Quality control

Quality control

Over many years, ABB has accumulated a wealth of process knowledge that helps the food and beverage industry become safer and more efficient. In particular, ABB power-quality products help prevent downtime due to power issues, thus keeping production running, cutting energy bills and improving productivity.

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Omar Seyam ABB STOTZ-KONTAKT GmbH Heidelberg, Germany omar.seyam@de.abb.com

In recent years, production and packaging methods in the food and beverage industry have undergone a dramatic transformation, driven both by a requirement to improve productivity and a move toward tighter food-safety standards. These shifts have introduced innovation into the industry but have also rendered food and beverage plants vulnerable to electrical power-quality events. The quality of electrical power is business-critical, because power outages, sags, swells, brownouts, or other voltage disturbances can cause critical equipment to trip or fail, resulting in:
• Failure of components such as contactors, release switches, fuses, etc. • Unexplained breakdowns, faults and malfunctions in machinery.
• Overheating of transformers and motors, resulting in a reduced lifetime. • Damage to precision equipment (computers, controllers, sensors, etc.)
• Communication interference between electronic sensors, devices and control systems.
• Higher levels of power losses in the electrical distribution system.

Depending on the particular power quality event, the costs related to production waste, downtime, or supply-chain disruption can be significant. Indeed, the Pan-European Power Quality Survey [1] reported that annual losses caused by power quality problems can amount to as much as 4 percent of business turnover in direct costs – incurred by the expense of replacing damaged equipment and the labor involved in troubleshooting, patching, cleaning, repairing and restarting the process – and indirect costs, for example, the financial impact of loss of market share or efforts needed to restore the brand value.

Food and beverage companies face additional challenges arising from adverse power-quality events as these may jeopardize the process, workers and even customers. For instance, dairy producers must precisely track the temperature of their milk throughout the whole process and even a minor power-system disturbance can trigger to the discarding of an entire batch of perfectly good produce, if temperature sensors fail. Further, unexpected power downtime can cause milk to spoil, resulting in the waste of production capacity, work hours and valuable dairy products after milk has already been sterilized. Moreover, across the food and beverage industry, consistency of product taste is a critical factor, which makes the flawless operation of machinery mandatory →01.

01 Power quality issues can have a significant impact on food and beverage production, making a robust power protection strategy essential. Alexander Grüber
01 Power quality issues can have a significant impact on food and beverage production, making a robust power protection strategy essential. Alexander Grüber

Alternatively, a power-quality event could cause a problem that could evade quality checks and result in a health issue. On the equipment side, excessive harmonics, for example, could cause a fire, shutting production and endangering employees.

The need for food and beverage companies to carefully consider a power protection strategy is why they bring in power quality experts like ABB to install power quality monitoring and protection solutions. For many years, ABB has worked with food and beverage customers so they can be assured of reliable power and uninterrupted critical processes, with associated improved productivity and reduced operational cost →02. To deliver all these benefits, ABB has at its disposal a full range of solutions, software, digital tools and devices that support power-quality monitoring, conditioning and protection in food and beverage applications. Quick and easy installation and commissioning, low maintenance requirements and guaranteed high reliability are further advantages of ABB’s power quality systems. The mitigation of financial losses and equipment-lifetime extension also contribute to a high return on investment and short payback times.

02 Tmax XT circuit breakers.
02 Tmax XT circuit breakers.

Finally, ABBʼs high-efficiency solutions maximize sustainability by optimizing energy usage and reducing heat losses, thus taking steps towards the 2030 global target for CO₂ reduction.

Power quality monitoring solutions
The first step in solving power quality problems is to understand what is going on in the power network. For this task, there are the network analyzers embedded in ABB’s Emax 2 and Tmax XT →02 circuit breakers, and in ABB’s Ekip UP →03 and EKIP trip units, that monitor power behavior and detect anomalies, such as harmonics, micro-interruptions and voltage sags. An embedded unit eliminates the need for dedicated, expensive instrumentation and the Ekip UP digital unit can provide monitoring with no impact on the existing installation, either for ABB or third-party circuit breakers. Further, because these breaker and trip units are equipped with open protocols – such as Modbus RTU, Ethernet/IP, Modbus TCP/IP, SNMP, Profibus DP-V0 and BACnet/IP – retrofit is simple, allowing operators of existing automation or energy management system (cloud based or on-premise) to benefit from the embedded digital functionality the devices offer.

03 Ekip UP.
03 Ekip UP.

For complete power quality analysis in industrial facilities, ABB offers the M4M Network Analyzer range, which provides a selection of network analyzers that provide a complete evaluation of power quality →04. Compliant with the primary IEC standards, M4M analyzers capture and provide a full set of electrical parameters and power quality key performance indicators, from total harmonic distortion (THD) to individual harmonics.

04 The ABB M4M Network Analyzer.
04 The ABB M4M Network Analyzer.

Load immunity solutions
One strategy to adopt when power quality may be poor is to immunize the load against adverse power events. Here, ABB’s AF contactor range is the optimal solution to keep loads immune to shallow voltage sags as they include an option that guarantees compliance with SEMI F-47 (a voltage sag immunity standard) →05.

05 The ABB AF contactor range.
05 The ABB AF contactor range.

These contactors are offered as three-pole versions, from 9 A up to 1,060 A for three-phase AC, or up to 2,850 A for single-phase AC, with ­AC/ DC coils with a wide operational range. They are also available as four-pole versions from 25 A to 525 A single-phase, with AC coils, DC coils or AC/DC coils, similarly with a wide operational range.

Power conditioning solutions
Whereas products such as AF contactors provide immunity at the device level, ABB’s active voltage conditioner (AVC) range is designed to provide equipment with immunity from power quality events coming from the supply network itself.

ABBʼs AVCs cover from 150 kVA to 2,400 kVA and lower the cost of sag events, improve plant operation, limit damage to equipment and deliver a good return on investment. In addition to correcting standard voltage events, an AVC, for instance, ABB’s PCS100 AVC-40 or PCS100 ­AVC-20, offers power-quality functionalities such as correction of voltage unbalances, attenuation of flicker from the utility supply side and correction of phase-angle errors →06.

06 PCS100 AVC.
06 PCS100 AVC.

Power protection solutions
Industrial settings are notoriously tough environments for electrical and electronic devices due to the harsh conditions that may be encountered in terms of chemicals, dust, vibration, corrosion, humidity and heat. ABB’s PowerLine DPA uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is specifically designed to withstand such harsh environments →07. This UPS protects against deep sags, power cuts and outages of several minutes. The PowerLine DPA has a high energy efficiency (up to 95 percent) and superior short-circuit and overload capability. PowerLine DPA is based on ABB’s decentralized parallel architecture (DPA). DPA is a modular architecture that, by its nature, provides not only the best availability but also the best serviceability, scalability and flexibility. Taken together, these features deliver a low total cost of ownership (TCO) over the UPS’s lifetime.

07 PowerLine DPA UPS.
07 PowerLine DPA UPS.

Power quality from top to bottom
→08 shows the power protection solutions described above applied to a small-to-medium sized facility. Here, medium-voltage power supplied by an external utility is stepped down to low-voltage levels. If a power interruption occurs, a UPS instantly steps in to keep power flowing to the load and a breaker-based automatic transfer switch (ATS) initiates the transfer of the load to the emergency generator, which can supply power for several hours. It can take up to 30 s for the generator to come online and once this is accomplished, the UPS reverts to standby, ready for the next power interruption.

08 An example of power protection devices in a small-to-medium-sized facility.
08 An example of power protection devices in a small-to-medium-sized facility.

For short interruptions and voltage fluctuations, loads can be divided into three categories from a power quality perspective. Each of these can be addressed by the power protection solutions described above:
• Non-critical loads. These loads do not require special protection and do not cause financial losses or safety concerns.
• Essential loads. If these loads are affected by frequent power interruptions, significant financial losses result.
• Critical loads. These loads must not lose power at any time and typically require continuous power operation or 24/7 availability.

Voltage sags and imbalances are the most common power events in an electric network. These disturbances can be easily countered with an ABB PCS100 AVC-40 →08. To prevent potentially deep sags and provide short-term backup for industrial process loads, the ABB PCS100 UPS-I should be used.

A UPS is best to protect sensitive loads – such as process controls or automation systems – and critical loads that must be available 24/7. ABB has a wide range of UPSs that are tailored for different applications. In the example in →08, the PowerLine DPA UPS can be the best choice for process controls and the DPA250 S4 UPS is optimal for IT server protection.

Upholding electrical distribution system reliability in the face of network events must be complemented with power quality monitoring to check the efficiency of the electrical system design and monitor energy consumption. Such monitoring allows optimization of the facility’s energy efficiency and the detailed analysis of fault behavior. One way to implement a monitoring scheme is to deploy ABB circuit breakers with advanced metering and network analyzer functionalities that can monitor waveform characteristics up to the 50th harmonic order and measure the electrical parameters needed for asset health monitoring and performance optimization.

M4M meters can also be used to monitor and analyze the overall power quality performance of the facility. Because M4Ms have high accuracy and are certified for metering purposes, they can also be used for energy metering and bill management transactions with the utility.

Financially sensible and sustainable
ABB’s power protection solutions maximize operational availability and are quick and easy to install and commission. Coupled with low maintenance requirements and high reliability, these solutions deliver a high return on investment and short payback period while helping food and beverage producers maximize the sustainability of their facilities and contribute to the reduction of global CO₂ emissions. 

[1] Copper Development Association, “The Cost of Poor Power Quality,” ECI Publication No Cu0145, October 2015.


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