Industry Analysis

Improving power quality with T&M instruments

Analysing increasing importance of T&M instruments in power quality monitoring

Poor power quality can cause huge loss to the electrical devices, disrupts the operations and sometimes all these drawbacks can also result in hesitation to invest heavily on instruments. Hence to meet the power quality standards there is increasing importance of T&M instruments in power quality management.

Monitoring of power quality and checking the consumptions is very crucial so as to know what is going in system, whether devices are operating on desired inputs or are getting some poor quality power damaging the devices. Decent power quality and uninterrupted power are extremely important goals at many types of set-ups, ranging from manufacturing plants, commercial and government buildings to data centres, healthcare centres. When it comes to reliability of power in a set-up, foresight is a lot better than hindsight.

Poor power quality can cause damage to costly electrical equipment, reduce productivity, and – if severe enough – disrupt daily operations. Variations in power quality can result from voltage spikes, swells, and sags; harmonic disturbances; and short and long interruptions of power lasting from a few milliseconds to over two seconds as well as fast switching devices. And any of these events can occur at any time. Even it is compulsory to maintain the power factor unity as per rules. If it is not maintained unity, there will be a fine charged by SEB (State Electricity Board).

Vishwadeep Nanda, Product Manager, Test & Measurement Instruments, Rishabh Instruments, says, “Day-by-day the importance of T&M instruments in power quality monitoring is increasing as it is required to know what is the quality of power and on-going loads consumption. T&M instruments play a vital role in knowing the same.”

Explaining his views upon the increasing importance of T&M instruments in power quality monitoring Avichal Kulshrestha, Staff Technical Marketing Engineer, National Instruments says, “Gathering reliable, real-time data from all areas of the grid is critical to identifying problems early and preventing power disruptions. To keep the grid running consistently, operators must be able to gather data from a wide range of measurements and quickly gain insight from that data to monitor the overall health of the grid.”

The modern grid comes with new engineering challenges. As renewable energy resources are being used to supplement fossil fuel production, power quality issues are surfacing. Combine this with the rapidly increasing demand for energy and the decommissioning of fossil fuel plants, and grid operators are finding that traditional measurement systems do not offer adequate coverage to handle these new challenges and manage the new risks the industry faces. With an open, flexible, software-designed instrument, engineers can customise the information available for grid operation and easily make upgrades as needs change. This approach improves grid monitoring and reliability while reducing the amount of equipment needed.

Kulshrestha adds, “With the advanced processing power of T&M instruments today, engineers can easily maintain its network of connected systems and push intelligence down the grid to turn massive amounts of raw data into bits of useful information, keeping the lights on for millions of businesses and homes.”

Ubaythulla Ahamed, GM – R&D, Elmeasure India Pvt Ltd believes that it is very important today to be innovative in any field to have sustained growth. Most of the innovative products today use SMPS power supply or VFD drives to reduce the power consumption of the product, which is our major unique selling point. But SMPS power supply and VFDs generates high qty. of harmonics and the same are emitted to other systems. But unfortunately, harmonics are measured at the Incomer which will show very low as, the total amount of consumption vs. the individual consumption of the device is different. Today, every electricity user is getting familiar with the installation of individual power quality monitor with the individual device as against one power quality monitor in the incomer.

A few advanced T&M instrument used for power quality monitoring
NI’s grid automation system

The National Instruments’s (NI) grid automation system is a programmable Intelligent Electronic Device (IED) designed to simplify substation monitoring and upgrades while improving measurement visibility. It does what fixed-function devices on the market can’t do because the functionality is defined by software. This approach to grid instrumentation uses a common set of hardware with software-designed measurements and communication protocols. With this approach, the grid automation system can deliver new measurements to operators and power system engineers while integrating with existing systems.

Additionally, the software-based measurements can be upgraded in the future as standards, research, and needs evolve. Full access to the streaming waveform data is available for inline processing, online monitoring, and storage on the device. One can program the grid automation system to intelligently select which data to monitor, store, or transmit to reduce storage and bandwidth requirements. The analog input channels that are designed for potential transformer and current transformer inputs use high-speed, high-resolution converters that sample at more than 1,000 samples per cycle with 24 bits of resolution.

Using a hybrid, customisable device like the grid automation system can help simplify the transition between technologies by bridging existing setup with new technology and minimising the need for excess equipment. For example, the grid automation system programmed as a remote terminal unit can collect data from slave devices communicating over one protocol and output to the SCADA/EMS system over another. This prevents upgrading more equipment than needed and allows power engineers to selectively replace systems that are legacy or outdated.

FLIR India’s Extech PQ3350: 3-phase power and harmonics analyser
T P Singh, Country Manager & Director – Instruments (Sales), FLIR India says, “In power quality monitoring FLIR India continuously collect and analyse data for changes in various electrical parameters. With technological advancement the company has many equipment which are very sensitive to these changes. As these equipment are now interconnected any issue with single equipment can be severe over a time. Poor power quality causes damage to equipment, loss of energy, downtime and increased expenses.”

FLIR India has various instruments for monitoring parameters such as voltage, current, frequency, temperature, force and torque for extended time. The company also test harmonics and high inrush current from equipment. Power monitoring instrument can provide reliable information about power quality, demand and flow. With power quality testing instruments the company can get optimum output from equipment and meet energy efficiency.

Detailing about the advanced technology Singh adds, “Power quality analyser can help to prevent and troubleshoot power quality problems in three-phase power and single-phase power systems. It also supports data logging and comes with USB interface with software to download. One can use flexible clamp probes for true RMS power measurement with harmonics. Large dot matrix LCD display with backlight of 35 parameters in screen to monitor energy, active power, apparent power and reactive power, power factor, energy, TRU RMS value, AC current, and average and maximum demand with programmable time interval, CTR and PTR. Displays harmonics up to the 99th order, THD with waveform and peak value. It is available with clamp on CT having multiple range of 100A/1000A/1200A/3000A (Flexible CTs) as per application.”

Rishabh Instruments’s power clamp meter
Rishabh Instruments has a power clamp meter, Rish Clamp Power 1000/400 A AC/DC namely a fully power packed instrument offering all the parameters, one can consider it as ‘All you need for testing power’. Power clamp meter is a handy portable digital multi-functional measuring instrument, designed for measuring selected power network parameters like active, reactive and apparent power, power factor, harmonics, THD, inrush current, single phase energy, AC/DC Voltage, AC/DC current, resistance, continuity, diode and frequency.

Apart from basic quantities meter enables the measurement of additional quantities calculated from values of voltage and current. Power clamp meter is an innovative device designed for increasing safety and comfort of user. Rotating clamp jaws facilitate the measurement at physically awkward position, vertical bus bars, and conductors at position difficult to access. Clamp jaws can be opened or closed with the trigger placed at bottom side placed away from the jaws. This allows the user to place his/her hand at safer distance from live conductor. Location and design of trigger eliminates fatigues caused by single finger operation.

Rishabh Instruments offers some of the distinct features in the product like:
• Automatic calculation of 3 phase power balanced and unbalanced load no need of manual calculation
• Horse power measurement
• Inrush current measurement
• Individual Harmonic measurement up to 49th harmonic and THD
• Energy measurement for single phase
• Our unique patented rotatable jaw and clamp trigger at back side of meter so as to
• keep display always in front in physically awkward places
• Non-contact voltage detection.

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