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Benefits of power quality analysis

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Businesses that rely on the continuous power supply for production, safety and public health should regularly perform power quality analysis and monitoring to make sure their facilities and equipment run smoothly and to avoid costly interruptions, breakdowns and the risk to public health. 

Power Quality Analysis is a process that involves measuring the electrical current, voltage, frequency, phase angle, and other parameters from a facility’s main feeder or generator. This information can be used to determine if there are any problems with the utility infrastructure, or if the equipment itself has an issue. 

Power quality problems can include:

  • Voltage fluctuations or spikes
  • Harmonics
  • Electrical noise
  • Transients
  • Power factor correction issues

The benefits of performing Power Quality Analysis include:

  • Identifying potential issues before they become serious problems
  • Avoiding downtime due to equipment failure
  • Preventing costly repairs
  • Reducing energy consumption by identifying areas where efficiency improvements could be made
  • Improving overall reliability of production processes

 

How do you know when your business needs power quality analysis performed?

There are several ways you may notice that your business needs to perform power quality analysis.

  1. If you have experienced a sudden spike in electricity costs, this could indicate an outage somewhere on the grid.
  2. Your equipment might not be operating at peak performance levels, leading to higher than normal energy usage.
  3. You may notice that your equipment is running more slowly than usual.
  4. The lights in your building might flicker, dim, or go out for no apparent reason.

 

How is Power Quality Analysis Performed?

Power quality analysis is a process of finding out the quality and quantity of power supply to a particular load. The basic concept behind this is that, if we can find out how much power is being supplied to a load then we can calculate the amount of energy loss in it due to poor voltage or current waveforms. This will help us to understand why the load is not operating at its optimum efficiency level.

It also helps us to identify whether the problem lies within the load or the source.

In order to measure these quantities, we need to use meters that are specifically designed for this purpose. These meters are called ‘power quality analyzers’. They measure various parameters such as voltage, current, frequency, phase angle, harmonics, etc. These measurements are taken either manually or automatically using computer software.

 

Why it’s important to hire a power quality expert vs doing power quality analysis yourself?

If you want to get accurate results and be able to properly mitigate power quality problems, it is better to hire a professional with power quality experience, who knows what he/she is doing rather than trying to figure things out on your own. There are many factors that influence the accuracy of the results obtained from power quality analysis and the person performing the analysis should have experience in the following:

  • Equipment calibration – It is very important to calibrate all the instruments used for power quality measurement. Calibration ensures that the instrument is working properly and gives accurate readings.
  • Accuracy of data collection – Power quality analyzers use sensors to collect data. Sensors are usually calibrated once but they tend to drift over time. Therefore, it is essential to check the accuracy of data collected every now and again.
  • Data processing – The data collected must be processed correctly so that you can rely on the findings. This includes filtering out high-frequency noise, removing DC offset, calculating harmonic distortion, etc.
  • Frequency response – In some cases, the equipment used may not be able to capture certain frequencies accurately. For example, if the meter has a bandwidth of 100 Hz, it cannot detect any signal with a frequency greater than 100 Hz.
  • Noise immunity – A lot of power quality analyzers work by measuring the amplitude of signals. However, there is always some kind of noise present in the system. This noise gets amplified during the measurement process and affects the accuracy of the results. To ensure that the results are accurate, it is important to filter out noise before performing power quality analysis.
  • Signal strength – Low signal strength means low voltage and current. High signal strength means high voltage and current. So, if the signal strength is too weak, the results may be inaccurate.
  • Load identification – Most power quality analyzers only provide information about the load connected to the circuit. But sometimes, it is necessary to find out which device is causing the problem. For example, if you have an air conditioner installed, you might want to know whether the problem is caused by the compressor or the fan motor.
  • Harmonic analysis – If you want to analyze the harmonic content of the power supply, you should use a harmonic analyzer. Harmonics are extra waves generated when alternating current passes through a nonlinear load. Harmonics cause problems like flickering lights, buzzing noises, radio interference, etc.
  • Voltage sag detection – Sometimes, the power company supplies electricity intermittently. This causes sags in the voltage. Sags are periods where the voltage drops significantly. When the power company supplies electricity continuously, the voltage remains constant. Hence, it is possible to detect voltage sags using a power quality analyzer.
  • Circuit breaker tripping – If the circuit breaker trips, it indicates that there is a fault somewhere in the circuit. Faulty wiring, faulty equipment, short circuit, etc. can cause this.
  • Overload protection – Some appliances consume more power than what their ratings suggest. These devices are called overloaded devices. An overload protector protects these devices from getting damaged.
  • Undervoltage protection – Undervoltage protection prevents the voltage from dropping below a specified level. This helps protect sensitive electronic components from damage.
  • Surge protection – Surge protection provides added safety against lightning strikes.
  • Line impedance analysis – Line impedance refers to the amount of resistance offered by the electrical wires connecting two points. Impedance varies depending on the length of the wire, type of insulation material, and other factors. By analyzing line impedance, we can determine how much energy will flow between two points.
  • Transformer tap changer – Transformers are used to step up or down voltages. Tap changers allow us to change the number of taps on a transformer.
  • Frequency response – The frequency response of a power quality analyzer refers to its ability to measure frequencies ranging from DC to 20 kHz.
  • Power factor correction – Power factor correction is important because it reduces the amount of energy lost during transmission. This means that less electricity is wasted, which saves money for you, the utilities and you don’t get hit with penalties. 
  • Inrush current – Inrush current occurs when a new load starts drawing current. This happens because the initial current drawn by the load is very large.
  • Reactive power analysis – Reactive power analysis measures the amount of reactive power consumed by loads.
  • Short circuit protection – Short circuit protection detects faults such as open circuits, shorts, and ground faults.
  • Motor speed control – Motor speed control allows us to adjust the speed of AC induction motors.

When you hire Advanced Power Quality, you will not only gain expert support from a team that has decades of combined experience and over 7000+ power quality challenges resolved but you will also get quick response to any power quality challenge you’re having. 

Contact our team today by submitting your challenge!

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About Advanced Power Quality, Inc.

Advanced Power Quality is an industry leader in power quality solutions with decades of combined experience. APQ offers power quality studies, analysis, field investigations, monitoring and advanced training to keep today’s engineers ready and equipped to handle the growing power quality challenges. 

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