Earthquake-Resistant Transformers

Swiss manufacturer unveils new design to prevent network failures, damages

Earthquakes, whether mild or severe, pose a threat for transformers in operation. To make sure the transformers will not move or fall in case of an earthquake, and thus cause network failures or damages such as oil leaks, R&S Rauscher & Stoecklin, the Swiss manufacturer, designed a new transformer set for earthquake-endangered regions; a product unveiled in an August news release on its website and endorsed by CWIEME’s newsletter.

Swiss manufacturing firm R&S has developed this earthquake-resistant transformer.—R&S photo

While not an official “first”, the Swiss model appears to be the first of its particular design.

However, Bonneville Power Administration has prepped for major earthquakes in the Cascadia region of the American Northwest for years, and concocted something similar back in 2013. At the time, BPA outfitted a 460-kV test transformer with base isolation devices that could protect the unit in a major earthquake that was the “first base-isolated transformer in North America, and one of a few in the world,” according to the administration.

The new model (shown above) consists of four adjustable steel ropes that lash down the transformer, making it “more flexible than the current solution with steel poles,” R&S says. Together with the set, corner reinforcements are recommended. “The ring loops on the transformers are often too weak, so steel ropes are attached to the corner reinforcements and to a wall or the floor.”

Assembly and installation is are available to be conducted by R&S employees. The set is applicable for all oil-type transformers up to 2,000 kVA or higher on request. Transformers equipped with an oil retention vat are also included.

In Switzerland, earthquakes are the natural hazard with the greatest potential for damage. They can neither be reliably predicted nor prevented. Thanks to intensive research, however, much is now known about how often and how strongly the earth could quake in certain places in the future. R&S, founded in 1919, is a well-established and experienced manufacturer of transformers, switchgear, and other electrical equipment.

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