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Voltage sags may account for 70% of all production downtime, resulting in expensive equipment damage and product loss — a problem that grows more threatening as plants install more sophisticated equipment.

Industrial Power-Protection Device

Oct. 15, 2013
Inverter-based system Saves cost of unplanned downtime

ABB POWER CONVERSION’s PCS100 AVC power-protection device is an inverter-based system that protect sensitive industrial loads from voltage sags and other voltage disturbances with fast, accurate regulation and load voltage compensation.

Voltage sags and other voltage disturbances are common in industrial electricity supplies, accounting for up to 70% of all unscheduled production downtime, and resulting in expensive damage to equipment and product loss. The problem has increased in recent years as modern industrial facilities have installed more complex equipment such as PLCs, control relays, variable speed drives and robots that are more sensitive to voltage sags and resulting outages.

The usual causes of voltage disturbances are natural, including lightening, wind, tree branches and animal interference; secondary causes include faults and switching events in the grid, construction errors and component failure. Sags often cause equipment to self-protect by switching off, which in a critical control operation can cause a slowdown, or a complete shutdown of a facility.

Voltage sag events, also known as a voltage dips or brownouts, are a reduction in the incoming voltage for a short period of time, typically less than 0.25 seconds. They are characterized by amplitudes below 90% of the nominal range. While not complete voltage interruptions, they are the most common industrial power quality problem, and are often deep enough to cause equipment control circuits to drop out and reset.

The consequences of sags for industrial operations include unexpected downtime, lost revenue wasted materials, poor product quality, equipment damage, and in the worst scenarios, injury to personnel. The aggregate cost of unreliable electricity to the US economy are approximately $160 billion annually, with the average premium grid manufacturing facility experiencing six to twenty significant voltage sags per year.

The cost of a single voltage sag ranges from several thousand to several million dollars or higher.In one high profile example, a voltage sag at a major Japanese electronics manufacturer caused a production disruption of a popular computer chip, resulting in a 20% drop in shipments for the following two months, curtailing the availability of many consumer electronic devices.

The ABB AVC is a battery-free power protection solution focused on significantly reducing unplanned process downtime by ensuring that industrial loads continue to receive a clean, uninterrupted flow of power during major grid disturbances. Unlike traditional alternatives, it is 98%+ efficient, virtually maintenance free, easy to install, have an extremely small footprint and can be sized to protect 3-phase loads from 150KVA to 24MVA.