2016 – spring Issue

PQ & EM Should Be Important to You

Interstates Companies and its employees obtain and maintain certifications and memberships in various partner programs. Whether this is with Rockwell Automation, GE, Microsoft, Cisco, or VMWare, these partner programs and certifications give our customers a level of confidence in Interstates? commitment and competencies in the areas we serve. Holding a certification also gives our employees confidence in their abilities and knowledge. Recently, the Interstates Companies received certification from Rockwell Automation in the Power Quality and Energy Management discipline.

So, what does this mean for you? You may already know that Interstates provides services in arc flash studies and that we currently offer power quality and energy management design. While we will continue to provide energy monitoring and power quality services with various companies? products, our certification with the Rockwell solution allows for a common platform for power quality and energy management over a large segment of our automation systems platforms.

Why is this important? Having a power quality and energy management plan in place at your facility can lower your operations risks, lower energy costs, increase operational efficiencies of your plant or machines, and allow for more unit-based allocation of your utility costs. While our access to electrical power in the US has been relatively cheap for many years, this may not always be the case. Pressure on traditional power generation methods has forced the industry to look for alternative ways to meet increasing electrical power demands. Knowing where your energy is being consumed at a more granular level within your facility can give you the ability to make better informed business decisions in the future.

Many of the newer machines and control systems going into facilities today rely heavily on DC power and digital communications. The DC power comes from transforming the incoming AC power to DC power. AC power swells and sags affect the ability of the DC transformer to reliably supply DC power to the components that need them. Computers, switches, and other microprocessor equipment are sensitive to fluctuations in their power feeds. The result could be failed equipment and downtime. Harmonics, or noisy power, also affect your plant operations by causing inefficient use of power, motor failures, and other long-term problems. Power factor is another challenge in industrial plants. An uncorrected power factor can incur penalties on your utility bill.

Designing a power distribution system that can reduce or eliminate these problems is only part of the solution. As your facility changes over time, so does the power distribution system. An energy assessment will provide a one-time snapshot of your system. Monitoring your power system is the only way to maintain confidence in the power quality at your facility. Ideally, a quality and monitoring system was designed into your facility when it was built, but if not, these capabilities can be added after a plant is up and running. The first step is to start monitoring your system so you can identify any issues you might have and to track where you are spending your electrical power.