ABB's Power Conversion business has released the PCS100 UPS-I and PCS100 AVC power protection devices. The AVC and UPS-I are inverter based systems that protect sensitive industrial loads from voltage sags and other voltage disturbances with fast, accurate regulation and load voltage compensation.
The AVC is effective in a wide range of manufacturing and industrial settings, and the UPS-I is specially designed for semiconductor fabrication and data center applications. The North American introduction of the products follows a successful launch in Europe and Asia.
Voltage sags and other voltage disturbances are common in industrial electricity supplies, accounting for up to 70% of all unscheduled production downtime, and resulting in expensive damage to equipment and product loss. The problem has increased in recent years as modern industrial facilities have installed more complex equipment such as PLCs, control relays, variable speed drives and robots that are more sensitive to voltage sags and resulting outages.
The main causes of voltage disturbances are usually natural, including lightening, wind, tree branches and animal interference; secondary causes include faults and switching events in the grid, construction errors and component failure. Sags often cause equipment to self-protect by switching off, which in a critical control operation can cause a slowdown, or a complete shutdown of a facility.
Voltage sag events, also known as a voltage dips or brownouts, are a reduction in the incoming voltage for a short period of time, typically less than 0.25 seconds. They are characterized by amplitudes below 90% of the nominal range. While not complete voltage interruptions, they are the most common industrial power quality problem, and are often deep enough to cause equipment control circuits to drop out and reset.
The consequences of sags for industrial operations include unexpected downtime, lost revenue wasted materials, poor product quality, equipment damage, and in the worst scenarios, injury to personnel. The aggregate cost of unreliable electricity to the US economy are approximately $160 billion annually, with the average premium grid manufacturing facility experiencing six to twenty significant voltage sags per year.
The cost of a single voltage sag ranges from several thousand to several million dollars or higher. In one high profile example, a voltage sag at a major Japanese electronics manufacturer caused a production disruption of a popular computer chip, resulting in a 20% drop in shipments for the following two months, curtailing the availability of many consumer electronic devices.