Monday, April 25, 2016

Four Reasons to Implement Continuous Power Quality Monitoring

When it comes to reliability of power, foresight beats hindsight, hands down. Compromised power quality can cause damage to electrical equipment, reduce productivity, and - if severe enough - disrupt business as usual. Variations in power quality at a facility can occur at any time, coming from voltage spikes, swells, and sags; harmonic disturbances; and interruptions of power that may last from a few milliseconds to 2+ seconds.

Proactive monitoring of power can incorporate sensors and meters to measure electrical sensitivity and software to record and interpret the data, along with communications (wired and wireless) to inform personnel about what is negatively affecting power quality and where in the electrical system that event occurred.

Here are four reasons to implement continuous power quality monitoring.  

1. Detection of a problem before it escalates, when it is easier to address, minimizes the likelihood of equipment damage or interruption of daily operations. The ability to review stored continuously recorded waveforms and spot anomalies helps in the diagnosis of problems. Early detection can facilitate proactive scheduling of repairs rather than emergency repair at a time when service personnel are not readily available or when shut-down of a load would be inconvenient.

2. Power quality analytics can contribute to development of a baseline that could be used to evaluate performance of electrical equipment and components over time and to detect performance trends that could impact preventive maintenance programs. It could also provide data that could help in predicting future power requirements, including those that would require purchasing additional electrical equipment such as servers or variable frequency drives. Power quality analytics also supports forensic investigation into how a chain of events occurred as it did and can identify power quality problems that can prematurely age equipment.

3. at facilities where good power quality and operational continuity are important, facility management benefits from having both a building management system (BMS), which operates on a narrow bandwidth at relatively low speed, and a complementary dedicated critical power management system (CPMS) that operates at a very high bandwidth and a very high speed and monitors and analyzes the operation and status of the electrical components of the normal power and emergency power systems from multiple points of access. A CPMS can generate power quality details such as transient harmonic displays or wave form capture, monitor current, normal and emergency voltages and frequency, power, and power factor, and can indicate transfer switch position and source availability. Web-enabled communications can provide access to the data from anywhere in the world.

4. Improved efficiency of a facility’s power infrastructure can save on energy costs; improved reliability of power can minimize occupant complaints about power issues and preserve good relations with tenants.

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