Functional safety and predictive maintenance at avacons transformer stations

Avacon Netz GmbH, a subsidiary of E.ON and one of the largest regional energy supply companies in Germany, has been using Gomero's monitoring and control equipment SIPP since 2021. The result is clear and has meant, among other things, increased functional safety and the opportunity to work with more predictive maintenance work at Avacon's substations.

Development in Germany is driven, as in many other countries, by the need to modernize infrastructure that was mostly built in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Added to this are new tougher environmental legal requirements and the need to digitize and streamline maintenance work.

SIPP is being connected to more and more devices

Avacon currently has a total of over 935 transformer bunds and expects in the long term that more than half of these will be functionally secured and drained using the SIPP Node. The introduction also means better control when the collection of data provides a basis for faster and better maintenance decisions.

“It is important for us to have a partner like Gomero. Their SIPP has the required technical approvals while the company has the capacity and competence to further develop and adapt the system to different needs. SIPP Node also gives us the necessary freedom to use our people for complex tasks that cannot be automated. By using the SIPP Node, we also get a higher and more consistent accuracy in sampling, which further strengthens environmental protection. The basic requirement remains that the approval authorities agree to the use. It in turn depends on the legal framework and applicable limit values”, comments Heiko Kreye, project leader at Avacon. 

Increased digitization an important success factor

Increased digitization is an important component when it comes to meeting the challenges of converting the German electricity grids for the energy transition and at the same time matching the requirements for sustainability. One of Avacon's overarching goals is to always protect the environment and, as far as possible, save resources. Clean water is a finite resource and must be managed accordingly.

“Gomero and SIPP Node are an important part of that work. Now, for example, we can get digital reports tailored to our needs. Information on the amount of water pumped and its quality is always readily available for authorities or internal evaluations. Additionally work steps and processes that previously required manual work can be automated to a greater degree and free up important resources. Our suggestions for further development are also considered in a constructive way”, says Heiko Kreye. 

More positive attitude towards cloud services

In recent years, the German market has developed a significantly more positive attitude towards the type of cloud services that Gomero provides, such as the analysis and reporting of data from SIPP. Many product companies today are looking at the possibility of creating IoT platforms that collect data from large numbers of connected devices and build a subscription-based business model. Unlike these, Gomero has already gone through that process and today has a functioning and well-established business.

“In Germany, approval from the Institute for Building Technology (DiBt) is needed to use this type of equipment. The SIPP Node meets the high requirements and can therefore be used by us without requiring further approvals. At the same time, for us to get full utilization of the system, we see that the work of integrating SIPP with the substations' other IT infrastructure needs to continue.”

“The work to implement SIPP Node has been facilitated by the fact that Gomero's local partners Karberg & Hennemann are very good at planning and coordinating the installation and service work together with Gomero. They often operate without being seen and consistently have a very customer-oriented way of working. In combination with a high technical competence and a pronounced focus on sustainability, it contributes to a successful collaboration”, concludes Heiko Kreye. 

Briefly about Avacon

Avacon's territory area stretches from the North Sea coast to southern Hesse and includes large parts of Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. The company is responsible for an electricity grid approximately 6,460 miles long and includes approximately 440 substations with one to four transformers at each station.