The Transformer 4.0 (TRF40) project seeks to introduce the digital transformation in power transformers, whose design and manufacturing are areas where Efacec holds a global leadership position. Aiming for this transformation, a comprehensive research plan focused on the Digital Twin (DTwin) concept will be implemented. This DTwin, as a virtual counterpart of the physical system, will enable disruptive approaches in the transformer design and manufacturing – with new communication models – and will offer new added value services – such as intelligent condition monitoring, preventive maintenance, aging evaluation under determined servicing conditions, among others. It will also follow the physical product during its whole life cycle through a DT enabled platform powered with optimization and artificial intelligence tools, will enable valuable insights about designing future systems, and will predict the system’s response to different types of disruptions in the grid. Furthermore, digital manufacturing will be explored through additive manufacturing, which has the potential to revolutionize the design and manufacturing of power transformers. This feature integrated with the Digital Twin platform will allow for a disruptive approach in the manufacturing and servicing of transformers.
This project joins complementary research competencies: Efacec, as designer and manufacturer of power transformers, INESCTEC (computer science, industry and innovation) and INEGI (mechanical and industrial engineering), these being Portuguese research institutes, and the MIT, namely the Sociotechnical Systems Research Centre, and thus enabling a comprehensive and multidisciplinary research program. Although this sector has been a conservative innovator, the proposed research project will allow the preparation of the conventional power transformer for the complex challenges, trends, needs and opportunities of the fast evolving ‘Energy 4.0’ sector.