Why Is Electric Power Quality Monitoring An Absolute Must For Large Buildings?

Why Is Electric Power Quality Monitoring An Absolute Must For Large Buildings?

Posted by Machine Sense

Electricity is undoubtedly one of the cornerstones of modern society. Hence power quality monitoring becomes all the more relevant. However, without stringent codes and protocols in place to analyze power and regulate its use, it can yield dangerous consequences. An uninterrupted power supply is essential and a relatively difficult feat to achieve at many types of facilities ranging from government and commercial buildings to healthcare centers, data centers, and manufacturing plants.

When it comes to reliability of power in large buildings, foresight is a lot better than hindsight. Compromised power quality will not only reduce productivity but also cause severe damage to costly electrical equipment and disrupt daily operations. Variations in power quality result from swells and sags or voltage spikes, short and long interruptions of power lasting from a few milliseconds to over three seconds or more, harmonic disturbances, etc. There are several problems that effective power quality testing can address.

What is the problem?

Various modern-day lifestyles can corrupt power either by silently injecting harmonics into the source or creating a high neutral current due to poor distribution of load between phases. Frequent and extensive use of today’s technologically advanced devices may lead to changes in load characteristics. This will severely distort the sinusoidal pattern of current, which then leads to increased heating of the cable and a decrease in their life cycle. The problem of high harmonics or high neutral current begins with relatively mild severity but will most likely lead to fire hazards when overlooked for an extended period.

What are the solutions?

Proactive, sophisticated monitoring of power 24x7 in large buildings includes hardware- sensors and meters, state of the art power quality analyzer, to measure electrical sensitivity, record, and interpret the data. It may also involve various wired and wireless communications to inform facility personnel about what is negatively affecting power quality and where, in the whole system set up, the event probably occurred.

Thus, monitoring the condition of power lines will significantly reduce the potential of hazards in buildings. The IoT power quality analyzer by MachineSense will expertly detect issues related to electrical fire hazards and notify the correct individuals to take coercive action before a fire occurs. There are various additional benefits as well:

Enhanced analytics

A stellar power quality analyzer will offer better power quality analytics that will enable the development of a baseline that can then be used to evaluate the performance of the electrical components and equipment over time. When compared to the baseline, one can easily detect performance trends that are likely to impact preventive maintenance programs. The comparison to baseline will also offer useful information, which will then help further in developing plans for purchasing servers, variable frequency drives, and other additional electrical equipment following the predicted future power requirements.

Power quality analytics will also support a forensic investigation into a host of things like why a particular breaker tripped the PDU (Power distribution unit) and resulted in a switch over to the UPS or how a chain of events occurred as they did. A power quality analyzer will help put the finger on the actual cause, determine the underlying problem. For example, a short, floating ground or an electrical spike, etc. the first step to solving the problem is identifying one, and that is precisely what a power analyzer effectively does. It can also help pinpoint various power quality problems that can age equipment prematurely.

Fast recovery

Before a problem escalates, it is crucial to detect it because it is relatively easier to address. This also reduces the likelihood of costly damage to equipment or costly interruption of business-as-usual. What helps in the diagnosis of problems in the power supply when it comes to large buildings? The ability to spot anomalies like sags and swells, power outages, and transient harmonics or to review stored, continuously recorded waveforms, etc. When you use a power quality analyzer, it will detect the problem early on and enable proactive scheduling of repairs in an orderly, timely fashion. Instead of an emergency repair at a time when service personnel/maintenance equipment is not readily available or when shut down of the entire load would just be inconvenient for various reasons and monitor power quality 24x7.

Accurate information

Where operational continuity and good power quality are indispensable, facility management benefits a lot from both- a building management system, also known as BMS, and a dedicated critical power management system, also known as CPMS. The former operates on a narrow bandwidth at a relatively low speed while the latter complements it.

A power quality analyzer monitors and analyzes the operation and status of the electrical components of the standard power and emergency power systems from multiple points of access since they operate at a very effective, regulated speed and bandwidth and properly assesses power quality in buildings.

It generates various power quality details necessary for the smooth running of the operations like a waveform capture or transmits harmonic displays. It will monitor correct, frequency, power, and power factor, standard and emergency voltages and will also indicate source availability and transfer switch position.

Compliance benefits

A power quality analyzer will have the capability for testing to comply with various regulatory reporting requirements like specific reports that can help meet several requirements like the National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA 99, NFPA 70, NFPA 110.  Additionally, the associated improvements in the overall reliability and efficiency of the facility’s power infrastructure will save a lot on the cost of energy, minimize occupant complaints, and create benefits throughout the organization, mostly by preserving good relations with occupants.

Avoid building hazards

Most large buildings are susceptible to various minor and significant risks owing to poor power supply/quality. Did you know that power quality issues in large commercial buildings (theaters, office buildings, shopping malls, hospitals, schools, or universities ) account for up to 19% of avoidable fires?

How does MachineSense Power Quality Analyzer work?

MachineSense Power Quality Analyzer toroids are placed directly on incoming power lines to monitor power conditions automatically and detect power anomalies. The sensor data transmits through a self-contained data hub directly to your router and onto cloud-based servers running powerful power quality analysis software. Results are then sent from the server to either a desktop or user-friendly app where you will view power conditions with helpful advice to correct power issues.

Broadly put, the Power analyzer measures and tracks:

  • Average three-phase voltage
  • Average three-phase current
  • Power factor
  • Active “working” power
  • Power waveforms
  • Cumulative active energy
  • Ground faults
  • Power quality harmonic distortion for current and voltage
  • All value needed for energy optimization
  • Reports phase imbalance
  • Machine on-time

A power quality analyzer like MachineSense’s is indispensable to the commercial building sector because of its ability to identify many transient or short term power quality issues. Facilitated by its event-driven wave/signature capturing characteristics, the former being more efficient in terms of cloud cost and detect disturbances in the power quality in electrical systems.

Besides offering accurate power quality measurements, Expert Platform caters diligently to all your power demands by providing the best results. You can select “Quick Time Range” for data visualization. It also offers precise custom date-time selection provision from “Customize Date Time ranges input.”

At MachineSense, we take the power quality fed to the Machines very seriously. As human beings suffer from contaminated food, machines also get damaged if adulterated power is supplied to them.  It only gets worse with higher loading. Please take a look at our presentation to understand how your buildings may suffer from poor power quality during peak load.

When compared to current practices that often rely solely on the use of benchmarks, we provide an improved approach to predicting the operational performance of power equipment in medium and large buildings.