Africa's first test truck: Reinhausen South Africa (RZA) offers mobile high-voltage testing
Considerable cost savings compared to factory testing
If transformers need to be tested to see if they are working properly (e.g. because of fault suspicion or after repair during which, for example, windings were replaced), these tests are generally performed in a test lab. This is tremendously expensive and time-consuming because it requires the entire transformer be disassembled, transported to a factory, tested, transported back to site and then assembled again. But these tests can also be carried out at the customer's location. That is exactly what Reinhausen South Africa (RZA) recently started doing with their mobile high voltage test stations.
The energy infrastructure in Africa is still very problematic in some areas. Transformer stations are in the middle of nowhere, streets and other transportation routes are in poor condition and coordination is difficult. The need to replace, test or overhaul transformers usually presents a logistical nightmare. "Sometimes, new transformers might stand on the side of some road for months, waiting to be picked up," reports Kobus de Villiers, Managing Director of RZA. This is what happened with an electricity utility some years ago when it wanted to install three new power transformers for a high-voltage line to Johannesburg and Pretoria. Quite a few transformers are connected to this line."The power transformers are from the early 1970s and now had to be replaced or overhauled," explains Kobus de Villiers. At first the acquisition of new transformers seemed a good idea but faced with the logistical problems, repair on site became more feasible. If the transformers were to be repaired on site, testing on site became an absolute must.
RZA contacted its colleagues at HIGHVOLT in Dresden, because HIGHVOLT, which is also a member of the Reinhausen group, has been building trucks with integrated testing technology and static frequency converters for a few years now. Normally these types of tests would require dismantling the entire power transformer, transporting it to a factory, testing it and then returning it. Mario Jochim (HIGHVOLT) explains, "That would mean spending an enormous amount of time and money, which can easily be spared with a mobile test station." To help customers economize, RZA bought two mobile testing systems from HV (one for alternating current and one for direct current). The testing trucks are perfect for southern Africa. The trucks were first used in Johannesburg and will soon travel to other substations to perform tests on site after repairs were carried out.