OMICRON: Driven by Passion and Energy

NETA World Staff CAP Corner, Summer 2019 CAP Corner

NETA Corporate Alliance Partners (CAPs) are a group of industry-leading companies that have joined forces with NETA to work together toward a common aim: improving quality, safety, and electrical system reliability.

In our CAP Spotlight series, we look at what makes CAPs special and highlight some of their successes. To kick off this issue, NETA World interviewed Wayne Bishop Jr., OMICRON’s head of marketing for North America.

OMICRON was founded over 30 years ago in a small town in Austria. They set out to develop compact test sets for testing protection and measurement devices in utilities. From that small team of dedicated engineers, OMICRON has grown into an international company with 24 offices worldwide and customers in more than 160 countries. OMICRON provides innovative testing, diagnosis, and monitoring solutions for energy providers, utilities, manufacturers of equipment for the transmission and distribution of electrical power, and more. The company’s product range spans from test sets and solutions for power transformers, circuit breakers, rotating machines, and cable systems to test and calibration equipment for protection relays, energy meters, transducers, and PQ analyzers. OMICRON also offers a wide array of services in the fields of commissioning, consulting, and training.

Employee Celebration Outside OMICRON Development Center in Austria

NW: What is something we don’t know about OMICRON?

Bishop: OMICRON invests 18–20 percent of its annual revenue into research and development. Investing this high percentage into R&D enables us to be innovative, constantly introducing new products and testing solutions for the industry.

NW: What recent company achievement or milestone are you particularly proud of?

Bishop: I’m very proud of the launch of the TESTRANO 600, which has made testing power transformers faster and easier than ever before. Due to its one-time test connection and three-phase concept, the TESTRANO 600 minimizes the number of test connections and lead changes required to perform conventional transformer diagnostic tests. Time is money, and anything that can make testing quicker and simpler will be appreciated by all NETA testing companies. I’m very proud of how this innovative test system significantly reduces testing time. TESTRANO 600’s design also results in fewer trips up and down the ladder, improving the tester’s safety.

NW: What evolution do you see on the horizon that will have a positive impact on your work?

Bishop: About 10 years ago, there was a lot of discussion in the industry about loss of expertise and people retiring. Recently, colleges are graduating more electrical engineers and power programs have expanded. I’m inspired at conferences such as PowerTest and IEEE PES to see all of the young people who have come into our industry recently. I’m impressed by their enthusiasm and passion and their desire to look at new ways of doing things. All of this will have a positive impact not only on my work, but on our industry as a whole.

NW: What challenges do you see going forward for the industry?

Bishop: There are a tremendous number of new technologies in our industry, and these bring new challenges. They include distributed energy resources (DERs), energy storage, microgrids, and electric vehicles. Some of our other challenges are the need to reduce our carbon footprint, coming changes in our generation mix, an aging infrastructure such as transformers and circuit breakers, and a new workforce that needs to be trained. The silver lining in all of this is that it is a very exciting time to be part of the electric power industry, and there is never a dull moment.