How To Eliminate Harmful Voltage Fluctuation & Protect Uptime In Your Facility

22 Nov 2021

Est Reading time: 11 minutes

As electrical professionals, you are constantly striving to improve uptime in your operations.  However, the worry of unplanned downtime crippling your entire facility is always present. And oftentimes, the culprit behind most equipment failures is simply harmful voltage fluctuation. The nightmares of expensive emergency repairs and high maintenance costs… Wouldn’t it be great if you could put an end to this problem?

 

Well, you absolutely can. But before you are able to solve this problem, you must first understand how voltage fluctuations occur. In this blog, we reveal to you the truth about dreaded voltage fluctuations and the most cost-effective ways to tackle this problem.

 

Let’s dive deep.

What is Voltage Fluctuation?

Voltage fluctuation refers to the rapid voltage changes or cyclic changes in voltage – where the magnitude of which does not normally exceed the specified voltage ranges. It can also be described as repetitive or random variations of the voltage envelope due to sudden changes in the real and reactive power drawn by a load. Let’s take a look at a typical voltage graph below to help you understand better.

This graph above shows a fluctuating voltage waveform.

 

It exhibits variations in magnitude due to the fluctuating nature of your connected loads.

 

Therefore, there are two important factors in Voltage Fluctuation – the frequency of fluctuation and the magnitude of fluctuation. 

 

Both of these factors are significant in the negative effects of voltage fluctuations.


For instance, when arc furnaces or arc welding equipment are used, they commonly cause the voltage of your power distribution system to fluctuate – resulting in a negative operational impact on your equipment.

To explain this simply, imagine yourself in a warm and relaxing shower after a long day of work, and someone turns on the hot water in the laundry downstairs…

Your hot paradise then immediately turns into an ice cold nightmare, and you are frustrated.

 

Voltage fluctuations are similar. It’s the electrical equivalent of water pressure and when it goes low, there ARE noticeable negative effects – both operationally and financially.

 

Voltage fluctuation is a continuous change in the voltage when devices or appliances that require a higher load are extensively used. 

 

So now that you have a deeper understanding about Voltage Fluctuations, you may be wondering – why exactly does it happen?

Let’s explore the details

Why does Voltage Fluctuation happen?

Electrical consultants have proven that Australia has a huge problem when it comes to regulating electricity. 

 

The AC Supply voltage ratings in Australia have been lowered. And with each passing year, electricity regulation is getting worse.

 

This results in various power quality problems such as voltage fluctuations in your electrical systems.

 

Harmful voltage fluctuations can set your facility up for failure – causing a temporary malfunction in your electrical equipment, or in most extreme cases, an expensive and irreparable failure…

 

Leading to a drastic decrease in your electrical equipment’s lifespan, or even unplanned downtime (an engineer’s worst nightmare). So, in order to effectively tackle this problem, it is crucial to first understand the main reasons why it happens.

“Did you know? 85% of all voltage events originate within a facility. Voltage Fluctuations are caused by inadequate supply, undersized wiring, an overloaded circuit, and frequently by other equipment turning on or off on the same circuit.”

Here are the 4 biggest reasons why voltage fluctuation happens in your electrical supply:

Poor Supply of Electricity

There could be a number of reasons for the unstable flow of electricity in your systems. Using a low capacity transmitter to transfer power from the main supply can cause the improper flow of electricity. And if you have any faulty electrical equipment, it draws more electric current than usual - resulting in huge voltage fluctuations in your electrical supply.

Interference

As an electrical engineer, you have probably heard at some time in your career, “it must be the motor.” And the truth is: if multiple motors are started at the same time, or if the same motor repeatedly starts and restarts, the frequency of the voltage will change - causing rapid voltage fluctuations. Connecting too many sensitive equipment like your motor, contactor, relay and breaker operations to the same circuit can also cause serious power variations in your electrical systems.

Wiring

Poor wiring, corroded and loose connections can cause voltage fluctuations. In extreme cases, a loose connection can cause electric shocks from metal appliances and surfaces in your home. This can often be identified by the flickering of lights.

Natural Causes

Voltage fluctuations can be caused by lightning, strong winds, trees or animals touching the power lines and even accidents involving these power lines.

So just how severe can voltage fluctuations be on your facility or electrical system?

Read on to find out.

Negative Effects of Voltage Fluctuations

The devastating consequences of voltage fluctuation can lead to the malfunction and destruction of your electrical machines and equipment…

 

Costing you a huge sum of money to replace your high value equipment. When the voltage applied is too high, it can cause several horrifying reactions in your electrical systems. And, if the voltage applied to the system is too low, it is possible that your electrical equipment cannot function at the expected load.

 

This causes the important parts in your equipment to get damaged because the current tends to increase in the circuit. Your wires might lose their general strength and this can cause a short circuit – leading to extreme fire hazards in your workplace.

So, here are 5 detrimental effects of Voltage Fluctuation that you absolutely need to be aware of:

Inconsistent lighting

Fluctuations can cause lights to glow brighter or dimmer, and even computer screens to flicker.

Torque and slip

This causes excessive vibration in motors, reducing mechanical strength and shortening in their motor life.

Equipment overheating

Power surges might cause transformers to burn, causing electrical equipment to malfunction.

Loss of priceless data

Television and radios might experience interruptions. Some computer systems may lose data.

Extreme damage to electrical and telephone networks

More serious cases have caused the breakdown of electrical appliances and result in a complete power failure.

Picture yourself in any of the above scenarios and you’ll know how frustrating it can get.

 

Flickering lights, customers or shareholders complaining because of the delay in production, equipment failure, or even worse… Total power failure in your facility.

 

Imagine how expensive it would be to fix all these problems. How can you stop yourself from being in that situation?

 

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.

 

So can you prevent something like this from happening? Let’s read on to find out…

How Can I Check and Reduce Voltage Fluctuations?

Now that you understand the why’s and how’s of Voltage Fluctuation…

 

You’re wondering how you can effectively check and reduce voltage fluctuations in your electrical systems (the reason why you’re here).

 

Electrical experts have found 2 main ways to solve this:

  1. Conventional Solutions to Reduce Voltage Fluctuations
  2. Adaptive & Cost-effective Solutions

Conventional Solutions:

Increasing the fault level at the point of connection

Strengthening the system or reconnecting the offending load at a higher voltage level can achieve this.

Decrease the reactive power flow through the network due to the load

Achieved through the use of a Static Var Compensator (SVC) which helps reduce voltage fluctuations.

Strengthening the network reactive power compensation

A larger number of smaller capacitor banks distributed throughout a system allows a finer tuning of reactive power requirements

Adaptive & Cost-Effective Solutions:

Analysing Voltage Anomalies with MeterTrac Solution:

Cloud monitoring and live electrical data systems provide you with instantaneous information of your power supply. 

 

With visual analysis from power tracking, you can transform mountains of energy data into meaningful presentations for precise energy management. 

 

Award-winning Australian company MeterTrac offers a wide range of Smart Multi-Channel Analysers that are able to identify voltage drops. The MeterTrac MVC230-600 Analyser continuously monitors over 64,000 measurements, calculations and analytic algorithms performed over every 5 minute period.

MeterTrac power monitoring systems sample over 50 power parameters every 500 milliseconds, enabling users to signal and record voltage drops. Power alarms and alerts will be emailed or sent by SMS straight to you.

 

The measurement device is equipped with a web browser that offers the facility to call up the most important parameters directly from the measurement device without great investment and without complex software programs.

 

The voltage fluctuations can be analysed and compiled into reports.

 

All you need to do is simply open up an interactive dynamic dashboard to view the live data on the web, almost anywhere.

 

Essentially, by arranging the MeterTrac MVC230-600 Analyser in the supply field…

 

You would have a comprehensive and cost-effective overview for identifying, recording, alerting and reporting voltage fluctuations. 

 

Suspect something’s wrong with your power quality? The MeterTrac system exposes hidden risks in your power supply.

 

Next up, is how you actually eliminate voltage fluctuations and become the Facility Hero your business needs…

automatic voltage stabiliser

Stabilising Voltage Fluctuation with Ashley-Edison AVR Solutions:

Now, you may have heard about Automatic Voltage Regulators (AVR) as a practical and cost-effective solution to your voltage fluctuations…

 

But what functions do they actually serve in your facility and how will they benefit you?

 

Automatic Voltage Regulators are preferred by many engineers to protect high value and mission-critical equipment.

 

These AVRs safeguard your facility equipment and sensitive electronics against harmful voltage anomalies such as fluctuations and voltage surges that can cause permanent damage and reduce the lifespan of your equipment.

An Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR) is a powerful voltage control equipment, designed to turn unstable incoming voltage into constant and reliable voltage supply – delivered straight to your load.

Here’s why an AVR is needed to completely crush harmful voltage fluctuations:
If the voltage at the load end is not maintained at a constant fixed rate, your equipment’s operational performance can be negatively affected.

And you don’t want that to happen because…
Your electrical equipment and machinery will suffer from an unregulated and unstable incoming voltage supply risking unplanned downtime in your facility.

And because these AVRs are used to automatically regulate your voltage supply…

The incoming voltage supply will be corrected to your desired set output voltage level almost instantly.

How Does An Automatic Voltage Regulator Work?

Put simply, the AVR continuously takes low or high input voltage ranges, and effectively compensates for the voltage fluctuations, with the additional benefit of maintaining a balanced, constant output voltage to your load.

An efficient AVR directly relates to the performance and longevity of your equipment.

This effectively ensures that your voltage output delivered to your equipment is clean and consistent in its load current – even if voltage fluctuations occur in the background.

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Optimising Your Equipment’s Performance & Reliability

Automatic Voltage Regulators stabilise incoming voltage supplies to suit your facility’s exact needs with eagle eye precision. And because your uptime is a #1 priority..

 

Here’s a list of the benefits you’re getting with Ashley-Edison(UK) Automatic Voltage Regulators installed in your electrical system:

UltraFast Regulating Response Time ( <1.5ms )

Ensuring regulated voltage levels are consistently fed to your equipment, regardless of how erractic the incoming voltage fluctuation is – no spikes, no surprises.

Precise Output Voltage Regulation ( ±0.5% Output Voltage Accuracy )

Giving you a peace of mind that your critical systems are receiving optimal voltage levels, maximise your equipments' healthy lifespan.

Wide Range of Power Ratings (Up to 3,500 KVA)

For huge power rating requirements, suitable for all industrial & commercial applications.

In short, Automatic Voltage Regulators are meant to keep your operations optimized at peak efficiency regardless of load change in your electrical system.

And with these powerful tools at your disposal, you’ll elevate your efficiency, regain your equipment’s performance, and best of all…

 

You successfully break free from the nightmare of harmful voltage fluctuations.

In Conclusion

Voltage fluctuation can be a major problem that can have lasting negative effects on your facility. 

 

In fact, it could very much be contributing to the possible equipment malfunctions or even unplanned downtime in your facility.

 

So it’s time to skip the guesswork, and finally eliminate voltage fluctuation with absolute precision and reliability.

 

These are time-tested solutions engineered to help you drastically improve your uptime and operational efficiency in your electrical system. 

 

If you’re looking for ways to liberate your facility from the limits of dreadful voltage fluctuations, drop us an email at sales@ashleyedison.com

 

We’ll be happy to provide you with more guides and even a customised voltage optimisation solution for your requirements.

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