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IoT-supported maintenance of transformers – Munich Re covers availability guarantee
Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen has developed a new service based on Internet of Things together with Munich Re.
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    It enables transformers to be monitored constantly in real time so that any necessary maintenance work can be initiated quickly. Munich Re’s role is to cover the risk of transformer failure despite constant monitoring. 

    Transformers are electrotechnical components that convert voltage within a power supply system. Large power transformers, which are used by power suppliers and in industry, are critical infrastructure components. It is of utmost importance that these transformers function perfectly and that any disturbance be identified quickly so that unexpected outages can be prevented.

    Real-time data via Internet of Things

    With this in mind, Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen, a world leader in control systems for transformers, has developed a new type of maintenance service based on IoT. IoT sensors provide a range of real-time data, for example on the temperature of the oil, its viscosity or the moisture level within the transformer. This type of data enables Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen to identify maintenance work required just in time and thus to avoid expensive breakdowns.

    Many operators of industrial transformers lack experience with IoT-based technology and appear sceptical about this type of remote maintenance – all the more so if the failure of a transformer would be critical for their own business. This is where Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen's availability guarantee, currently unique in the market, comes in. It covers unexpected outages of a transformer, limiting the loss for the operator. The customer receives indemnification if a transformer stops working despite remote monitoring and regular maintenance, and if the downtime exceeds a pre-defined threshold. The guarantee is covered by a Munich Re risk transfer solution. The risk transfer is carried out in cooperation with a local insurance partner.

    Compensation for potential losses

    The benefits of the solution are obvious. Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen can combine its innovative maintenance service with an availability guarantee, helping it to win over even sceptical customers. Real-time monitoring reduces the risk of unexpected problems, which is reflected in optimised life-cycle costs and higher productivity. With Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen, a world market leader takes over the maintenance while the transformer operator can concentrate on its core business. Nevertheless, should an outage above the threshold occur, it will be compensated with a pre-agreed amount.

    The coverage from Munich Re for the availability guarantee provides relief for Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen's balance sheet, enabling it to take on significantly more customers. At the same time, it profits from Munich Re’s expertise in assessing business models and evaluating risk, especially in relation to new technologies such as IoT and artificial intelligence. Munich Re uses this knowledge to develop tailor-made solutions, and its value proposition is backed by its financial strength. The coverage of the service is perceived as evidence that it works reliably. 

    Large market potential

    The insurance-based-service will initially be offered in South Africa through a subsidiary of Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen, Hypower Heavy Current Maintenance. The local insurer collaborating with Munich Re in this project is Hollard Insurance Company. The plan is to offer the service in other markets in the next few years, in particular the USA and the Middle East. With a global market for transformer maintenance services of around €4.5bn, there is great potential for further cooperation between Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen and Munich Re.
    Boos Roman
    Roman Boos
    Senior Underwriter
    Johannes Benedikter
    Johannes Benedikter
    Senior Underwriter