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Early detection system for powerline faults to go commercial

An early detection system for powerline faults designed at RMIT University will be scaled up for commercialisation following the signing of an agreement with IND Technology.

The Early Fault Detection (EFD) system can predict powerline faults before they can cause blackouts or bushfires. The system’s patented sensing method and data processing algorithm can identify the precise location of expected faults down to a 10-meter section of a powerline stretching many kilometres.

Associate Professor Alan Wong, who led development of the technology at RMIT University and is now CEO of IND Technology, said it would enable more proactive and cost-effective management of electricity network assets.

“The most exciting part is this technology’s success in identifying faults that are about to happen through deterioration before they even happen – which solves the problem of reactive network maintenance once damage is already done,” he said.

Wong said that the level of performance displayed by the system meant that the practice of inspecting electrical assets only every few years would become a thing of the past.

“This level of performance means electrical asset inspection every few years will soon be a thing of the past. With the EFD system, the network owners can now monitor every network asset, every second, 24/7 including during extreme weather when asset failures are likely to first appear,” he said.

Under the agreement with IND Technology, RMIT University will retain rights to use the technology for research and teaching purposes.

RMIT’s deputy vice chancellor (research) Professor Calum Drummond said that said the agreement reinforced RMIT’s role in delivering industry solutions through research.

“In this case, the clear benefit of this technology to communities around the world in terms of public safety and continuity of supply of an essential service is the ideal target outcome for RMIT research,” he said.

“It is great to be able to help a local company turn it into a global success.”

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