Jerry Michaelson: Exploring All Options

April 30, 2008
Jerry Michaelson of ABB encourages the listeners of his presentations to make sure they investigate all the options and shortfalls.

Jerry Michaelson of ABB encourages the listeners of his presentations to make sure they investigate all the options and shortfalls.

“If you have an idea, pursue it,” Michaelson said. “Sometimes the simple things have been overlooked, however.”

Michaelson is field service diagnostic specialist for ABB High Voltage Service. He provides support on installation, maintenance, and repair of live and dead tank breakers. He is also teaching a session at the Finepoint Circuit Breaker Test and Maintenance Training Conference in October on digital radiography. He will present the session with Steve Skinner of Idaho Power.

Utilities do have several options for equipment maintenance, and Michaelson believes that digital radiography is a good choice for inspection of high-voltage breakers.

Digital radiography is used to augment the normal maintenance activities associated with power system equipment. This technology can save significant money and time by generating a clear digital image of the internal details of a complex device without the need for intrusive procedures. By using radiography in conjuction with other well-known diagnostics, a more progressive preventative maintenance program can be established. “This inspection reduces breaker downtime but still does an internal inspection,” Michaelson said. “You have an image of the internal components for future reference, and a review of the critical parts can be done with out a major tear-down. The detail is enough that you can examine the bolting.”

Michaelson said that this same inspection would usually take several days, but with digital radiography, the work can be done in a matter of hours.

Michaelson has more than 20 years of experience in non-destructive testing. He came to ABB in search of new career, but after examining several options, he decided to go into field service work.

“I now find myself looking at ways to apply my nondestructive testing experience to the transmission side, in improving maintenance testing.”

He likes to experiment with different technology and “not have my hands tied,” and his current position allows him to do that. He also enjoys meeting other utility workers and discussing the challenges of keeping equipment in top working order.

Before he joined ABB, he worked in distribution and generation for a midwest utility.

While at the utility, he was certified in radiography, ultrasonics, magnetic particle, liquid penetrant, and visual testing. During the nondestructive testing career, he was called on to investigate and develop unique ways to inspect and test components to ensure generation reliability. Out of that came an award from EPRI for Technology and Innovation on inspecting low-pressure steam turbines without disassembly.

Michaelson spends his free time golfing and fishing and lives in Tennessee with his wife.

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