In the age of cut-throat competition, diminishing resources and strict regulations with penalties, optimization has become a term of day-to-day usage. Any business concern works hard on maximizing the productivity of all the factors of production. The labor works in shifts with adequate breaks, the concern’s activities are evenly spread over the land; after thorough calculations as per priorities, the capital is put to use and accordingly an organization is built upon. It is the secondary level of resources whose optimization can be a challenge. One of the most important one being power.
All devices or machinery function at full productivity at a particular level of power supplied to them consistently. Sometimes, even after that requisite is fulfilled, the absolute performance from the machinery may not be obtained due to power disturbances such as harmonics or voltage sags, swells or transients. In simple words it means that the power is delivered to your facility but the facility is not making its efficient usage because of various possibilities such as obsolete machinery or technology, absence of power correction equipment, etc. Here knowing the power quality becomes essential.
Power quality analysis seeks to measure the power quality of a functional power-consuming system. It basically analyses how capable a system is in getting the most out of all its loads. After all, the power disturbances could originate anywhere, be it the consumer power systems, consumer loads, or the utility. Detecting where, when and how they occur are a part of the analysis which further help in fixing them to go higher on optimizing power usage.
The power factor of the facility, which ranges between 0 and 1, 1 meaning 100% efficiency, can be determined. The energy usage can be observed for a short period of time and using this data the long-term energy usage calculated or a tool like a three phase power logger can be used to do a month long load study.
The first method can get complicated with the involvement of motors whereas the second method would give accurate detailed consumption data but would take longer time as compared to the prior method. Just like the power logger works as a great power quality monitor, many other tools such as quality analyzers and recorders may fit better depending on situation arisen.
Power disturbances are generally neglected since they can be a routine part of the day but this is exactly where optimization is compromised upon. There is loss in production as every interruption means less goods being produced than the optimum capacity which consequentially means lesser sales and profits. Sometimes these disturbances can also mean damage to the products or the installation or machinery which is either way tough on the finances. Not to forget the penalties that the electric utility will impose due to a poor power factor! Hence regular power quality analysis can ensure power optimization in today’s constantly changing environment.