2024 Life of a Transformer Seminar Speaker Spotlight: Mark Lachman, Doble Engineering
This year’s the Life of a Transformer Seminar – running the week of February 12-16 – is bursting with indispensable information revolving around transformer lifecycle management with over 40 presenters from 22 unique companies representing all aspects of the power industry.
Everything from purchasing a transformer – including specifications, factory testing, design review – to installation, routine inspections, asset health, and load tap changers, finishing with failure investigations and decommissioning will be covered.
Presenting again this year will be Mark Lachman, Director of Diagnostic Analyses at Doble Engineering who has over 40 years working in the power industry.
We sat down with Mark recently to get a preview of the two tutorials he will be leading:
- Understanding Transformer Factory Testing Data: Tuesday, Feb. 13
- ADVANCED: Understanding the Transformer Equivalent Circuit Through Measurements: Wednesday, Feb. 14
Q: What topics do you cover in your tutorial, “Understanding Transformer Factory Test Data”, and why is it worthwhile to attend?
A: This tutorial is one in a triad which combines factory and field testing with discussion of the transformer equivalent circuit. It presents a brief overview (objective, physics, setup, criteria) of key electrical tests performed at the factory in accordance with IEEE C57.12.00 and C57.12.90. Our experience shows that the factory test floor can be a goldmine for anyone interested in understanding the phenomena occurring inside the transformer. Witnessing these tests, one is exposed to a variety of electromagnetic processes, magnetic and dielectric phenomena, moisture dynamics and thermal exchanges.
This tutorial is an introduction to factory testing; whereby, if one does find herself/himself on the test floor, the data and the process may look more meaningful. The topics of field testing (Brusetti, Wednesday, 1 pm) and the transformer equivalent circuit (Lachman, Wednesday, 8 am) are covered in separate presentations.
Q: What is included in your advanced tutorial?
A: At the Doble Client Service Department we are all about diagnostic data analysis; to me, to understand the data involves, first and foremost, to visualize the physical process unfolding during the test. One way to organize our thinking about the data is to use the transformer equivalent circuit. The elements that make up the circuit provide a link between the internal physical processes and the transformer external characteristics.
However, how well they serve us really depends on how well we understand their significance. To that end, it is instructive to recognize how such circuit is constructed. I argue that a more intuitive approach involves building the equivalent circuit from the results of the off-line measurements. Therefore, in the tutorial, we use a black box, which is interrogated with various electrical signals applied under different conditions. Then, using results of the measurements as the building blocks and our knowledge of electromagnetic fundamentals, we attempt to construct the equivalent circuit and assign the diagnostic significance to its elements.
Q: What are some of the challenges engineers encounter when trying to interpret diagnostic data?
A: One of the main challenges in performing diagnostic data analysis is our natural tendency to arrive at a conclusion by simply comparing data to a numerical limit and/or a benchmark trace. This approach works provided we understand the physical process which governs the data behavior. Nature is too complex and influenced by too many factors to confine its behavior between fixed limits. Recognizing that and visualizing the process behind the data is a challenge faced by anyone involved in diagnostic data analysis. One can gain experience by understanding the physics that results in “normal” data followed by which factors (other than defects) cause those deviations. Then, with this background in hand, the data caused by the actual defects/failures can be identified.
Q: How can attendees get the maximum benefit from their experience at the Life of a Transformer Seminar?
A: It helps to recognize that forums like the Life of a Transformer Seminar are not organized as step-by-step training sessions for beginners nor is it an “all you need to know” course about transformers. Rather, this conference is a collection of presentations by industry experts and decision makers. The objectives of this intense week are for companies to advertise and for the experts to share their knowledge and expertise. The intent is to showcase the latest industry developments, trends, products, and services which cover the most essential aspects of transformer life. The amount of information presented is overwhelming for everyone attending. This is normal!
While this event offers unique opportunities for professional growth and learning, one needs to be ready for them! What does that mean? Two things come to mind: knowing what information is essential for your work and/or having a topic you are really interested in. At the same time, attending the relevant presentations will not make one an expert. It will, however, identify things one does not know, things that are important, sources/papers/books with relevant information, and people who are knowledgeable on the subject. Subsequently, the actual learning could begin…
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