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Necessary Checkpoints & Testing for Screening the Quality of Insulators

A technical paper by J.M. George, E. Brocard, S. Prat, F. Virlogeux, D. Lepley Sediver Research Center, France

The increasing demand for overhead transmission line components (among which insulators) has brought into the international market new or unknown players creating a larger spectrum of performance and quality which is not necessarily easy to spot with existing standards or specifications (this is true for all three technologies either glass, porcelain and polymer insulators).

End user’s procurement offices are not yet prepared for a differentiated approach based on technical merits looking almost exclusively to buying cost and engineering still uses in most cases a relatively simple technical description strictly in line with some national standard. Today however we see more and more standards engineers asking for more stringent technical criteria to be introduced in their specification to reinforce their own selection tools and prevent them from qualifying low performers. It might be time to review the standards and possibly redefine quality and performance to the benefit of the end users often blinded when comparing brands and products “on paper”. End users themselves have their share of responsibility in the final quality of the products their buy since not all of them take the time to make detailed audits of their potential suppliers, and not all of them send one of their technicians in the factory to select randomly the samples for the acceptance tests… Travelling budget limitations favor an acceptance process based strictly on documentation review.

This paper will review several key points to take into consideration, most of them covering glass and porcelain, some more specific to glass. It is also a contribution to some ongoing work intended to revise IEC 60383 which itself is the result of concern and research published in the recent past (STRI paper).

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