International standards form the foundation of effective equipment certification. However, as they are written to be widely applicable, they can’t cover all the operating conditions a component could face – particularly where those conditions become extreme. That’s why, drawing on the experience of our highly skilled test engineers, KEMA Laboratories offers a number of testing options that go beyond the standards.
Meeting local requirements
For example, Kuwaiti utilities were concerned that IEC standards specified temperature-rise testing at 20 °C. These tests are then valid for ambient temperatures up to 40 °C, but components in Kuwait regularly face temperature of 50 °C or more. There was no data on whether the thermal behaviour of components was the same at the two temperatures, so test results couldn’t confidently be scaled to suit these higher ambient temperature.
To help manufacturers demonstrate that their products can operate reliably in hotter countries, we have established facilities for performing temperature-rise tests at higher ambient temperatures. Tests are performed in a climate chamber large enough to hold the test object and all the testing equipment while ensuring the heat from the test object doesn’t affect the ambient temperature during the test.
In the three years since the Kuwaiti utilities approached us, we have carried out dozens of tests on transformers, medium-voltage switchgear and prefab substations at ambient temperatures of 50 °C, 52 °C and 55 °C. As a result, utilities in Kuwait and other countries with similar climates now often require components be tested at these higher ambient temperatures before they can be installed in their grids. By working together in this way, KEMA Laboratories, local utilities and component manufacturers are pulling together to ensure a safe and reliable energy supply no matter what the environmental conditions.