Enel Brazil applies augmented reality in Electrician 4.0 concept

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Utility Enel Distribución São Paulo has deployed augmented reality and thermography technologies in order to leverage the Electrician 4.0 concept and advance the operations of its grid network.

Electrician 4.0 refers to professionals that are skilled to work with technological innovations including grid automation and IT solutions to digitalise and simplify energy sector processes, according to Enel Brazil.

Enel Distribución São Paulo has identified more than 50 assets and technology failures within the medium and high voltage network before disruptions to the operations of the grid. The milestone was achieved within 6 months from the date of technology adoption.

The augmented reality uses remote assistance and a smartphone to provide Enel’s employees with a map or clear view of events happening within the distribution network. The technology is able to detect anomalies and help electricians to identify the location and cause of the abnormality.

The technology helps reduce the number and occurrence of power outages, improves employee safety and optimise management and maintenance of grid assets, leading to improved power quality and increased assets lifespan, according to a statement.

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Enel Brazil says the 20 smartphones and 60 employees currently equipped with the technology are helping to avoid overheating across its distribution lines, transformers and circuit breakers.

Kleber Duarte Tomaz, field, industrialisation and innovation engineer at Enel Distribuição São Paulo, said: “During the pilot phase, we already had important results such as the identification of heat in the company’s lines. The thermographic camera was also used to verify the functioning of other assets such as smart meters, which have built-in communication technology, allowing remote reading of energy consumption data.”

The project is part of the utility’s digital transformation and use of advanced technologies to ensure to enhance the operations of the grid.

Smart grid solutions are vital to enhancing utility’s operations as energy companies are struggling with various challenges such as an increased amount of data from smart devices and capacity from distributed energy resources.

However, by utilizing digital tools, utilities are able to prepare for emerging business cases, enhance operations, accelerate the energy transition and address other issues such as electricity losses, customer churn and grid failures.

Enel expects to expand the functionality across its other three concession areas in Rio de Janeiro, Ceará and Goiás states by the end of 2022.