Electrical Signature Technology

Electrical Signature Analytics | MachineSense

MachineSense Uses SignaGuard's Exclusive Electrical Signature Analytics to specifically attach to industrial or commercial assets and electrical sub-systems to help understand specific power qualities anomalies within industrial and commercial power settings.  Although power quality tools have been available before, these newer expert systems allow real actionable insight into power quality issues that typically are causing other issues such as motors, capacitors and transformer burning out and controllers losing power and more.  

Just as with vibration signature, power also has a unique language or "signature" which unfortunately is not easily translatable to most people.  But our technology changes that and provides a translator expert system that takes the unique language "signature" of your power sub-systems and assets so that you can readily understand what's really happening with your industrial or commercial facility.

Understanding electrical signature is especially important in most commercial and industrial settings because power signature issues are frequently responsible for a host of issues that are often blamed incorrectly and can cause loss of equipment, data inconsistencies and in the ultimate conditions short circuits and fires.   


A sag is a reduction of AC voltage for a duration of 0.5 cycles to 1 minute of time.  Sags are usually the result of heavy load startups.  Typical causes of sags include starting up of large equipment such as large motors or HVAC units that might be connected to the same internal power distribution line in the facility.  For example, a motor can draw up to six times normal running current during startup.  This type of sudden load will typically impact the rest of the circuit that the large equipment resides on, just as at home you will notice an impact on your lights when something with a high draw is plugged in.  

This under-voltage condition known by others as a "brownout" can create overheating of electrical motors and ultimately cause failure of computer power supplies including PLCs, robots, as well as servo and VFD drives.  

Our specialized Electrical Signature Expert System identifies these sags or under voltages so you can understand what's happening with your electrical system with specific times and outputs.  Armed with this information you can easily understand which components are causing the issue--and rectify the problem.  




Sags, Swells
Swells or over-voltages are the reverse of a sag and has increased AC voltage for a duration of 0.5 cycles to 1 minute in time.  Much like sags, the condition is hard to detect without effective instrumentation so the problem is typically ignored or not diagnosed.  Typically this is caused by sudden large load reductions.  Often the results of swell show up as data errors, flickering lights, electrical contact degradation, semiconductor damage and insulation damage all of which can cause catastrophic results in the facility.  

MachineSense exclusive SignaGuard Electrical Signature Expert Analytics Systems specifically identify these surges or over-voltages so that you can understand what's happening within your electrical circuit.  With this information, you can easily understand the components that are causing the condition and rectify the problem.  




Most industrial and commercial facilities assumed that the power received from the electrical utility was generally a pure sinusoidal waveform (produces good electrical harmonics) and was considered "clean power".  However, today more and more facilities are finding that the problem of "dirty power" which produces conditions where voltage/current variations of the pure waveform are transient and case distortions in power quality.  However, in some industrial and commercial situations, harmonic distortions are self-induced because of increased usage of variable frequency drives, computer AC/DC power converters, new LED lighting and other components that may cause solid-state switching.  Because harmonic distortions can be caused by internal plant components as in neighboring facilities, it is crucial to understand the harmonics of your sub-systems and incoming power.  

These harmonic distortions disrupt industrial and commercial facilities.  Results include blown fuses, reduced capacitors life, reduced motor life, inability to operate full motor load, reduced transformer life and lost downtime through overloads tripping and logic faults in machine controllers.  

MachineSense's expert SignaGuard electrical signature technology and analytics will record and detect harmonic distortions by measuring true-mms value as well as the instantaneous peak value of the wave peak.  With this information, you can identify and track ongoing distortions that are occurring throughout the facility and then identified problems can be addressed.  The expert system advantage is that it records these values over a prolonged period since harmonic issues are often repeatable, but may not occur during periods of measurement by short duration power meters afforded by ordinary electrical power loggers with limited memory and scope.  


Power Factor


Power Factor
Most industrial and commercial power usage is inductive, such as motors, transformers, and induction furnaces.  All these need a magnetic field to operate.  Inductive loads use two types of power including working power (kW), which is used to actually do the work of creating heat, motion and output. Also required is reactive power (kVAR) which is needed to sustain the magnetic field.  Working power and reactive power together make up the apparent power (kVA).  Power factor is the ratio of working power to apparent power. It signals effectively electrical power is being used.  A high ratio or power factor shows efficient use of electrical power. A low ratio shows poor utilization.  Low power factor means you are not properly utilizing the electrical power you are paying for.  Low power factor is usually created by inductive loads within electric motors, transformers, arc welders, HVAC systems, high intensity discharge lighting and more.  Low power factory means not only that you may be paying too much for your power, but also significantly compromises your power efficiency.  

MachineSense's expert SignaGuard electrical vibration system can specifically identify power factors for individual machines or sub-systems.  Since utilities often charge a penalty to large customers with poor power quality, this information can help identify issues and potentially reduce your costs.  Being able to measure power factor is a key initial step to understanding your facility's electrical sub-system.    

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