Paul Griffin: Transformer Oil Expert

Jan. 4, 2012
Paul Griffin was recently called a guru for transformer oil information. Not a common title, transformer oil guru exemplifies Griffin’s knowledge and enjoyment of diagnostic testing of electric apparatus.

Paul Griffin was recently called a guru for transformer oil information. Not a common title, transformer oil guru exemplifies Griffin’s knowledge and enjoyment of diagnostic testing of electric apparatus.

In particular, Griffin said the best thing about his job as vice president of Power Services at Doble Engineering Co. is being able to help people solve important problems.

“There is usually a story with every problem. The key is to learn as much about the problem as possible and then come up with a rational explanation that can be presented and supported,” Griffin said. “This applies to many things in life.”

Griffin will be co-presenting the Transformer Fluids session during Doble’s “Life of a Transformer” Seminar’s Advanced Training Track this February in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. This presentation will focus on both liquid and solid insulation with case studies and real-world applications presented for discussion. Griffin will also co-present the day-long laboratory seminar called Transformer Condition Assessment Using Laboratory Diagnostics on Feb. 10 at the “Life of a Transformer” seminar. See below for more details.

Griffin brings a broad perspective to the session, as he is involved in activities with customers including engineering, chemistry, materials, and commercial aspects. This career was really only a one-year trial for him when he graduated college. Thirty-three years later, he is still “learning and having fun,” he said. “I feel it is a responsibility to share this experience with the industry, and fortunately, I enjoy this tremendously.”

Griffin has been with Doble since 1979 and prior to his current role has held various positions including laboratory manager and vice president of Laboratory Services. Since joining Doble, he has published more than 50 technical papers pertaining to testing of electrical insulating materials and electric apparatus diagnostics.

Even with all of his experience, he said that right now is a critical time in the industry. “Much experience is lost or going to be lost in the next five years. There are many interested people, but the depth of experience in the industry is much less today,” Griffin said. “For those with experience it is important that they take the time to share this knowledge.”

He spreads ideas and knowledge as much as he can. He is a Fellow of ASTM and a member of Committee D-27 on Electrical Insulating Liquids and Gases. He was formerly ASTM Subcommittee Chairman on Physical Test, ASTM Section Chairman on Gases in Oil, and the Technical Advisor to the U.S. National Committee for participation in the International Electrotechnical Commission, Technical Committee 10, Fluids for Electrotechnical Applications. Griffin is also a member of the IEEE Insulating Fluid Subcommittee of the Transformer Committee.

When he is not solving problems, he enjoys playing tennis and spending time with his family.

Session Info: Transformer Condition Assessment Using Laboratory Diagnostics

This is a day-long session. Attendees can sign up for this one day seminar separately or as an optional 5th day of the “Life of a Transformer” Seminar.

This session will provide a thorough understanding of how to assess the condition of electrical insulating materials and transformers.

  • Dissolved gas-in-oil analysis – This is the single most important diagnostic test for transformers. This presentation reviews how the test is performed, how to distinguish between normal gassing behavior and problems, and how to evaluate trends. Practical case studies and examples are used to illustrate theoretical concepts. Seminar participants will be quizzed (with class participation) on their understanding in diagnosing 12 cases.
  • Water in Transformer Oil – Assessing how dry a transformer is requires more than a water in oil test. Learn how to assess the wetness of the transformer insulation system and why you need to know the operating temperature at the time of sampling. This session discusses water migration in transformers and how water affects the ability to overload them. Examples are provided.
  • Condition assessment of cellulosic insulation – The analysis of the condition of the paper insulation has changed quite a bit in the past 10 years. Learn how the solid insulation ages and how to assess the condition of the paper and pressboard insulation and its remaining life. Case studies are given to illustrate the distribution of paper aging in transformers and how operation and maintenance can influence it.
  • Metals in oil – This presentation provides an understanding of the importance of metal-in-oil tests as a diagnostic. To be able to use the information, the correct test must be specified – learn the difference between dissolved and particulate metals and when to choose each test. Case studies are given.
  • Quality of new and service aged oils – Background information is provided on the properties of transformer oil. The presentation includes how to specify and evaluate new oils, what tests to perform and how to evaluate in-service oils.
  • Aging characteristics of insulating materials - Aging is discussed in sections on oil and paper which provides information on how to increase the life of transformers. There are a number of factors that accelerate the aging of the insulation system that can be controlled. This session provides information on when to reclaim or replace oil and gives specifications for reclaimed oil.
  • Load tap changer and oil circuit breaker diagnostics – This presentation gives the latest information on diagnostics for /load tap changers (LTCs) and bulk oil breakers. Case studies are provided.
  • Sampling – The presentation discusses how to save money on your sampling program through proper training and what common pitfalls to avoid. Proper sampling preparation, practices, and equipment are given.

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