Electrical Issues on an Industrial Scale

An industrial switchboard

When you start looking at electricity beyond plugs and appliances and enter the industrial world several things change. Namely, the devices you are dealing with are larger, require more power and are often linked together in industrial processes such as manufacturing or transportation. With so many processes and factories today controlled by computers and robots, downtime can cost a business by the minute with missed orders, extra labour and repair costs. In this article we will discuss some of the major electrical issues that can cause problems on an industrial scale and common mitigation strategies.

Voltage Sags

Voltage sags, or drops in power supplied from the energy provider can significantly interfere with processes. Unfortunately, energy providers are judged mostly on reliability of supply not the quality of that power. Due to the large number of users on the grid, there can be problems caused by significant downstream and upstream interruptions.

Voltage sags can also be caused in-house, large motors starting up, for example, can cause significant power drain resulting in a momentary sag through the surrounding circuits.

If you experience frequent and significant power interruptions and sags at your place of business it is best to book an inspection by a qualified industrial electrician to analyse for potential problems and suggest strategies that suit your business requirements. 

Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS)

A UPS is the most common solution to mitigating problems with electricity supply from the grid. It can keep your machines running during momentary glitches or in case of sudden voltage drops. There are other solutions including Electrical Sag Compensators and Constant Voltage Transformers but it is best to discuss your specific requirements with an electrician.

Harmonics

It might be news to many people but electricity travels in waves. Waves have harmonic properties, and these can be disturbed by various components in an industrial electrical setting. Large DC and AC motors along with inverters and arc furnaces can cause unequal draw from different parts of the supplied power wave, creating a change in the overall shape of the power wave distributing throughout your grid. These kinds of issues can cause an excess build-up of heat in transformers, capacitors and appliances that are highly sensitive to waveform can be damaged.

These problems can magnify efficiency problems and the unfortunate thing is that their negative impact may not be evident immediately but over time can result in damaged components and shorter equipment lifetimes.

Electrical Surges or Transients

Electrical surges, sometimes referred to as transients, are peaks in energy flow that be a millionth of a second long but irreversibly fry sensitive components. They are the sorts of surges caused by lightning and rapid changes to the supply and demand requirements of a circuit. There are many other causes of electrical transients that are more easily identified with a thorough analysis of components connected to your grid. This work is best done by an industrial electrician.

If your network experiences frequent surges one device to look into is a Surge Protection Device.

Contact Dr Sparky Electrical for Fast Solutions 

Dr Sparky Electrical are expert industrial electricians with significant experience and all the tools to identify and fix almost any problems. Within our possession we carry thermographic imaging equipment to identify fault connections and harmonics testing equipment to comprehensively analyse power flow around your site. Call us today on 1800 377 727 or contact us online.

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