Online monitoring of turn insulation deterioration in mains-fed induction machines using online surge testing
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The development of an online method for the early detection of a stator turn insulation deterioration is the objective of the research at hand. A high percentage of motor breakdowns is related to the failure of the stator insulation system. Since most of the stator insulation failures originate in the breakdown of the turn-to-turn insulation, the research in this realm is of great significance. Despite the progress that has been made in the field of stator turn fault detection methods, the most popular and the best known ones are still limited to the detection of solid turn faults. The time span between a solid turn fault and the breakdown of the primary insulation system can be as short as a few seconds. Therefore, it is desirable to develop a method capable of detecting the deterioration of the turn insulation as early as possible and prior to the development of a solid turn fault. The different stresses that cause the aging of the insulation and eventually lead to failure are described as well as the various patterns of an insulation failure. A comprehensive literature survey shows the methods presently used for the monitoring of the turn insulation. Up to now no well-tested and reliable online method that can find the deterioration of the turn insulation is available. The most commonly used turn insulation test is the surge test, which, however, is performed only when the motor is out of service and disconnected from the supply. So far no research at all has been conducted on the application of an online surge test. The research at hand examines the applicability of the surge test to an operating machine. Various topologies of online surge testing are examined with regard to their practicability and their limitations. The most practical configuration is chosen for further analysis, implementation and development. Moreover, practical challenges are presented by the non-idealities of the induction machine like the eccentricity of the rotor and the rotor slotting, and have to be taken into account. Two solutions to eliminate the influence of the rotor position on the surge waveform are presented. Even though the basic concepts of online surge testing can be validated experimentally by a machine with a solid turn fault, it is preferable to use a machine with a deteriorated turn insulation. Therefore, a method, which does not require complex and expensive hardware, to experimentally emulate the turn insulation breakdown is implemented. The concepts at any stage of the work are supported by simulations and experimental results. In addition, the theory of surge testing is further developed by giving new definitions of the test's sensitivity, i.e., the frequency sensitivity and the error area ratio (EAR) sensitivity.