According to a recent study published by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), large industrial facilities in the U.S. lose over $100 billion every year due to power problems, including power supply variations and voltage disturbances. When the lights flicker at home, it’s an annoyance. But when power is disturbed at a factory, it can cause the malfunction and early breakdown of expensive equipment. Subtle power quality events often pass through traditional protection networks undetected and contribute to equipment degradation over time. Furthermore, the source of many power quality disturbances are the loads connected to the same network, causing disturbances to propagate through adjacent facilities and buildings. In order to overcome power quality challenges, it is necessary to monitor inputs and disturbances generated by the load. Power quality monitoring can provide appropriate protection to equipment and can help identify suitable mitigation techniques that improve power quality.
If stakeholders take full advantage of the technology, their expensive infrastructure will benefit from clean power and an extended life.
Power quality refers to a wide variety of variations in the electric power supplied to utility customers. It can cover wiring problems, grounding issues, switching transients, load variations, and harmonic generations. In some cases, poor power quality can go undetected, yet damage expensive equipment. In Europe, the quality of electricity that is provided by a grid operator is defined by the reference parameters set in the national grid codes and the European standards (EN 50160). When the supply voltage is distorted, a device draws nonsinusoidal currents and can cause many technical problems such as overheating, malfunction, and premature aging. The nonsinusoidal current also causes thermal and insulation stress on network devices, such as transformers and feeder cables. Poor power quality ultimately results in financial losses caused by equipment downtime, increased maintenance activities, and shorter life times. In this article the impacts of poor power quality will be analyzed from the perspective of industrial equipment and how to maximize machine health.