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Optimising Overhead Line Conductor Inspection and Condition

This project is to identify the technologies currently available on the global market for assessing the condition of overhead tower conductor, in particular Aluminium Conductor Steel Reinforced (ACSR). A shortlist of suppliers will be produced and these devices will be trialled on the network and where required modifications will be made to the devices to adapt them to the UK market.

Project-on-a-Page summary

Project data

Start date: 01/04/2016
End date: 02/01/2019
Budget: £1.5m

UK Power Networks currently has approximately 9,000 broad-based towers on its network. Of these, approximately 6,000 are strung with Aluminium Conductor Steel Reinforced (ACSR), 1,200 with All-Aluminium Alloy Conductor (AAAC), and the rest is made up of a
mixture of conductors. The majority of ACSR were installed in the 1950s and 1960s and it is also currently still being installed.
Failure of ACSR conductors may occur when the supporting steel core deteriorates either through corrosion or is annealed through over-heating of the conductor. The steel core is protected from corrosion by high temperature grease and some earlier conductors
had a bitumen paste layer. Corrosion can occur where there has been incorrect application of the grease during the manufacturing either by applying too little or applying too much. It can also occur where grease has migrated to a lower point of the conductor
because of excess heat.

This project will seek to develop new technologies or methods that can detect or predict defects in overhead line conductors.

The project will research the global market for current technology of assessing overheadline conductors and trial the devices on the network. A number of existing technologies around the globe will be identified and benchmarked.

Identified OHL robotic devices for the conductor condition assessment will be identified and modified to suit UK DNOs network and trialled on UKPN network.

The current methodology for assessing overhead line conductor is no longer supported by the manufacturer and is approaching end of life. This new device is innovative as it has never been trialled in GB networks before.

As part of the trial, it will be demonstrated the technology adopted is giving the results as expected to build confidence on the technology.

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