The following is an excerpt from GTM Research's latest smart grid market report, Transformer Monitoring Markets, 2013-2020: Technologies, Forecasts, and Leading Vendors. To learn more about this market, click here.



Monitoring and sensing technologies for distribution and power transformers are improving the accuracy and precision of asset condition data from utility electric grids. The increasing penetration and sophistication of these sensors are generating an increased volume and variety of diagnostic data. This volume and variety of data is creating new opportunities for utilities to reduce the risk of transformer failures. In addition, these opportunities are leading to the creation of new software products, as well as to market consolidation among hardware vendors.

While the software market continues to broaden, the market for transformer monitoring hardware continues to slowly consolidate. The group of companies that GTM Research labels "grid giants" (ABB, Alstom Grid, GE, Siemens, and Schneider Electric) continue to deepen their investment in the transformer monitoring ecosystem, and each of these five players has a unique strategy and approach to the transformer monitoring market. Transformer monitoring product portfolio growth has been a decade-long focus for grid giants. They have primarily been acquiring hardware vendors with industry credibility.

FIGURE: Grid Giants' Product and Company Comparison

Note: Financial Strength, Experience, and Ambition are ranked on scale of 1 to 5.
Source:
Transformer Monitoring Markets, 2013-2020: Technologies, Forecasts, and Leading Vendors

Much of this difference in strategy is a result of historical competencies that have created natural product progression paths. ABB, Alstom Grid and Siemens historically have held the majority of the transformer market. Recent increased competition in the transformer manufacturing market has been a major hit to these three, leading to reduced profits across the board and even the layoff of 10 percent of ABB’s transformer-manufacturing workforce. In an effort to differentiate product offerings, each has entered the transformer monitoring market over the last two decades with varying success.

ABB, GE, and Siemens also have invested in fleet management asset health solutions that utilize asset condition data. ABB/ Ventyx and GE have unveiled the most ambitious software development roadmaps in asset health among the grid giants, while Siemens has introduced a more tempered approach that continues to focus the company’s efforts on utilizing its TDMS and ISCM software platforms. Additionally. Siemens is the only giant with an active stake in secondary monitoring via eMeter’s software-based Analytics Foundation.

Alstom continues to stay focused at the power transformer level with its MS 3000 product, but will likely enter the fleet software fray as the monitoring equipment continues to proliferate.

Schneider Electric continues to make no indication that it plans to move up the grid to have a strong presence in power transformers and will likely not expand into many transformer monitoring sub-markets.

Currently, ABB, GE, and Siemens all have fleet management solutions on the market, but there is still room for better integration of business intelligence software and predictive asset analytics at Siemens and GE.

FIGURE: Grid Giants Transformer Monitoring Eco-System Rankings

Source: Transformer Monitoring Markets, 2013-2020: Technologies, Forecasts, and Leading Vendors

The grid giants have largely ignored the market for secondary transformer monitoring, and will likely continue to ignore the space and focus more on integrating data from these sensors into enterprise applications. Siemens and GE are the two exceptions to this, as GE produces digital meters and secondary transformers and could benefit from additional metering endpoints and a value-add product for its Prolec GE investment, and Siemens’ acquisitions of eMeter and Senergy gives the firm a presence in the MDM and AMI markets, respectively.



This is an excerpt from GTM Research's latest smart grid market report, Transformer Monitoring Markets, 2013-2020: Technologies, Forecasts, and Leading Vendors. To learn more about this market, click here.

Tags: abb, alstom grid, ge, renewables integration, schneider electric, siemens, transformer monitoring, transformers, utilities