Power Quality and Utilisation Guide

Power Quality and Utilisation Guide is a free on-line reference source for power quality information. It provides both background theory and solutions from electrical power industry. The guide is prepared by specialist authors from industry and academia, and edited by Copper Development Association‘s David Chapman. The Guide is organized into 8 sections and presented in a series of short Application Notes. Application Notes are down-loadable individually in pdf format or as a fully searchable library (packed to Windows exe).



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    New power protection devices from ABB safeguard industrial, data center environments

    ABB’s Power Conversion business (New Berlin, WI) has released its PCS100 UPS-I and PCS100 AVC power protection devices to the North American market. These inverter-based systems protect sensitive industrial loads from voltage sags and other voltage disturbances with fast, accurate regulation and load voltage compensation, says the company. The AVC is effective in a wide range of manufacturing and industrial settings, and the UPS-I is specially designed for semiconductor fabrication and data center applications. The North American introduction of the products follows a successful launch in Europe and Asia.

    Voltage sags and other voltage disturbances are common in industrial electricity supplies, accounting for up to 70 percent of all unscheduled production downtime, and resulting in expensive damage to equipment and product loss, estimates ABB. The problem has increased in recent years as modern industrial facilities have installed more complex equipment such as PLCs, control relays, variable speed drives and robots that are more sensitive to voltage sags and resulting outages.

    Voltage sag events, also known as a voltage dips or brownouts, are a reduction in the incoming voltage for a short period of time, typically less than 0.25 seconds. They are characterized by amplitudes below 90 percent of the nominal range. While not complete voltage interruptions, they are the most common industrial power quality problem, and are often deep enough to cause equipment control circuits to drop out and reset. The consequences of sags for industrial operations include unexpected downtime, lost revenue wasted materials, poor product quality, equipment damage, and in the worst scenarios, injury to personnel. The aggregate cost of unreliable electricity to the US economy are approximately $160 billion annually, with the average premium grid manufacturing facility experiencing six to twenty significant voltage sags per year.

    The cost of a single voltage sag ranges from several thousand to several million dollars or higher. In one high profile example, a voltage sag at a major Japanese electronics manufacturer caused a production disruption of a popular computer chip, resulting in a 20 percent drop in shipments for the following two months, curtailing the availability of many consumer electronic devices

    The ABB AVC and UPS-I are battery-free power protection solutions focused on significantly reducing unplanned process downtime by ensuring that industrial loads continue to receive a clean, uninterrupted flow of power during major grid disturbances.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Voltage performance monitor sniffs out data center, critical IT equipment failures

    New from from Ideal Industries, the VPM Voltage Performance Monitor works where the symptoms of poor quality voltage occur: at the point where equipment is connected. The company contends that, when a voltage problem is suspected as a cause of equipment failure, the traditional solution has been to place an analyzer on the main service. However, Ideal notes that this approach misses problems at the branch level where sags, swells, impulses, harmonics and other voltage events can adversely affect electronics.

    Simple to use, the VPM offers real time monitoring of TRMS voltage, frequency and harmonics. Once plugged into an outlet, the VPM will measure, categorize and list each voltage event, including its magnitude, duration and the exact time the event occurred.

    The VPM can also be used to determine if voltage is stable enough to connect additional equipment to a circuit or if power conditioners, such as a UPS or surge protector, are required. This is an especially important capability for hospital and IT maintenance engineers who need to monitor voltage quality for mission-critical equipment in the data center or operating room. The Ideal VPM is immediately available for use on 100-240V single-phase circuits. It ships with four international plug adapters, a carrying case and a quick reference guide.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mitigating harmonics in electrical systems
    Although devices using power electronics can produce distortion in electrical distribution systems, it’s up to the engineer to apply effective solutions to mitigate them.

    IEEE 519-1992, Recommended Practices and Requirements for Harmonic Control in Power Systems, was written in part by the IEEE Power Engineering Society to help define the limits on what harmonics will appear in the voltage the utility supplies to its customers, and the limits on current harmonics that facility loads inject into the utility. Following this standard for power systems of 69 kV and below, the harmonic voltage distortion at the facility’s electrical service connection point, or point of common coupling (PCC), is limited to 5.0% total harmonic distortion with each individual harmonic limited to 3%.

    following limits placed on the individual harmonic order:

    For odd harmonics below the 11th order: 4.0%
    For odd harmonics of the 11th to the 17th order: 2.0%
    For odd harmonics of the 17th to the 23rd order: 1.5%
    For odd harmonics of the 23rd to the 35th order: 0.6%
    For odd harmonics of higher order: 0.3%
    For even harmonics, the limit is 25% of the next higher odd harmonic.
    The total demand distortion (TDD) is 5.0%.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mitigating harmonics in electrical systems

    Although devices using power electronics can produce distortion in electrical distribution systems, it’s up to the engineer to apply effective solutions to mitigate them.

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  35. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ensuring power quality in mission critical facilities

    Many industrial, commercial, and service businesses are sensitive to power quality problems because they affect a company’s ability to compete in a global economy.

    The generally accepted definition of clean power is “current and voltage waveforms that are purely sinusoidal.” However, this clean, or high-quality power does not have to be absolutely sinusoidal. So, what is the definition of high-quality power? Does the mere presence of harmonics on a power system indicate poor power quality? What about intermittent transients? Is that poor power quality?

    Technically, there is no single accepted definition of “quality power.” Standards exist that help define criteria that can be measured, such as voltage. However, the real measure of power quality is determined by the performance and productivity of end-user equipment. If the equipment is not performing correctly, verification of proper mechanical and electrical installation and maintenance is necessary. A faulty piece of equipment, bad bearings, or poor internal connections can affect performance. If this doesn’t resolve the problem then power quality is most likely inadequate.

    Because there is a close relationship between voltage and current, we must address the current to understand many of the power problems that exist. For example:

    A short circuit can cause a voltage sag—or cause voltage to even disappear completely—due to extremely high current passing through the system impedance.
    Lightning generates high impulse voltages that can travel on the power distribution system.
    Distorted currents from harmonic loads also cause the voltage to distort as the current passes through the system impedance.

    Since the advent of electricity, reliable, high-quality power has been desirable. In the late 1980s, computers became commonplace in our offices and homes. In the 1990s, we were able to network this equipment together to increase equipment performance. Today, we face new problems, such as faster processing speeds, increased computer chip densities, and equipment that is more sensitive to the quality of power it receives. Factories, offices, hotels, shopping centers, hospitals, and homes depend heavily on microprocessor-based loads, such as lighting controls, computers, copiers, appliances, scanners, control systems, monitoring devices, etc. It’s difficult to find equipment that lacks a microprocessor. While this electronic equipment is relatively small in size and power consumption, it is large in quantity and is in close proximity to one another.

    We are interested in power quality because of its economic impact. An increasing majority of industrial, commercial, and service businesses are sensitive to power quality problems because they affect a company’s ability to compete in a global economy.

    The costs related to a power quality disturbance can be categorized as direct costs, indirect costs, and inconveniences.

    Direct costs: include reduced equipment efficiency, loss of raw material and production, equipment/product damage, corrupt data communications/storage, and nonproductive employee wages.

    Indirect costs: more difficult to quantify and may include missed delivery deadlines, which may cause future orders to be lost.

    Inconvenience: Items in this category are not expressed in lost revenue dollars but rather in how much someone is willing to pay to avoid having to deal with the inconvenience.

    Ultimately, the end user is responsible for preparing appropriate performance criteria for the equipment as well as for the proper installation and correction of inadequacies in the power and grounding system. Unfortunately, many end users are unaware of the installation pitfalls and need assistance.

    Many times, the local utility company can provide guidance on how to properly install sensitive electronic equipment as well as modifications to the power and grounding system. The utility is motivated to provide customer service in regard to power quality to help build and maintain confidence in its distribution system. Utility engineers can provide troubleshooting analysis of harmonic issues

    Grounding, bonding, and wiring

    Around 80% of all power quality problems are related to grounding, bonding, and wiring problems within a facility. Is this percentage exaggerated? Possibly, but many power problems are resolved simply by fixing a few grounding connections or replacing a couple of grounding cables.

    Grounding and bonding are not the same. However, they are closely related.

    Electrical systems do not need to be grounded to function. In fact, not all electrical systems are grounded. But when discussing electrical systems, usually the voltages are with respect to ground.

    Another common grounding problem is using an isolated ground with the idea of obtaining a clean ground. Isolated grounds are typically misunderstood and misapplied because they are not actually isolated, but rather insulated, thereby eliminating parallel return paths.

    Sometimes isolated or dedicated grounds are recommended by equipment manufacturers. These recommendations can compromise the safety and performance of the equipment, are dangerous, violate the NEC, and are unlikely to solve power quality problems.

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