Abe Shahrodi is a power systems expert and principal consultant of Power Magnetrics Solutions Ltd., based out of Cleveland (USA). He holds a PhD in Power Electronics from the University of Toronto (Canada). He is an active member of the IEEE Conference Meetings and Transactions and has also worked in the IEEE Power Apparatus and systems group. He currently holds the position of the Chair of Societies: Power and Energy, Industrial Electronics, Industrial Applications and Reliability. He is extremely skilled in engineering design, management and performance optimization of transformers has over 7 patents to his name. He has also authored numerous research articles in the IEEE conferences and transactions all over the world.
Let’s start the interview!
Q. Tell us about yourself
Abe: Hi, my name is Abe Shahrodi. I have been active in the power industry in North America since 1978. After finishing my graduate studies at University of Toronto (Canada), I worked in Canada and later moved to United States in 1986. For the years that I have worked in various industries related to power. Initially with power electronics, I had some work done with the power systems with Ontario Hydro regarding automation generation control. After moving to Ohio in 1986, I have worked in various industries related to UPS systems, high power conversion. Over the last 20 years, I have been increasing involved with the design, studies of transformer issues, performance improvement, material improvement etc.
Q. What inspired you to join this sector?
Abe: I was very much impressed by the visualization of power generated first and then transmitted over long distances. As I got familiar with different components such as motors and industrial power systems, found it very interesting compared to other fields that I was exposed to. I felt I could understand this field better, specialize in it, contribute to the industry. And that’s how I became more interested.
Q. What trends do you think will rule in the next 5 years in this sector?
Abe: In transformer industry internet of things (IoT) and wireless transmitters for diagnostics, health and maintenance scheduling. Predictive maintenance based on AI and other algorithms etc. Particularly for transformers, different aspects of electronic controls, communications, detecting components are improving. They are finding there way in to the transformer industry and solving issues related to component failure, ageing, and malfunctions. The future looks bright for IoTs and intelligent detectors as well as for the software associated with them which would review the system over time and tell us what to do?
Q. Can you elaborate why?
Abe: Transformers’ unexpected failure is costly and one of the last remaining technical areas that could be improved using the latest computer and communication technologies.
Q. Most of the people think maintenance and reliability are the same thing. What are your thoughts about it?
Abe: Maintenance and reliability are two basic things. One is a work schedule, a plan, a program that you plan in advance based on the condition of transformer. Reliability depends on maintenance to some degree. It is more qualitative number of probability of failure.
Q. What is the best piece of advice you would give to a junior professional to succeed in your sector?
Abe: Power systems is a very interesting field. Pay attention to details and learn conceptually why every rule or standard is in place. In other words, avoid shallow learning and get a deeper understanding of the engineering concepts.
Q. Can you recommend any books or media?
Abe: Power and Distribution Transformers- Practical Design Guide by KRM Nair