Power and quality. Should be familiar words to all of us. But why have I written them here like this, together? Is there something special about them? According to surveys, the cost of poor power quality is over 150 billion euros a year to European business. So, power quality may not be your core business, but your core business is affected by power quality.
When you think of power quality, the first thing that comes to your mind might be power outages. That’s when all power goes out, lights go out, everything just stops, and all havoc breaks loose. Well, maybe and hopefully not the havoc part, but you get the point. Luckily that doesn’t happen too often and before things go that far there’s probably a lot that has already gone wrong.
When speaking of power quality power outages are only the tip of an iceberg. It’s the big, visible tip, but under the surface, there’s a whole mountain. The mountain we talk about here is voltage dips, harmonics, transients, flickers and other mischiefs zapping through the power grids. And they may cause big damage, even when hidden from plain sight.
Here are the top 5 reasons why your industrial customers care about power quality.
1. Ensuring efficiency
Businesses run best, when all the tools and resources are oiled and working, and everyone can do their job as planned. Shortcomings in power quality can slow work down or even stop it temporarily. For example, voltage dips may cause hiccups for machinery, make them operate slower or unevenly, or even stop them requiring reboot. This means loss of productive hours both for staff and to the machinery.
2. Protecting Hardware
Industrial equipment can take significant investment to procure and maintain. Fluctuations in power quality may damage this hardware and increase the need to replace them before their normal lifecycle comes to an end. Harmonics and transients in power grids can cause extra stress to hardware reducing their lifetime. Which then may lead to increased need for maintenance or even cause irreparable damage.
3. Ensuring Quality
Your customers quite likely have a quality standard set for their company that is an essential part of their business success. Faults in power quality may cause faulty products, loss of material, or delays in production. Voltage dips, harmonics or transients may cause machinery to perform faulty or even stop. This leads to quality issues and unnecessary interruptions, time consuming investigations, and repairs.
4. Client satisfaction
Your customers have a business or industry to run and a reputation to maintain for timely and quality deliveries. Undercuts in power quality may cause their machinery or personnel to underperform, leading to quality issues or delays in production thus causing disappointed customers or even reputational damage.
In the end, all comes down to money. We need money to make things happen, to make things work, to run our business, and to live our lives. Ensuring efficiency, protecting hardware, ensuring quality, and taking care of client satisfaction are all ways to ensure the bottom line stays green and our businesses and lives continue to thrive. Power quality can have a bigger impact on bottomlines and total cost of ownership than you may think. That’s why you might want to give it a thought, or two.
Smart metering for industries
Given these concerns, industrial consumers are seeking greater transparency and control over their energy management. Industrial smart meters like the Landis+Gyr E660 can help utilities generate actionable insights not only about energy consumption and billing but also on power quality, grid health and operations at the industrial edge. This helps grid operators mimimize disruptions, protect grid assets and industrial equipment and improve SAIDI/SAIFI scores in addition to delivering accurate usage and billing information.
In a recent webinar on Industrial Metering for the IoT era we discussed some of the key challenges in Industrial Metering and how to solve them. Check it out to learn more on the impacts and mitigations of power quality issues.