Different types of electrical equipment are the mandatory means in any kind of industry. Substantial power quality to the equipment enables the smooth running of industrial operations. It has become essential for the owners to keep an eye on the maintenance of power quality. Certain power quality issues damage the industrial equipment and are a checkmate to the daily routines. It’s, therefore, needed for one and all to know about the common industrial power quality issues instead of being surprised by the annoying problems.
Power Quality – What it is?
Power quality is the measure of the quality of the power supplied to the electrical equipment. If the current supplied to the electrical and electronic equipment is substantial and of required quality measure, then they function normally. If not, they do not operate well. This may disturb the industrial activities.
Various power quality issues arise in industrial power lines or in applications. They result in a reduced capacity, production waste, utility penalties, plant downtime, early equipment failure, etc. Ultimately, the industries will be left with financial losses.
So, power quality issues are serious concerns for industries. Here you go to know about the common industrial power quality issues.
Common Power Quality Issues of Industries
Unsteady considerations of current waveforms, voltages, and frequencies lead to different kinds of power quality issues. Have a look at a few of the power quality issues.
• Power Sags or Swells
Power sags or voltage sags are decreased voltage levels. The lower deviations from the normal voltage are evident for multiple cycles. Whereas, power swells are the deviations in which the voltage level exceeds the normal voltage levels.
The connection of heavy loads, errors in transmission lines, and the start-up of large motors can cause power sags. Even failure in the consumer’s installation process may also result in power sags. Swells may arise when there is an improper regulation of transformers. They are also caused by sudden start or atop of heavy loads.
When there are power sags, certain equipment having electric rotating machines will be damaged. Also, certain microprocessor-based control systems get affected by power sags. Power swells, on the other hand, result in data loss, damage of sensitive equipment, and flickering of lighting and screens.
• Power Transients or Spikes
Transients or spikes are the power quality issues or conditions where the voltage levels of the electrical system are higher than the expected substantial voltage levels. Transients occur within less than 1/60th of a second.
Different causes like lightning strike, utility switching on the grid, and industrial plants running on high current arc welders. Also, when there is faulty cycling on or off of the nearby equipment, the transients may occur. They also arise if the motors are turned on without proper sequencing stages.
Much potential and sensitive equipment such as computers, control devices, and instruments are damaged due to spikes or transients. Equipment having semiconductors are easily prone to damage with spikes. If equipment faces such issues frequently, then it encounters premature failure.
• Harmonics or Noises
Harmonic distortions or noises are caused by the alterations in voltage and current sign waves. Furthermore, they are also considered to be the superimposing of high-frequency signals on the waveform.
Certain electromagnetic interferences including microwaves and radiation cause harmonic distortions. Also, improper grounding, welding machines, arc furnaces, etc. may result in noises.
With these power quality issues, the cables and equipment will be overheated and may be damaged. There will also be a loss of efficiency in electric and electronic machines. Certain measuring instruments may show errors in their readings. There will also be tripping of thermal protection. Insensitive equipment, harmonic distortions, and noises cause data loss and data processing errors.
• Power Factor
The power factor is the measure of power used for actual work done. It is the ratio of real or working power to the apparent power (total power). It determines the actual power used to finish the required tasks. If proper utilization of the input power is not there, then the industrial owners are wasting the power means. It means, there will be a delay and inefficient use of power.
Appropriate devices like power conditioners, APFC panels, etc. are to be used to ensure a substantial power factor. Otherwise, the government poses penalties to the industries.
• Long Interruptions
If there is an interruption that is longer than 1 to 2 seconds, then the power interruptions are termed as long interruptions. They can stop all the equipment in a firm. Human errors, bad coordination of protection devices, storms, etc. can cause long interruptions in industries.
• Very Short Interruptions
These power-based interruptions last for shorter periods – from milliseconds to one or two seconds. Insulation failure, insulator flashover, and lightning are the main causes of this power issue. These interruptions result in the tripping of protection devices, malfunction of data processing equipment, and loss of information. Sensitive equipment such as PLCs, PCs, ASDs and so on will be easily damaged if no proper protection means are there.
• Voltage Unbalances
Variations in the voltage levels of the power system are nothing but voltage unbalances. Single-phase loads like traction loads and induction furnaces also face them. Three-phase loads also seriously get damaged by voltage unbalances. Mostly, three-phase induction machines are easily prone to corruption with these power issues.
Therefore, industrial owners should make proper arrangements to avoid these power quality issues. Companies like Servomax Limited offer reliable and standard products like power conditioners, stabilizers, control panels, and so on to encounter and reduce the damages associated with the most common industrial power quality issues.