Power Quality Analysis
Technologies such as variable speed drives (VSD) and robotic welders are designed to lower energy costs, but they also can give rise to unwanted harmonics and transients within an electrical system. Capacitor switching, motor starting, and ground faults within the utility infrastructure can also cause transients. The result may be only an annoyance or a shutdown that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Any of the following can indicate a power quality issue:
- Variable speed drives tripping for no apparent reason or VSD damage
- Damage or disruption of the electronic network; noise or hum on communication/data circuits
- Control systems unable to hold a process
- Blinking lights concurrent with equipment disruption
- Simultaneous disruption or damage to equipment in different locations within the facility
- Damage or high counts on surge suppressors
- Premature lamp or ballast burnout
- Unknown power disturbances
Our registered professional engineers will document the symptoms, examine damaged equipment, assess the power and grounding in the area, collect data using temporary monitors, and develop a report of findings that identifies the most probable cause. The report will include cost-effective mitigation recommendations to prevent future occurrences of the problem.
Power System Grounding Evaluation
Lack of proper grounding translates into an increased chance of fire, data and equipment losses, process anomalies, plant shutdowns, and workplace safety hazards. Components of a grounding system are subject to corrosion due to electrochemical, electrolytic, or chemical reactions. In fact, if the system has been in place long enough, a ground grid can be completely consumed. Facilities that have sensitive electronic equipment are particularly vulnerable to disruptions.
Schneider Electric power system engineers will develop a scope of work to address your areas of concern, which may include the following evaluations:
- Grounding system and the ground grid at the main switchyard including the switchgear room
- Grounding system at the service entrance equipment, generators, generator panels, and automatic transfer switches (where used)
- Grounding electrode system and bonding methods, including the structural metal used
- Ground fault protection equipment
- Lightning protection system (NFPA 780) and surge protection application
- Sensitive equipment grounding requirements
We will document the baseline condition of your grounding and surge protection systems. Corrective action recommendations are provided to improve the existing grounding systems and to comply with current electrical codes and standards.
Equipment Condition Evaluation, Risk Assessment, and Contingency Planning
Electrical distribution equipment is subject to degradation due to age, environmental stresses, and heat. Our professional engineers produce a basic* equipment condition evaluation by visually inspecting the equipment during a walk-through of the facility. For each non-optimum condition identified during the equipment condition assessment, a measure of risk can be defined.
Risk to the facility is determined by the combination of four factors:
- The impact of the occurrence to key process elements
- The safety hazard to electrical workers
- The probability of an occurrence
- The ability to respond quickly to correct the negative effects of the occurrence (vulnerability)
Results of the risk assessment are entered into a Hazard Vulnerability Analysis table, which prioritizes the findings according to the total risk to the facility. A contingency plan identifies a power system’s key components (major assets) and evaluates available alternatives, in case of a major asset loss. It also produces an action plan to be implemented should a major loss occur.