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A new lease of life for power transformers


ABB’s new transformer remanufacturing service offers a new lease of life for ageing or faulty power transformers

ABB’s new transformer remanufacturing service enables ageing or faulty power transformers to be completely rebuilt and returned to as-new condition, or even upgraded to a higher specification. A remanufactured transformer provides the same performance as a new transformer at a much lower cost. However, the main advantage is ABB’s fast turnaround that can have a customer’s transformer back in operation in around one-third of the normal delivery time for a new unit.

The UK transformer remanufacturing service has been developed by Mark Turner, operations and quality manager for ABB’s worldwide network of transformer service centres, who said: “The re-manufacturing service is targeted at medium and large power transformers from any manufacturer, not just ABB. The comprehensive service includes on-site assessment of the transformer’s condition, and arranging for it to be collected and delivered to our factory in Drammen, Norway. At the factory the transformer is stripped down to its component parts and rebuilt with the same care and attention to detail as our new transformers. We then return the unit to site and install and commission it.

“The cost of remanufacturing a transformer will vary from case to case. But typically, we would expect to have it back in service at around 60 to 70 per cent of the cost of a new unit. However, it is delivery, rather than cost, that will be crucial for many customers, especially as the current growth in demand world-wide for HV equipment is resulting in ever increasing delivery lead-times. We can have a remanufactured large power transformer back in service in around six months. That’s one third of the 18-month delivery schedules now being quoted for new large power transformers.”


The flexibility of ABB’s transformer remanufacturing service enables customers to opt for an upgrade to ‘better than new’ specification. This could be as simple as a change in voltage rating or could extend to taking advantage of ABB’s state-of-theart computerised design tools to have the transformer completely redesigned to a higher power rating. Other upgrade possibilities include enhanced cooling or rewinding the coils with Nomex® high-temperature insulation material that boosts power, as well as offering significant improvements in lifetime and reliability.

The remanufacturing service will be particularly attractive for the UK’s vast installed base of power transformers, many of which were installed in the 1960s and are now near the end of their useful working life. However, the service is also ideal for newer transformers that may have developed a fault or have been damaged by a network event. Whatever the age of the unit, once it has been remanufactured by ABB, the reborn transformer will be able to look forward to another full working life of between 25 to 50 years.


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