This is a guest post by Werner Karau of Antares Power, Power Inspired Distributor in Germany.
In this edition we consider the quality control of electricity supply.
May we invite you to a small thought experiment?
How do you answer this question: “Would you drive your car without fuel filter?”
“No, of course not“, you would probably reply.
Gasoline or diesel fuel is needed to operate the engine. Okay, this is no breakthrough insight. Oil companies provide the quality of fuel in accordance with European standards. After delivery to the petrol station network they are no longer responsible for contaminants until use in your engine. The fuel is filtered before use by the engine of your car. The filters are regularly renewed so that your engine always receives clean and suitable fuel.
Without this filter foreign material can enter the circulation and cause malfunctions in the form of motor standstill, dropouts, reduced power, also accelerated wear, or in extreme cases even destruction and major engine damage.
It is self-evident to have these filters and to look after them.
Now we apply this model on the power, the fuel in form of electrical energy that powers your systems. Electrical energy is an unusual commodity. It is continuously needed, cannot be stored in significant quantities and is beyond quality control before use.
Before installation of complex systems it is sometimes quoted which sockets are to be used with which voltages, frequencies and circuit breakers. That was it mostly. Rarely references to preferred power grid systems such as the TN-S system with better EMC characteristics.
Practically all your systems are “somehow” connected to the existing power grid. An examination of the suitability for the operation of your systems will not take place.
Basically, your system matches the high-performance engine of a luxury car, which is being used without a fuel filter. It has been developed with all of your expertise, continuously improved and manufactured under the highest quality standards to be now driven with dirty energy.
Some argue that all this is only the problem of the user. We cannot answer this question, however, but see the results in practice.
– Do you know the quality of the electricity at the installation site?
– Or does your customer, which is the user, know the state?
If your system has operating faults or disruptions, which appear suddenly and are inexplicable, components have a premature wear / failure or the unit is even destroyed, the user first seeks for the fault in the system itself.
Your “workshop team” will be sent to fix the error. If the cause is not to be assigned to an application error, components need to be replaced during the warranty period, so the costs can’t be billed to the user neither. When in doubt, ex gratia payments are to be made. Often the costs are agreed in the context of a maintenance contract.
The power companies cannot be held responsible for it, they guarantee for the security of supply to the delivery point up to a certain degree but not for the quality – especially since most interferences are “home-made” through the user.
Your system meets all the current standards and guidelines for the CE mark. Here, the electromagnetic compatibility, the emission and immunity has been checked. However, these tests will be held under standardized conditions in the test laboratory, real conditions cannot be simulated. Other devices of any manufacturer can be found in the immediate vicinity at each installation site. All are connected to one and the same power grid and some of them are connected via data cable.
Each unit carries the CE mark. It is simply not possible to examine any of these combinations in terms of interference in EMC laboratory. Influences are predetermined. It does not affect every single device. A heating plate is insensitive when compared to systems with sensors that measure electron volt range. The more powerful, precise and highly technical installations are, the higher the clock speed of data processing digital technology (CPU, memory), the lower the flanks of the logical ones and zeros, the more sensitive they react to the slightest disturbance of the power supply.
At this point it is difficult to find a connection with the supply voltage. Some systems are unaffected, others do not tolerate interference. Often service technicians quote our customers: “But the other device always works…“.
Most everything results in a situation, which is not satisfying for everybody involved.
The user receives repairs or services. Why should he make an effort in causal research?
There are almost always the service managers and service technicians of our OEM customers, who request our services.
An analysis of power quality creates clarity. We offer you this service for free. The process is very simple. The installation and start-up of our measuring instruments can be handled by anyone. The data acquisition is fully automatic and after an agreed recording time you will send us back the devices for evaluation. You will receive a comprehensive report. Whether before installation or for supportive investigation of an incident.
We often hear from our customers that our analysis has been the basis for a lasting solution to the problem. It is also the basis for deciding whether the user solves the problem or the manufacturer of the systems. For us, the analysis allows the selection of a suitable system to ensure power quality. Everyone involved benefits from it.
Use our service to reduce the number of ex gratia payments or warranty claims in your workshop in order to create more capacity for your customers who come to billable inspections. Less unnecessary service calls, caused by electricity allows more efficiency and increase profit from maintenance contracts.
We have top manufacturers of industrial systems as partners for our solutions aside. When selecting we focus on meeting the industry-specific specifications, e.g. suitability for extreme dynamic loads, overload capability, robustness, etc. The straightforward way to our partners enables us in addition to the direct support also being able to offer an excellent price-performance ratio.
We follow this principle with suitable, compact, appropriately sized and cost-effective solutions, at the point where the power is needed to prepare optimally suitable power quality for your system.
“Have a pleasant trip” Yours Antares Power Solutions Team!