This month’s Featured Technical Paper is from the Proceedings of the 2017 International Conference of Doble Clients. The paper is titled: Failure of an ABB 550 PM Gas Circuit Breaker.
FirstEnergy Corp. experienced a failure of an ABB 550PM40-30 while in service. The failure mode was subtle, with electrical tests, timing and travel tests, and SF6 tests yielding acceptable results. Digital fault data and relay targets clearly indicated a failure internal to the breaker. Upon internal inspection, the breaker was found to have flashed over at the tank throat from a shard of silver plating that had delaminated from the bushing through-rod bottom contact. This paper details this specific failure mode, FirstEnergy Corp.’s response, support from ABB, and lessons learned for future 500kV breaker internal failures. Going forward, if digital fault data and relay targets indicate a failed breaker, provisions will be made to perform an internal inspection regardless of the outcome of electrical, timing/travel, and SF6 tests.
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