Dedicated to providing monitoring, control, and communication solutions for electrical equipment, Dynamic Ratings enables utility companies to collect and use condition based monitoring information on their high voltage electrical assets to improve business performance. The firm works closely with its customers to create standards that ensure that its monitoring solution is implemented in a consistent fashion irrespective of the age, make, or model of the electrical assets being monitored. By helping utilities address the numerous challenges around deploying and managing their condition based monitoring programs, the company ensures simplicity in installation and use of the system.
In this interview, Tony Pink, GM/COO of Dynamic Ratings, shares some insights about the organization’s equipment monitoring solutions and services, their unique value proposition, and their roadmap for the future.
What are the technological challenges that companies face in the equipment monitoring space?
Most often, the person who specifies the equipment and writes the standard for capital management does not necessarily have control over the installation process. The person is also not responsible for operating the equipment. When the equipment reaches the site, the responsible professional is not aware of the end objective and benefit of the equipment ordered and may not configure it to its required usage. The challenge here is that organizations need suppliers that can work across these departments within the utilities to bring them on the same page and achieve a common goal. What we strive to do is provide commissioning assistance to ensure that the vision with which the equipment is ordered is carried through to installation and commissioning so the customer can reap the maximum benefits.
What are the trends prevailing in the marketplace currently?
The overall trend is towards using information collected continuously to optimize maintenance, operations and risk. Real time information provides the ability to move away from time based maintenance to just in time maintenance saving precious O&M dollars while at the same time improves reliability by identifying problems ahead of time. The tolerance for utilities to have unexpected equipment failures is definitely declining which is why companies are looking for monitoring solutions that can provide the ability to predict failures so they can take proactive actions for their assets and the grid.
This is one of the unique abilities that we provide a ‘no false alarm guarantee’ for our customers
What are the unique products and services that you offer to the utility industry?
We specialize in the monitoring of any electrical assets including transformers, circuit breakers, batteries, motors, generators and switchgear. At the onset, we try to get a good understanding of the customer’s objectives and the processes they want to implement to achieve their goals. Post that, we not only supply the equipment, but also help them identify the optimum design for hardware along with the support and services required to ensure they achieve their goal cost-effectively. With our application engineering team, we put together targeted proposals addressing various aspects of the customer’s process and supplying hardware such as sensors and monitors as well as software to carry out analysis. In some cases, we do turnkey installations where we not only install the hardware and software but actually carry out the analysis on their behalf.
Could you please discuss a case scenario where Dynamic Ratings’ solutions helped a company in addressing their challenges?
One of our utility clients wanted to monitor the step-up transformers at their generation power plants. We installed our monitoring equipment to bring all the data to our three monitoring centers—North America, UK, and Australia. In case of an alarm, the system notifies our team in the respective time zone where the alarm is reviewed and the customer is notified if corrective action is required. In the process, we identified two problems with the equipment condition and the operation of the equipment within the first month of commissioning of the system. Identifying the issues very quickly for a relatively small deployment really impressed the customer. The data was regularly being analyzed by our subject matter experts who then performed detailed analysis to filter out items that required immediate attention versus something that could be addressed during the next routine trip to the substation. One of the unique services that we offer is a ‘no false alarm guarantee’ for our customers.
In another instance, we developed a monitoring system to detect geomagnetic induced currents (GIC). Our GIC sensor uses a aproprietary design to filter out the primary system frequency and detect only DC and near DC currents. The sensor can operate across a wide temperature range and was designed to avoid problems with residual magnetism that effects other sensors on the market. The sensor, combined with our monitoring system is able to detect DC current flowing into the transformer during geomagnetic storms and determine whether the transformer is at risk.
Can you share details of the firm’s plans for new solutions and technologies that could play a role in the company’s offerings in the near future?
Serving the market for over 16 years now, Dynamic Ratings has worked with numerous utilities for asset monitoring on their largest and most expensive assets. One of the prime reasons behind this is the fact that we can provide end-to-end interoperability and a no false alarm guarantee. Given that the cost of monitoring technology is reducing, we are expecting to see growth as monitoring is introduced into smaller asset sizes. To service this market, we are now launching products specifically designed for distribution transformer monitoring. At the same time, we are creating software solutions to ensure that the utility industry can gain maximum benefit out of the monitoring product.