Power quality issues can be a hidden cost in many industrial facilities. Often, these events go undetected and cause expensive equipment losses. As modern facilities move toward full digitization, these problems are more common. This article will explore the benefits of addressing power quality issues and how to protect industrial equipment against them.
Many industrial facilities use expensive, delicate equipment that needs stable, quality power to operate correctly. Unfortunately, due to power quality problems such as voltage fluctuations, sags, interruptions, and harmonic distortions, these delicate instruments and machines are often damaged, experience downtime, and even affect their productivity. Unplanned downtime events cost industrial manufacturers $50B annually due to poor power quality. Traditional troubleshooting techniques may also have problems diagnosing and identifying the cause of power quality issues. With remote, cloud-based power quality monitoring and analysis, facility supervisors can get real-time alerts on recurring issues and take the guesswork out of repairs.
Additionally, improving power quality can reduce the heat generated by AC motors, reducing energy expenses and extending their life expectancy. These advantages help you boost productivity and efficiency, enabling your company to reduce operational costs. In addition, by reducing the impact of power quality problems on the automation industry, you can comply with government regulations and standards for electrical safety.
When you reduce downtime, you can save a lot of money and energy. You can avoid damages and premature aging of equipment, loss of production, data and work, and unexpected shutdowns. The most common way to reduce downtime is to use TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) techniques, but other ways to improve productivity include power quality monitoring. While energy efficiency upgrades focus on power availability, the quality of that power is also important. Electrical disturbances can cause equipment to malfunction, especially with the advent of Industrie 4.0 technologies that use microprocessors and other sensitive devices. Power quality equipment such as harmonic filters, voltage optimizers, compensators and isolation transformers help reduce power quality issues and minimize their effects. These devices can also help save energy costs by lowering harmonics, transient voltages and phase imbalances. These devices can also help reduce the need for backup generators and other costly backup systems. Ultimately, the best way to minimize downtime is to identify and fix power quality problems proactively. A remote, cloud-based power quality monitoring system can be a big advantage.
Reduced Maintenance Costs
Power quality problems reduce productivity, waste energy and cause equipment damage. Over time, they also cost money from the facility operations and maintenance budgets for production losses and premature equipment aging. Studies have proven that monitoring power quality impacts the economic results of many business sectors. However, monitoring power quality requires sophisticated equipment and highly trained personnel. The good news is that next-generation power quality monitoring devices eliminate the need for these costly tools. They use advanced technology to monitor the electrical network for various power quality issues. The results can be used to determine the best mitigation technique, resulting in reduced maintenance costs. Energy-efficient equipment like variable speed drives (VSDs) and LEDs can help a facility save on electricity bills, but they can also degrade the power quality of an electrical system. It is because they often introduce harmonics and other waveform distortion, which can contribute to equipment malfunction and reduced operating life. Power quality profiling and power quality mitigation systems can help solve these problems.
Reduced Energy Costs
When the lights flicker at home, it’s an annoyance, but when it happens in your facility, it’s a power quality issue that reduces productivity and costs. Large industrial facilities lose an estimated $100 billion a year because of voltage fluctuations, energy waste, equipment damage and reduced maintenance and material consumption – many of the same issues that energy efficiency programs are intended to help address. A symbiotic relationship exists between power quality and energy efficiency projects if they are designed from the start to monitor and correct local power problems. It is a big reason why it’s critical to include power quality monitoring and mitigation as part of the original energy-efficiency project. While not all equipment is sensitive to power quality, most devices in the modern digital economy are. Whether it’s variable speed drives or LED lighting, these devices can save three to six percent in electrical cost savings and associated drops in GHG emissions with premium power quality. That’s why performing a power quality study before installing new equipment is important.
Reduced Environmental Impact
Power quality problems cause equipment malfunctions, data corruption and loss of process control which eat into the productivity and efficiency of your industrial facility. These problems can also result in heating cables, motors and transformers, which create pollutants. In addition, the difficulties can increase maintenance costs and decrease equipment life. These power quality problems generate significant financial losses and negatively impact companies’ sustainable development. The sensitivity of modern equipment has increased significantly, and the difference between the quality of electricity produced by a power utility and that consumed on-site is growing. It is causing great concern for manufacturers, electric utilities and consumers alike. It is why we work with commercial building teams to enable data collection via an advanced power quality meter. Combined with an on-site energy management system, this allows opportunities for measurable energy savings and protection from adverse power quality events.