Although a special trip to the manufacturing plant to witness final-acceptance testing of their power transformers is important for most customers, they are increasingly being deterred by rising travel costs.

Siemens Power Transmission and Distribution (Siemens PTD; Erlangen, Germany) has developed a way of allowing customers to attend final-acceptance inspections at its transformer manufacturing plant in Bogotá, Colombia, and avoid such expenditure. The process is based on an innovative video-acceptance testing system developed by Siemens PTD and launched successfully at the Colombian factory. This technology allows customers to witness all acceptance tests in real time on their own PCs and to view any stage of the manufacturing process.

Siemens experts in Colombia have developed video-based remote-acceptance testing in cooperation with a U.S. specialist company. With this system, customers and subsequent operators of power transformers are able to take control of the test bay cameras from their own PCs (loaded with Java Viewer software) during acceptance tests. Three individual passwords give every customer secure, virtual access to the manufacturing plant.

On either side of the test bay are two cameras, which the customer can swivel 120 degrees at a click of the mouse and even zoom in close enough to read the data on the transformer's rating plate. These cameras allow the customer to view part of the production hall.

There is also a tripod-mounted camera in the test bay office that displays test readings for the customer's benefit. A hand-held camera is available to transmit selected images from the production plant to the customer's PC on request. The camera operator communicates with the customer by headset and telephone during this process.

This service is helping the Colombian transformer plant develop new markets, particularly in the United States. The plant's remote-acceptance testing system has already proven so successful that even customers from Mexico and Colombia have opted to witness the final-acceptance testing of their transformers via a live video link to PCs in their own offices.

Siemens PTD manufactures power transformers with ratings up to 150 MVA/220 kV and oil-immersed distribution transformers at its plant in Bogotá. The transformers manufactured there are supplied mainly to countries in Central and South America but also to the United States.
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