revolutions come with a variety of transitions that can overlap in appearance. At present, a transition to sustainability is evident, but more trends are materializing. In fact, a series of ongoing trends and transitions are shaping the world of energy supply and associated maintenance of power grids (see Table 2).

Table 1: Overview of Industrial Revolutions
Table 2: Overview of Transitions

For example, one of the important characteristics associated with Industry 4.0 is proactive maintenance. The 4.0 wave capabilities enable smart maintenance. Quality assurance of power electronics, systems and applications is the subject of the EU project Intelligent Reliability 4.0 (short: iRel4.0), which relates to Industry 4.0. In this project, parties collaborate along the complete value chain from wafer production to system integration. Data driven Physics of Failure models and Empirical Models are combined with Health Management and Business Processes to generate Prognostics and Health Monitoring (PHM) aiming at higher reliability with lower costs. PHM is essentially employing power electronics for PHM on arbitrary systems and/or applies PHM to power electronics alike. One of the use cases in iRel4.0 is UC-E1 that aims at magnetic partial discharge diagnostic for cable systems, power electronic systems and associated insulators.

Attend the 2022 INMR WORLD CONGRESS in Berlin where asset management strategist, Prof. Robert Ross at IWO Technical University Delft in the Netherlands will ‘kick-off’ the event with a fascinating perspective on SMART maintenance strategies for power systems and key components such as insulators and cable systems. He will also discuss smart maintenance with diagnostics and replacement strategies to best understand the merits and limits of this approach.