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What does power quality (really) mean for you and your business?

South Africa

08/11/2022

By Wesley Govender, PQ Product Application Expert at Schneider Electric

In today’s modern manufacturing plants, increasing costs and downtime are directly and negatively impacting organisations’ bottom line and profitability. Reliability and availability are now more important than ever.

Unfortunately, with the evolution and subsequent advancement in manufacturing processes and efficiency that include the increased use of variable speed drives (VSDs), LED lighting and other nonlinear loads, there are also some drawbacks.

The proliferation of harmonic-related equipment failures as well as breakdowns caused by external factors like voltage sags and swells are becoming common place, leading to losses, and standing times.

The answer is to partners with an organisation that provides the equipment to mitigate the above challenges. At Schneider Electric, our power quality portfolio saves on CAPEX expenditure with our AccuSine range of active filters. It reduces equipment failure by keeping harmonic limits within application standard perimeters.

Conversely, our power factor correction (PFC) offerings improve OPEX expenditure as organisations save on daily electricity costs related to high KVA and demand charges. It also offers features such as reduced transformer loading, freeing up capacity for plant expansion, when required.

Real-world solutions

It well known that plants are affected by external issues such as voltage supply, sags, swells, and dips that cause process dropouts and downtime, leading to loss of production and wastage of materials.

Fortunately, there is also a solution, Schneider Electric’s Dynamic Restorer equipment range keeps voltage supply consistent and within required limits. Importantly, it is also capable of correcting chronic under-and over-voltage conditions prevalent in our overloaded electricity infrastructure.

For example, the paper manufacturing and printer industries significantly benefit from a stable voltage supply, as equipment dropout (on these process lines) cause costly breakage of material.

A clean electricity supply with low harmonic pollution is also beneficial to industries such as vehicle manufacturing that use welding during their production processes. Low harmonic pollution plays a vital role in the integrity of welds and ultimately the quality of the final product.

High-speed PFC correction can also be achieved with our AccuSine PFV+ range, which is well suited for these applications, reducing the load-related voltage dips caused when arcs are struck during the welding process.

Another industry that has made strides in advancements in efficiency is water treatment. Older architectures generally used gate valves to control the flow from pumps. always running at full speed.

Many of these plants now use VSDs to control water flow, however, due to the location and set up of these plants, the ratio of harmonic currents drawn is high in relation to available supply which leads to VSD failure, all which can be avoided through active filters that manage harmonics.

Modern problems require modern solutions and Schneider Electric has a proven track record of implementing power quality improvement projects. We have offer both local and global expertise and can assist organisations with investigating the issues they may have, specifying and supplying the required equipment to mitigate abovementioned problems.

For more information, go to www.se.com/za/en/.

South Africa

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