Indian TPDDL Resolves Faults by Using RFID Technology

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Nancy March 30, 2018

Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd.(TPDDL), an Indian power company, has launched a RFID and GPS-based system to help troubleshoot employees find underground cable connections. TPDDL is a joint venture between Tata Power and the Delhi Regional Government. The system includes active UHF RFID labels attachesd at the joints. Employees can use handheld RFID readers to find them.

The core of the new solution is a rugged electronic ball marker called RFID ball marker that is connected to the cable connector by a cable tie. When installating, employees use hand-held 3M Dynatel Locator readers to write relevant information (such as connector manufacturing, joint depth and installation date) into the RFID ball marker. Then, the location information will be updated within the software.

With RFID and GPS mapping technology, it is easy to determine the route and location of underground power cables. This also shortens the troubleshooting time. TPDDL used GPS technology to draw 1200 cable lines and deployed 1,000 RFID tags. This data will be bound to the existing GIS network. For maintenance personnel, the system can automatically collect maintenance history data, including the date of installation, the manufacturing date and type of joint, and the depth of burial. This helps for health monitoring and status maintenance.

When a worker arrives at the site, he first needs to test the cable and then use the cable fault location system to capture the length of the fault. The worker can verify the fault in the GPS Mapper software to know the exact location of the fault point with the help of the GPS Mapper. Once the fault is found and resolved, the new state is written into the RFID tag. All relevant information will be stored in the company’s GIS database software.

Sunil Singh, chief operating and safety officer at TPDDL, said that since the technology was used, cable joint positioning time has been reduced from 90 minutes to 45 minutes. GPS and RFID systems not only ensure efficient fault location but also help improve reliability. One of the key goals of TPDDL is preventing faults. In the next phase, TPDDL will install RFID tags on all the rest of cable routes.

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