Just like every other electrical component, high voltage insulators need cleaning and maintenance. Insulators are an important part of any machine or equipment. Therefore, they require attention to ensure a long, functional life. For better understanding when it comes to high voltage insulator cleaning, it helps to understand the insulator’s role and other facts about it.
What You Need to Know about High Voltage Insulators
The primary purpose of insulation or insulator is to protect or shield a part of a machine that is electrically-charged from another part, whether it is uncharged or charged. Insulation can be used on either low or high voltage.
When utilized at a lower voltage, it completely insulates the live conductor, while serving as a barrier. Additionally, the live conductors are kept away from human or animal contact with the help of this particular shield.
On the other hand, when it comes to high voltage insulation, it mainly supports the lines of overhead transmission or the transmission towers. The insulators also protect the live conductor so that the poles will not affect its function. Insulators, when utilized in transmission systems, should come with a hefty load, whether compressive or tensional.
High voltage systems that have capacitors and transformers generally require a liquid insulator to prevent arcs. The main job of the oil is to get rid of the air in the spaces of the system. Therefore, this product should be capable of supporting high voltages while avoiding electrical breakdown. In other systems, insulation materials used include gas, vacuum, glass (sometimes ceramic) wire holders, and even wires to use air as a shield.
Problems with High Voltage insulators
Insulators can last for a long time because of their structure and factory quality. However, they can also fail for several reasons, including electrical stress, mechanical stress, and excessive heat. Chemical actions on their surface can also take place, which leads to degradation. Such instance typically occurs due to the environment they are in.
Electrical failure happens usually between the conductor and the surroundings. Excessive stress on the insulator may result in failure, which is due to a flashover occurring through the air between the tower and the conductor.
In some cases though, insulators can be punctured even if the materials include porcelain, which has higher dielectric power than air. These parts of the equipment are designed in such a way that they will short circuit before they get punctured. If they fail to do so, it is mostly temporary. The insulators can also restore themselves back to life, or with a little aid from people.
However, if the failure happened because of insulation puncture, this problem is permanent. You will need to replace it since it is already damaged. Insulators can also have internal defects, which reduce their strength electrically. Some cases cannot be helped but high voltage insulator cleaning on a regular basis can certainly increase the sturdiness of this component.
Benefits of High Voltage Insulator Cleaning
Without a doubt, high voltage insulator cleaning is necessary. No matter what type of electrical equipment you have, you know it is essential to keep them functional. The good news is that maintenance of HV insulators will not take a lot of your time. Your operations can continue like normal, which is one of the benefits of the cleaning process.
Here are even more reasons why high voltage insulator cleaning will benefit you and your company:
You only need to clean periodically.
Unlike with other electrical parts, insulators are quite sturdy. Therefore, they only need to be cleaned once or twice a year. This process further increases their lifespan, which will provide you with more savings in the end.
High voltage insulator cleaning maintains electrical reliability.
You do not have to worry about the reliability of power supply among others. As you may already know, electrical reliability is a highly significant factor to ensure the profitability of both commercial and industrial businesses.
Facilities will only be lucrative if they have a dependable power supply and power delivery, as well as a reliable system and process. It is also important to make sure the performances of equipment and component are up to par, which can be achievable with the help of regular high voltage insulator cleaning.
The cleaning process immediately gets rid of the contamination.
When the insulators are contaminated, their properties and functions are greatly affected. You do not want this problem to happen to such components. The insulation properties are required to make sure your electrical equipment is properly protected. If the insulators are dirty, they will not do their job well or at all.
Cleaning the insulators saves you money.
Insulators can break down without proper treatment and maintenance. Cleaning helps you avoid costly issues, which may often be due to inadvertent outages. Also, if you do not take care of the unit, it is possible that you will need to replace it, which is expensive.
High voltage insulator cleaning is often taken for granted, much like several homeowners would neglect to sweep their floors. For a handful of companies, this process is not needed but they eventually face the consequences, which include a damaged insulator that needs replacement.
Instead of waiting for the effect disregarding the need to clean, it is time to start with the maintenance through a simple cleaning service.
How to Choose the Right Products for Cleaning and Maintenance
While it always helps to contact professionals instead of performing the cleaning task on your own, one important part that you can always do is to select the products your staff can use. There are several options found on the market these days and it is essential that you know which among them to pick for the component.
Here are some suggestions:
Dry abrasive cleaning materials
Such a product can help get rid of contaminants, which is significant so that there will be no electrical discharges that take place. As you may already be aware of, an electrical discharge can cause flashovers, which is one of the things that you should avoid. The following points will help you decide whether or not this product is for you:
Using dry abrasive materials has been proven to be effective.
Many companies utilize them to remove dirt and other impurities. Often, such a cleaning product is utilized to eliminate hard deposits, which include fertilizers and cement.
You can also use it on problems that are soft or liquid but still difficult to remove. For instance, you would like to remove grease. Dry abrasives are useful because they do their job without harming the insulator and its properties.
While dry abrasive cleaning materials are efficient, you may want to leave the task to the pros since it requires skill and experience to maintain the insulator.
You may have heard about cleaning pastes, which are used in many different industries. Their main job is to reduce downtime, which is typically related to injuries. The cleaning paste can enhance the reliability of the high voltage insulator, whether you use it in your power station, public utility, railroad, or power plants.
This particular product is known for protecting insulators no matter what they are made of, including glass, plastic, and ceramic. When using a cleaning paste, you may want to choose a product that is easy to use and nontoxic.
If you are looking for more reasons why a cleaning paste is necessary for maintaining insulators, here are some of them:
Cleaning pastes can help prevent water films and dust that may penetrate the insulator.
The product can protect the component from flashovers.
When used regularly, the paste for cleaning insulators can extend the cycle of maintenance while decreasing downtime.
Be sure to select a high-quality paste, so that you can use it to protect your assets. The product should be capable of protecting the insulator from scratches and dirt in just a single cycle. Professional cleaning service companies know what paste to use based on your situation. For instance, those in humid or polluted areas require additional protection through a silicone paste.
Heavy duty cleaners
Typically, pros use a first-step cleaner, which makes it easier to remove the rest of the contamination. A heavy-duty product can get rid of stubborn surface dirt even if they have accumulated heavily over a certain period.
You want to select a product that is known to have a strong industrial cleaning ability. Also, it should be effective in eliminating foreign deposits, which are often due to weathering.
Several steps are involved in the cleaning process. You can use a heavy duty cleaner to set up the surface so that it is prepared for the follow-up application.
How to Clean High Voltage Insulators
It is not enough that you have the best products for high voltage insulator cleaning because you should also know the proper way to carry out the task. The aim of cleaning is to loosen dirt and film while removing oxidation and other deposits. The result is to have a dry-cleaned surface that is free from contaminants.
If you plan to use more than one or two products, it is necessary that you prep the area first. This way, it will be much easier to apply the other cleaning products. Typically, the final step involves using a protective coat to protect the insulator and prevent problems for at least several months.
It is best to leave the job of cleaning the high voltage insulators to the experienced professionals. However, if you want to do it on your own or have your personnel do it for you, the best guide is to follow the instructions written on the products that you will use carefully and thoroughly. This way, you avoid any accident and ensure that you clean the insulator correctly.
Why You Need Professional High Voltage Insulator Cleaning Services
Tarnished bushings of high voltage insulators can affect their performance. When dealing with any piece of equipment that is electrical-related, you should contact a professional right away. While you can always turn off all operations to guarantee the safety of your staff assigned to clean, they may not do a good job at removing stubborn dirt on the porcelain surface of the insulator.
With the help of the experts, you can have a clean insulator that will work without problems for a long time. When looking for a company that provides a high voltage insulator cleaning service, be sure to keep in mind the following conditions:
Is the company OSHA certified? It is of utmost importance to ensure that the applicators and the cleaners are certified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In line with this requirement, the workers should also undergo yearly (or even monthly) meetings to ensure safety when working for you.
Are the employees trained? It is best that the applicators are a part of a company that provides extensive training for the staff. Each individual should have hands-on experience, particularly when applying certain cleaning products.
Can the cleaning crew perform all the maintenance tasks? Although it is not required that the applicators you hire will do all the work, it is beneficial that the crew is seasoned and knows how to clean the high voltage insulator as well as with other maintenance jobs. This way, you do not waste time, money, and product since everything can be fulfilled in a single service.
Can you see the results right away? You may already understand that contamination due to insulator flashovers can produce outages, particularly in severely infested sites. If you are near the ocean or in an area with air pollution, you want to make sure that the cleaning service provides you the benefits as quickly as possible.
Can the company provide a suitable product for the insulators? Due to the knowledge and experience in using various cleaning products, it should be easy for the company to give you the best cleaners for your situation.
High voltage insulator cleaning is not as challenging as it may seem, but it has a ton of benefits. The only difficulty that companies often face is performing the task on a regular basis. While it does mean shutting down the operations while cleaning is being carried out, your company will experience more gains in the long run.
Quite ironically, the downtime helps in reducing more shutdowns in the future, which is guaranteed to provide your venture more benefits because you have a well-cleaned high voltage insulator.