30 Eylül 2017

  

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The Intel-line project has been funded by the European Union under the ‘Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) - Pilot Innovation Actions’ programme. The objective of Intel-Line is to take the technology for non-destructive ultrasonic inspection & monitoring of high voltage electric power cables developed jointly between Plant Integrity Ltd, and BIC to commercialisation by further improving both the hardware and the control/display/reporting software and the encapsulation.
The two year project started in October 1st, 2016, and will be completed September 30th, 2018. The partners in the project are:

 

  • - Plant Integrity Ltd (UK)
  • - Brunel University (BIC)
  • - Montage Cablage Installation (MCI) (France)
  • - Nesne Electronic Ltd (Turkey)

 

Potential Benefits of Intel-Line Technology:

 

  • - The use Ultrasonic Guided Waves (UGW) to inspect all High Voltage electrical cables.
  • - Quick, easy to setup, and cost effective solution to inspect cables
  • - Real time Condition Monitoring (CM) of cables in real time
  • - No helicopters and skilled personnel required during the inspection besides the initial installation of the product
  • - Replace unreliable periodic visual inspection
  • - Reduce the risk of catastrophic failures
  • - Provide valuable data that helps linking the degradation of the cables to local environmental conditions or use of the cable or simple aging

This project will have a significant positive impact on the power industry as it will enable the industry performing condition based maintenance, reducing the operation and maintenance costs, improving safety by reducing or eliminating helicopter line inspection and improve the quality of visual inspection practices commonly used today. This will ultimately support the power companies towards having a sustainable electricity supply to vast number of customers in major industries as well as household in cities.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During the first period of the Intel-line project, improvements on the hardware and software was carried out based on the outcome from previous projects. Modifications on the system components i.e. clamps, transducers and signal processing algorithms was performed in order to improve the defect detection resolution.
Mainly, upgrading the ultrasonic functionality of the transducers, electronics (the pulse receiver, power supply, energy harvesting system) to optimize the excitation of the guided waves in multi-wire cables, software and user interface design, clamp assembly and mechanism to reduce the fitting time from 30 minutes to less than 5 minutes, and the encapsulation of the system to a more robust enclosure were successfully realized.

For the purpose of introducing the system and implementing the dissemination and exploitation strategy plan, the consortium attended to the conferences, exhibitions and started to strengthen the stakeholders’ network of the Intel-line system. Major electricity transmission/grid companies, solar energy and inspection SMEs which has the significant position in the market has already been contacted.
Moreover, the partners continues to explore the export possibilities in America, Europe and Asia where they have already contacted some of the major companies.
For the efficient management of the project, one kick-off meeting and three quarterly progress meetings were held by the consortium on a regular intervals of 3-4 months time. Apart from the face to face meetings, weekly and monthly conference call meetings were held among work package leaders and relevant partners.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The current inspection techniques require a heavy workload and present dangers for technicians. In addition, the visual and thermographic inspection tasks become more challenging when it comes to inspect power lines that are either visually inaccessible or inaccessible due to weather constraints. Furthermore, conventional ultrasonic testing is based on localised inspection (i.e., suitable for short range inspection). This requires de-energising the power line cable, which is undesirable from both the customers’ and suppliers’ perspectives. Finally, there are some critical damage specifications, such as the internal corrosion of steel reinforced aluminium conductors that cannot be detected using current techniques.

Intel-Line overcomes these limitations with current inspection technologies through adopting a novel NDT technique based on long range ultrasonic guided waves.

The overall objectives and expected result of this project are to enhance and commercialise Intel-Line - an automatic, self-powering inspection system using long range ultrasonic guided waves to identify cable faults and provide a structural health monitoring system to the network power industries.
The socio-economic impacts of the Intel-line system can be summarized as follows:

 

  • - Removes hazard; increased health and safety for inspection teams
  • - Provides robust maintenance and inspection schedules using structural health monitoring
  • - Identifies potential problems – reducing outages and power drops across network
  • - No de-energising of cables for inspection and monitoring
  • - Energy harvesting – sustainable and clean power supply
  • - Reduction in helicopter inspection – less fuel and CO2 used