20 years of MPD technology

January 15, 2020

Two decades of innovation in partial discharge testing

When MPD technology joined the OMICRON portfolio in 2006, it was already a market-proven solution for partial discharge (PD) measurement and analysis. Development of the innovative MPD technology we know today began 20 years ago. We asked the original MPD developers – Caspar Steineke, Harald Emanuel and Burkhard Daniel – about the history of MPD technology for PD testing

First of its kind technology

Caspar Steineke: “It all started with various requests from utility customers for something more than what was available at the time for PD diagnosis in the field. For starters, we were asked to participate in the commissioning of the first-ever 400 kV XLPE power cable system. Our task was to come up with a way to perform synchronous PD measurements on multiple cable joints with distances of several kilometres in between. The solution we developed for synchronous, multi-channel PD measurements was a first in the industry and it is how MPD history began.”

Harald Emanuel: “The other motivator for the MPD was measuring PD on large motors in nuclear power plants. These motors were located in the radioactive zone, where no access is allowed except during maintenance cycles every three years. We were asked to come up with a PD measurement solution that could be calibrated only once every three years and still ensure measurement repeatability between calibrations. Ours was the first system to offer this level of PD measurement reliability.”

Innovation driven by customer feedback

Caspar Steineke: “Our early customer base was extremely helpful in providing us with feedback about their PD measurement applications and the features they needed. We incorporated each of these requests into what became the MPD 540, which was the first official mass-market version of the MPD introduced in 2003. Since then, we never stopped asking customers to share their experiences with the device and need for added hardware and software features. This feedback resulted in the 2nd generation of MPD technology, which includes our current MPD 500 and MPD 600 systems.”

Many innovative features

Burkhard Daniel: “Innovative MPD features developed over the years for highly sensitive and reliable PD testing include fiber optic connections of hardware components for safe operation and reduced connection-related disturbances; PD data recording in the field for replay and post-analysis back in the office; as well as advanced methods for eliminating measurement disturbances in noisy environments for highly accurate PD analysis. These features are the basis of MPD technology and continue to make it a leading solution on the market. We continue to develop and evolve MPD technology to adapt it to an increasing array of PD measurement applications.”

See the information graphic below about the history of MPD technology.

The importance of PD testing

Insulation faults are a major cause leading to the eventual breakdown and failure of electrical equipment. Therefore, it is crucial that the insulation condition is verified throughout equipment lifecycles. Partial discharge (PD) is both a major cause and a very reliable indicator of developing insulation defects in electrical equipment. Regular PD measurements allow you to detect and analyze PD activity in the insulation system to assess the risk of failure and to plan maintenance accordingly before major damage or a breakdown occurs.

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