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Industry-leading ‘level of safety' delivered by GE for network transformer

GE's Digital Energy business (NYSE: GE) addressed operational and safety challenges with the introduction of its new Safe-NET Network Transformer, providing utilities with an industry-leading level of safety.

Most of the major cities in North America today have electrical distribution networks contained under sidewalks, roadways, and inside buildings to reliably serve the dense electrical loads required by large metropolitan areas.

The network transformers need to be installed in close proximity to pedestrian and other traffic due to the nature of the installations. As a result of this placement, safety is the highest priority for the underground network and specifically the network transformer.

High energy transformer events can often lead to uncontained ruptures and collateral damage, utilities therefore need to ensure that the network transformer can safely handle and dissipate that energy within the vault and away from pedestrians.

GE's Safe-NET Network Transformer features a patented tank design that improves the strength of the transformer and is also the first product of its kind in the industry.

According to Patrick Mathieu, engineering manager for GE's Power Delivery business,

"The Safe-NET transformer is one of the most significant advancements in technology for network transformers in the past 50 years: it is 2-3 times stronger than traditional network transformers". Additionally, he says "This allows for most events to be contained within the tank without rupture, and in extreme events provides for a locally contained release, providing safety for nearby pedestrians."

Operators and utilities are awarded peace of mind through the rigorous testing that GE's Safe-NET Network Transformer and its patented tank technology undergo.

"Any time electricity is distributed, safety is on the mind. Along with reliability, service continuity and maintenance, safety is a key performance indicator of a utility's power distribution operations," said Alan Swade, general manager for GE's Digital Energy Network Transformer business. "With its patented tank technology, our new Safe-NET Network Transformer helps resolve safety concerns, reducing risks for both the utility and its customers."

KEMA testing confirms that the network transformer is capable of withstanding over 11 megajoules of energy (as opposed to 4 megajoules for standard transformers), and its tank design exceeds the pressure requirements laid out in ANSI/IEEE C57.12.40 standards. The unit has also been seismic tested to meet the maximum (ground level) seismic levels expected in North America, validating that the transformers are expected to withstand the mechanical vibrations of an earthquake.

Safe-NET transformers are designed to supply power to the network bus and handle significant short-term overload. The unit's compact and configurable design also enables GE to provide one of the smallest network transformer (kilovoltamperes per cubic inch) in the industry to fit most of the smallest vault installations.

The transformers' best-in-class, corrosion-resistant paint reduces maintenance to prevent corrosion in the long term thereby increasing the life cycle of the transformer.

Sonobex, the pioneers of noise reduction technologies, that solve global noise problems, can address the low frequency hum omitted from power transformers, which means they can enable manufacturers to increase the load and maximise efficiency; whilst conforming to noise regulations.

Chief Technology Officer of Sonobex, Dr Daniel Elford c

"Our patented technology is based on a relatively new area of of physics. Our products cancel rather than reflect or absorb sound waves. This is unique because it enables us to design solutions specific to noise signatures. This in-turn delivers a much better noise reduction performance than in currently available products and is set to be a game changer for the power transformer global marketplace."