We increasingly rely on automation, which in turn relies on clean power. Power quality problems can cause processes and equipment to malfunction or shut down. And the consequences can range from excessive energy costs to complete work stoppage. Power quality is critical.
The interdependence of various systems adds layers of complexity to power quality issues. Perhaps your computers are fine, but the network is down so nobody can book a flight or file an expense report. Maybe the process is operating correctly, but the HVAC systems have shut down and production must stop.
Mission-critical systems exist throughout the facility and throughout the enterprise; power quality problems can bring any one of these to a grinding halt at any time. Even perfectly installed and maintained equipment in a perfectly designed facility can introduce power quality problems as it ages.
The impact of harmonics
Harmonics, one of the dangerous power quality issues, affects the operation and life of critical equipment in a facility. Harmonics also destabilizes the grid and affects users connected to the grid.
With an increased number of non-linear loads, such as frequency converters, variable frequency drives, SMPS, and induction furnaces, voltage and current are distorted. These voltage distortions affect the user or consumer of electricity who has these non-linear loads, and also affects other users connected to the grid if the voltage distortions are phenomenal. Consequently, a user who does not have any non-linear loads might be affected because of the non-linear loads in a neighboring facility.
The impact of harmonics includes, but is not limited to, the following.
High current to flow in neutral conductors
Motors and transformers running hot, shortening their lives
Increased susceptibility to voltage dips, potentially causing spurious resets
Reduced efficiency of a transformer, or a larger unit is required to accommodate harmonics