Power transformers have complex internal systems that degrade over time. As a consequence, it may be necessary to inspect the internal components for signs of abnormal operation. ABB’s TXplore accomplishes an internal inspection examining the structure of the transformer without the need to remove the oil and send an inspector into the confined space of a power transformer.

ABB Ability™ inspection for transformers – TXplore™ (image. abb)
ABB Ability™ inspection for transformers – TXplore™ (image. abb)

Use ABB’s inspection service to examine the internal structure of your power transformer without having to remove the oil or sending an inspector into confined spaces.

Ability to perform an internal inspection of an oil filled transformer without needing to drain the oil.


Product scope

  • Use on any oil-filled power transformer
  • Compatible with mineral or ester fluids
  • Eliminates the risk of a person entering the confined space environment
  • Inspection can begin immediately after taking an outage
  • Significant reduction in outage time
  • No, or very little, oil needs to be handled
  • Eliminates the need for a confined space rescue team

Inspections can become more routine
The TXplore™ can assist in emergency inspections of critical transformers when operational issues are detected. TXplore™ can be deployed as soon as the transformer is de-energized. This additional data supports a more accurate evaluation of the transformer’s ability to continue to operate reliably. TXplore™ can become part of a routine periodic inspection, combined with typical oil samples analyzed for chemistry, dissolved gases and electrical tests such as ratio, power factor, SFRA and others.

This evaluation allows the transformer operator to confirm asset readiness/reliability and to use baseline data for future condition comparisons.

The need for understanding your asset condition
Power transformers are critical to moving electrical energy over long distances. They have very long service lives, typically providing reliable energy transfer for several decades. To ensure a long service life, maintenance must be carried out as the transformer ages and issues arise. The largest transformers are typically filled with mineral oil, which acts as a coolant and provides electrical insulation for the high voltages the transformer must withstand. Both the mineral oil and cellulose insulation break down from the stresses of use and aging.


ABB Ability™ TXplore™
ABB Ability™ TXplore™


The challenges of traditional inspections
In the past, to evaluate if a specific internal component or system required repairs, it was necessary for someone to perform an internal inspection of the transformer. This required bringing oil processing and storage equipment to the site and removing the oil from the transformer. An internal inspection expert would then enter the transformer and perform the inspection. All of this causes a significant outage and considerable expenses for the customer.

The internal inspection is quite challenging because spaces are tight and the environment is not human-friendly. It is also dangerous, as the confined space requires effort to ensure the air inside is breathable. The process can result in the need for extensive processing to remove gas, moisture and re-establish oil impregnation of the insulation system.

The ability to perform an internal inspection while the transformer is filled with oil
ABB has developed the TXplore™ to function as a remotely controlled inspection submarine. This allows an inspection of the transformer with minimal to no oil being removed by inserting the device through a top manhole cover. This completely eliminates the need to place a human inspector at risk and expose the transformer’s internal structure to external contaminants and potential damages from the weight of a human performing an inspection.

The TXplore™ can assist in emergency inspections of critical transformers when operational issues are detected.
The TXplore™ can assist in emergency inspections of critical transformers when operational issues are detected.

An on-site operator directs the TXplore™ using a wireless controller. The TXplore™ has multiple lights and highdefinition cameras that are able to provide photographs and video during the internal inspection. With local communication and support through the ABB Ability™ platform, transformer experts and customers can watch inspections in near real-time from remote locations.
This feature allows ABB to bring the experts in to help with the evaluation and remotely direct operators to look at specific areas in more detail, improving the ability to accurately identify the root cause of a problem.

Get connected and make better decisions
ABB Ability™ TXplore™ inspection can be viewed by our experts via an internet connection. Experts can review information collected during the inspection and develop action plans to improve the reliability of the critical transformer asset. ABB Ability™ TXplore™ service can be scheduled to take advantage of a planned outage with little or no increase in the outage duration. ABB can also deploy a team to perform an inspection when unforeseen issues are encountered with same- or next-day response.


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