While Ronin continues to support important operators in the power and energy sector, we did learn some meaningful lessons about the global electrical transformers maintenance market.
Four Main Trends in Transformers Maintenance Market
- Strategic investments in renewable generation resources
- Demand for intelligent, resilient, net-zero and interconnected grid
- Integration requests of additional services beyond company’s portfolio
- Trend assessessment of assets, standalone or fleet, with calculation of risk probability
On the other hand, the transformer sector is also affected by events that impact their end customers to an equal extent but perhaps with less effect:
Time factor: if you are on the market and do not respond promptly, you lose. When I began 25 years ago it was quite acceptable to wait for 15 days for transformer diagnostic report or for an entire fleet, now it is often risky.
Let’s take a practical example. To obviate the energy costs many steel mills change their production cycles with few weeks of notice period. On the other hand, furnace transformers previously acquainted to some of these cycles are now working in very different conditions.
Physical bottlenecks for data retrieval:
- Chip shortage is literally “turning off” numerous online asset monitoring devices mounted in previous years that now simply cannot have replacement of the PLC or other IT components due such shortage
- Human limit: a chemical or electrical testing laboratory processes a finite number of samples after which the necessary human validation creates delays of the order of days
- In case an on-site advice is requested, given the COVID situation and general increases in the aviation sector and living expenses, we have month-to-month planning when only a few years ago it was possible to organize a mission with 2-3 days’ notice at the antipodes
A New Hope
In fact, we have always thought that even more complex technology such as AI must be understood in the most original definition. Think of Robots as man’s assistant in carrying out basic and repetitive tasks faster (the old dear Isaac Asimov had well seen what they were the exact conditions of operation of these apparatuses, while the fears about the inferior use of technology should rather be addressed to the cultural context where the human designers of these technologies have matured).
Some tips that arose from the direct experience of our customers:
– Ease-of-Use: intuitive dashboards for comprehensive overview, even for non-IT or electrical engineers
– Predictive/suggestive trends: reliable and talking forecasts (the system has been trained and validated)
– Quick response: remote and 24/7 uninterrupted access to diagnostic intelligence on whether to stop a transfer for maintenance
– Ubiquitous: can integrate tests of any origin regardless of the geographic location of the testing lab
– Generalist / specialist: issues evaluations of individual assets or fleets for a variety of asset categories viz., furnace, step up, distribution transformers
We are confident that right tools can not threaten the job replacement experts and that it is a docile and reliable tool, in short, not Hal 9000 of a space odyssey but R2D2 of Star Wars