Improving Electrical Power Quality

It’s wise to protect the sensitive electronic equipment in our homes from surges and noise with electrical power quality equipment. The same is true for the critical data and network devices found in manufacturing facilities.

In an Electrical Products & Solutions article, Protecting Equipment Against Poor Power Quality and Disturbances, Emerson’s Mark Dziedzic shares solutions to:

…power quality disturbances that cost American manufacturers $26 billion annually in damaged machinery, work stoppage, lost data, and energy costs.

Mark notes that importance in prioritizing power quality considerations.

Threats to load sensitive equipment come from inside and outside the facility. These can range from impulses, voltage sags, swells and noise, to interruptions due to utility brownouts and total blackouts.

He explains that 20% of power quality issues occur outside the facility such as lightning strikes, but 80% occur within the facility.

In an average factory, power problems primarily involve surges (62%) and sags (29%), with the balance being impulses, harmonics and the loss of AC line voltage altogether. Culprits may be electrical noise from a variable frequency drive, or a high inrush current from a motor or spot welder, or an electric arc furnace drawing several times its full load current when starting. Add to that other factors that can threaten power, improper grounding, improper routing, or even an undersized distribution panel.

Power supplies at the point of use that are properly sized:

…ensure the right voltages are getting to your equipment or controls, regardless of voltage sags.

Surge control devices limit:

…high-voltage spikes to a level that is acceptable to most electronic equipment. Choose components that are placed in parallel with the line and serve as a clamping mechanism for high-energy impulses. Tracking filters are an ideal solution for microprocessor-based products to provide clean AC power at the equipment level avoiding damaging degradation or “electronic rust” over time. Finally, data/signal line products can be used to protect your point of use equipment from high-energy impulses protecting controls and critical data you need for your operation.

Read the article for more on power distribution solutions for power quality including transformers properly suited for the application, supplier service and support to help with selection and lifecycle support, and the importance of power quality in manufacturing performance.

Visit the SolaHD Power Quality section on and download the SolaHD Power Quality GuideBook for more on ways to improve the power quality at your facility.

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