Different types of substation insulators perform differently. Moving to SR composite outdoor insulation at substations is the one common solution to most of these different problems.
In fact, many types of SR composite substation insulators have now been developed and which cover almost all types of apparatus and other applications. Apart from these insulators, another innovative product is the measurement insulator or instrument insulator with sensors and signal lines such as optical cables incorporated in its body. Through these, a new functionality is added to the composite insulator, namely information gathering and transmission. This product meets some needs of future smart grids, e.g. large-scale, real-time on-line condition monitoring, both for substations and overhead lines. Some prototypes and samples have been developed but these are still far from seeing large-scale application.
In order to better predict the future of composite insulators one of the factors that has to be taken into consideration is alternative technologies, i.e. porcelain and glass insulator. Over the past two decades, composite insulators have captured a large market share away from these insulators yet they still manage to retain considerable market shares of their own. Intense competition between composite insulators and porcelain/glass insulators will clearly continue over coming years go so it is useful to examine how this may evolve as a predictor of the future of composite insulator technology. Comparison of these alternative insulator technologies should ideally be considered from three different perspectives: price, performance and maintenance.
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