Founded in 1945, Qualitrol delivers condition based maintenance solutions for high value electrical assets within the electrical grid. Currently, the global organization has five manufacturing sites and an engineering center in India. Qualitrol manufactures a wide variety of basic and advanced sensors, monitors in addition to software, which are leveraged by its customers to determine the health of their electrical assets within the grid. A provider of comprehensive condition based monitoring solutions that deliver value to their customers, Qualitrol helps its clients in preventing unplanned outages, extending asset life, and managing their asset portfolio. Below are insights shared by Linda Rae, the President of Qualitrol, on her company's seamless and comprehensive condition monitoring solutions.
What are the major challenges that your clients are facing today?
Our customers can be divided into two categories, utility providers and asset manufacturers for the electric grid. Our customers are facing many predicaments while building their grid infrastructure. Some customers face challenges due to an aged portfolio of assets. For example, many of the transformers in substations are over 50 years old. They’re concerned about how to extend the life of an aging transformer fleet, as well as, how to better avoid unplanned outages.
We offer monitoring equipment that solves both of these situations. Our solutions not only provide insights into the health of the transformers and other assets, but they also deliver early indications of potential failures, wherein a transformer can be taken offline in a scheduled manner.
Another aspect that our customers are struggling with is how to take advantage of all the data that online monitoring systems and offline testing equipment have been gathering over the years. Our software platform is incorporating analytical capabilities by integrating both online and offline data to be used effectively and efficiently.
How do you understand the unique requirements of your clients?
We have a variety of experts on staff in addition to a very knowledgeable sales team that are continuously visiting our customers to understand issues, concerns, or problems that need to be solved through condition-based monitoring.
Our solutions not only help in providing insights into the health of transformers and other assets but also deliver early indications of potential failure
It's an intensive 'voice of customer' prioritization that allows us to spend time with our customers. The consultation services or expert services that we offer also endow us with a unique opportunity to build customer relationships and intimacy in a way that's providing value to organizations. We provide expert service value to our customers, help them interpret data, and provide training and reports on their assets, which also gives us an additional insight into their needs and concerns.
Please give us an overview of the solutions that you deliver.
We have one of the broadest portfolios of sensors, monitors, and software that allow us to provide a complete solution from basic sensors to software and analytics. Our team of subject-matter experts provides consultative services to our customers’ condition monitoring needs, guiding and supporting their technical decision-making process.
For example, our dissolved gas analysis monitor, TM8 is one of the top performing gas analysis monitors in the market and serves as a critical monitoring system for transformers. That specific solution inspects levels of different gases dissolved in the insulating oil in a transformer. Through this, the possibilities of transformer failures can be predicted, and customers can be informed to mitigate it. As a result, the customers can take the transformer offline to initiate the maintenance process.
Another innovative product that we deliver is our transformer and gas insulator partial discharge monitoring system. It provides clients with advanced monitoring capabilities and information about a different phenomenon within the transformer or a gas insulated switching system. We facilitate the ability to not only detect whether arcing is happening but can also determine the exact part of the transformer where the problem might arise. This provides useful information to the maintenance crew as they can now take the transformer down and conduct repair or maintenance activities for a specific section.
The coupling of these two solutions forms a complete way of monitoring the internal health of a transformer.
In addition, our comprehensive software platform, Qualitrol's SmartSub, can provide integration and visualization to a wide variety of signals that can be monitored. The platform also indicates the place of alarms and sends them to a SCADA system. Further, we also deliver the (QTMS), which is essentially the summing node that forms the nucleus for our condition monitoring solutions. QTMS is the point where all the inputs from the sensors are gathered together and subsequently the scope of the problem can be communicated to the clients’ SCADA system or control room.
What’s the next big thing that Qualitrol is working upon?
We will continue to expand our offering on the hardware side by addressing additional assets in the grid.
We're also aiming to keep pace with the emerging technology changes and challenges of integrating renewables into the grid. Having renewable energy sources integrated into the grid at the distribution level creates some unique technical challenges that we aim to address with our evolving portfolio in the near future. We plan to augment our software offering and in particular, build more competent analytics capability so that we can provide extensive information to our customers.