EIC 2018 Report

The 36th Electrical Insulation Conference (EIC), a fully sponsored conference of the IEEE Dielectric and Electrical Insulation Society (DEIS), was held at the Hyatt Regency of San Antonio, Texas, June 17 to 20, 2018. The total number of registrations this year was 196, from 23 countries. The United States had the most delegates (62), followed by China (35) and Canada (24).

The conference received over 220 abstracts from a worldwide collection of authors. After a lengthy review process by academic and industrial experts, the technical committee produced a program of 139 papers (92 oral presentations and 47 posters). Among these, 81 oral papers and 25 posters were actually presented at the conference.

Opening remarks by the EIC 2018 chair, William Chen.

The conference started Sunday morning with two short courses delivered by leading experts in the field. A number of attendees took the opportunity to learn about “Off- and On-Line Insulation Testing of Stator Windings” from Howard Sedding. Andrea Cavallini, Jim Guo, and Greg Stone presented a course on “Partial Discharge Detection Theory and Practice.” Sunday evening, an opening reception was held during the first poster session.

After the opening remarks Monday morning, a plenary talk was presented by Kate Sherwood, the senior director of grid modernization at 3M, “Trends and Implications of Grid Modernization.” She covered in detail the current energy market and renewable options and provided insights on future solutions. Attendees enjoyed her talk very much and rated it as one of the best plenary sessions in years.

After the plenary session, parallel oral sessions followed for two and a half days. All topics of this conference were covered in multiple sessions, including rotating machines, transformers, cables, testing technologies, outdoor insulation, nano-dielectrics, new materials, and partial discharges.

Sunday’s poster session.
Sheysha Jayaram answering questions.
Greg Stone answering questions.
Plenary talk by Kate Sherwood, 3M.

A first-time event for EIC was a special student lunch session held on Monday, with several experts from academia and industry on the panel. They talked about their own experiences related to fields of interest to provide insight for students, especially for new students, and then answered questions. Based on the good feedback of the attendees, this event will continue in future EICs.

In addition to the technical program, EIC provides a venue for exhibitors. This year there were 14 exhibitors, covering suppliers of electrical insulation materials, electrical test equipment, instrumentation and sensors, as well as insulation test providers.

Another special highlight of this year’s conference was the visit by the King and Queen of Spain. Because San Antonio was founded originally as Mission San Antonio de Valero on May 1, 1718, by Spanish Franciscan missionaries, it has a long and special relationship with Spain. King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia came to San Antonio on June 17 to 18 to celebrate the city’s tricentennial and its roots as a Spanish colonial village. They then had lunch at our hotel on Monday. Most EIC attendees were very excited to learn of their visit and saw them both in person for the first time.

Tuesday evening’s banquet began with a moment of silence in honor of respected, long-time EIC attendee and contributor Steve Boggs, who passed away in early June. Near the end of dinner, we honored Resi Zarb with the Eric Forster Distinguished Service Award for her leadership, support, and contribution to our field. The banquet ended with next year’s conference chair, Kevin Alewine, giving a brief introduction for the 2019 conference to take place in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

The conference ended at noon on Wednesday and was immediately followed by a series of IEEE working group meetings on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. Discussions were held on new IEEE standards and revisions to existing standards, with many industry and academic experts attending.

William Chen EIC 2018 Conference Chair

The Haefley Hipotronics booth—a long-time exhibitor at EIC.
The EIC 2018 committee members (from left, Greg Stone, Dave McKinnon, Elizabeth Foley, Nancy Frost, William Chen, Nailin Chen, Liz Tillotson, Stefano Bomben, Mark Winkeler, Kevin Alewine, and Diego Robalino).
Paul Lewin and University of Southampton colleagues before the banquet.