May 15, 2020

Prevention is better than cure: why should your business monitor power quality?


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On August 9, 2019, a lightning storm caused blackouts across parts of the UK. Although the blackout lasted for less than an hour, around one million people were affected. In light of this event, John Mitchell, global sales & marketing director at supply, installation and repair specialist CP Automation, explains why modern power protection is essential for your facility.

The lightning storm caused major disruption across England, Wales and some parts of Scotland. Even though all customers were restored within 45 minutes — the knock-on impact to services were significant. Rail services for example, experienced major delays for 48 hours following the event. Unfortunately, this lightning storm isn’t a freak one-off, nor are lightning storms the only cause of blackouts.

Transients, interruptions, harmonics, swells, dips, sags and unbalance. These are just some of the power quality problems that can have devastating effects for industrial businesses. Power quality deviations may originate within the source of supply, load equipment or from interactions between the source and the load.

While utilities are finding ways to decrease the number of outages and restore power quickly by improving the reliability and resilience of the grid, what can businesses do to safeguard their operations? Effective power system protection and power quality monitoring can take different forms but should protect your business from downtime, data loss and equipment damage.

Preventing downtime
Downtime can lead to production loss, which is financially disabling for any business, especially in an industrial environment where businesses are under pressure to increase the efficiency of their operations. Preventing downtime should therefore be a priority for businesses of all sizes. Power outages are a major cause of downtime and, unfortunately, they’re on the rise. Businesses can however take steps to diminish the impact of power outages, by installing an uninterruptible power supply (UPS).
 
A UPS is designed to provide a secondary or backup power in the event of loss of utility power. The first step in implementing a new UPS system, is establishing whether a facility requires a single- or 3-phase UPS. Generally, loads of 20kVA or less can safely use a single-phase UPS, whereas larger loads will likely need a 3-phase UPS. The rating of the UPS will be determined by the type of supply, the load being drawn by the system (kVa value) and the supply voltage.

Preventing data loss
Data is a powerful business tool, so preventing data loss should be high on every business’s agenda. Data loss can happen due to human error, hardware malfunctions and also through power failure. There are a few things your business can do to manage this scenario. Firstly, make sure that offsite data backups are available. Secondly, invest in a reliable surge protection device (SPD) and a UPS system. This may prove valuable in preventing a forced shutdown, providing valuable additional minutes to retrieve data.

Protecting equipment from premature failure
There’s more to power protection than preventing power outages. The sine wave has remained the same since the late 1800s, however the sensitivity of the equipment that is connected to the grid has dramatically increased. Transient surges and harmonic distortion are two common power quality issues.

A basic SPD and a variable frequency drive (VFD) may be used in conjunction to mitigate the damaging impact of high-power surges. However, even with basic surge protection, many facilities are still faced with some machine breakdowns due to low level switching transient events.

Transient surges are a brief change in voltage frequency that occur thousands of times a day but are very damaging to electrical equipment. The additional peaks and troughs in the sine wave caused by transients results in confusion to sensitive devices such as industrial computers, or CNC machines. Some facilities may believe that built-in surge protection adequately protects their equipment, however the built-in protection is not doing enough to protect valuable systems and prevent false zero crossings caused by transients.

Consider this as an example. High power electrical devices such as elevators and air conditioning systems or components like compressors and motors, require large amounts of energy to turn on and off. This switching creates a sudden and short demand for power, which can deviate from the normal voltage flow in the electrical system. If adequate protection is not in place, over time this can lead to premature wear of components and in severe cases, can lead to immediate component failure.

Similarly, the damage caused by harmonics can seriously impact equipment service life. The thermal stress on components can cause excessive wear and premature failure. The rise of non-linear loads in industrial environments has resulted in the growing problem of harmonic currents. The most common symptoms include voltage notching, motor vibration, arcing on bearings, nuisance tripping, electromagnetic interference (EMI/RFI) and overheating.

So, how can this be combated? Harmonic filters monitor the network and inject the necessary amount of compensation current at any given time, which restores current waveform and lowers current consumption. This makes the devices ideal for installations in which current load changes constantly, such as in IT applications and data centres.

What next?
Due to rapid advancements in equipment, varied approaches to the identification and mitigation of power quality issues have arisen. This has led to some facilities using setups which are outdated and no longer fit for purpose.

So, how do you decide which power quality products you need? Performing a site audit is a good place to start. This will identify the power quality problems that are plaguing your facility, so that you can choose the right surge protectors, harmonic filters and power quality analysers to mitigate damage.

Whether facility managers choose to completely update their power protection devices, or enhance what they already have, monitoring the electrical characteristics in your facility can result in less downtime, limit data loss and protect valuable equipment from damage.

CP Automation offers a range of products and services to tackle power quality problems. Its four point Mission to MARS service: measure, analyse, report, solve, offers a complete power quality service from site measurements to product installation. Visit www.cpaltd.net for further information.

February 07, 2020

A powerful partnership against harmful harmonics and surges


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Industrial parts supplier CP Automation, has partnered with instrumentation specialist, Chauvin Arnoux to distribute its industry leading test and measurement products to the European market. This partnership will equip both customer bases with a full power quality service, from the identification to the mitigation of harmful power quality issues.

Power quality disturbances is an area of growing concern in UK industry, caused by load switching, system faults, motor starting and load variations. Combining Chauvin Arnoux’s wide range of power and energy quality analysers and data loggers, with CP Automation’s expertise in treating harmful harmonics and surges with its extensive range of active and passive filters, businesses will be better equipped to protect valuable assets.

“CP Automation is an extremely professional organisation offering high-quality service for the mitigation of mains supply issues,” explained Julian Grant, general manager at Chauvin Arnoux, UK. “Our range of high-quality industry leading products are designed to identify, measure and record power supply issues such as transient voltages, harmonics, power factor, as well as many other parameters, and so CP Automation is a perfect partner.

“It is often the case that using one of our test instruments, customers will discover they have harmonic issues, or production line outages due to transients, but then require assistance in resolving the issues. While we have always been willing to give sound advice, we now have a partner that can provide a much higher level of support and offer a remedial service.”

“Detecting a power quality issue in a facility is the first step to protecting equipment, improving process reliability and reducing downtime,” explained John Mitchell, global sales & marketing director at CP Automation. “Chauvin Arnoux has over 125 years’ experience in the design and manufacture of high-quality test and measurement devices, so share our power quality expertise. Customers can now come to us for a complete end-to-end power quality service, knowing that they’re receiving industry leading products and expert advice.”

CP Automation now supplies Chauvin Arnoux product lines such as power and energy loggers, power quality analysers, HV insulation testers, earth/ground testers, micro-ohmmeters and portable oscilloscopes, along with an extensive range of multimeters and current clamps.


For more information about this new partnership, or CP Automation’s full range of industrial products visit cpaltd.net or e-mail sales@cpaltd.net.

January 07, 2020

UPSs and SPDs: A powerful duo in the fight against power outages


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Batman and Robin, Mario and Luigi, Wallace and Gromit. In film, the role of the sidekick is crucial in aiding the protagonist to achieve their overall goal. In the fight against power outages we explain the necessity of protecting uninterruptable power supply (UPS) systems with a surge protection device (SPD) that accounts for transient surges.

The role of a UPS is to provide a secondary or backup power in the event of loss of utility power. The UPS protects electrical and electronic systems, process controllers and data against the loss of the primary power source.

A common misconception is that SPDs are unnecessary due to the built-in protection already provided by UPS systems themselves. The downside of this "built in" suppression is that the typical UPS, if subjected to a line to ground transient, may allow a significant amount of the transient downstream to the loads.

Transient protection should exist at the input to all electronic loads and the UPS is no exception. This is where SPDs come in, to prevent excess voltage appearing at the terminals of sensitive equipment. Integrating one of these devices into a systems architecture, ensures the life of the UPS and importantly any equipment to which the UPS is supplying power.

High voltage surges are normally covered by surge protectors. However, traditional SPDs do not account for low level transient surges. These transient surges in the sine wave are very damaging to electrical equipment, as the additional peaks and troughs in the sine wave cause confusion to sensitive devices and machines downstream. Transient surges can lead to false zero crossings of the sine wave — the instantaneous point at which there is no voltage present.

During maintenance and downtime on the UPS, the SPD will filter out the transients and surges from the line during the static by-pass mode or maintenance by-pass mode of operation, protecting the connected computer equipment from damage.

However, not all SPD technology is the same. The SineTamer cascade system for example, offers much more than a standard surge protection device. It is an engineered transient disturbance filter, designed to monitor all 360 degrees of the sine wave. Using 360-degree monitoring, the device can prevent issues caused by false zero crossings of the sine wave.

If an organisation has already committed to investing in sophisticated computer equipment and a UPS unit to protect against power outages, the investment in an SPD is minimal by comparison and a very natural progression. The benefits of this additional protection can be significant, resulting in fewer maintenance problems and less downtime, which can reap havoc for businesses.

While a UPS may function on its own, the SPD is a reliable and necessary sidekick, providing complementary functions in the fight against power failure problems.

Understanding the vital differences between SPD technology can be key to protecting your devices. For more information about CP Automation’s SineTamer product offering or alternative surge protection devices, please visit www.cpaltd.net.

May 31, 2019

Launch of compact power quality filter


We have introduced the new Comsys ADF P25 small compact active filter to our supply range. This ultra-compact filter addresses recurring power quality issues in industry for applications where space is at a premium.

Power quality is a growing concern for utility providers, manufacturers and data centres. The more advanced technology in today’s facilities is putting higher demand on the electrical grid, making machinery particularly susceptible to power quality issues and unexplained equipment malfunctions and stoppages.

This coincides with the dwindling space in today’s facilities — there often isn’t room for a bulky power filter. Improved space optimisation for this equipment enables higher production volumes in the same footprint, saving business huge sums of money in floorspace.

“We have taken 20 years of know-how in high power active harmonic filters and built the most robust small size active harmonic filter on the market,” explained Rickard Jacobson of Comsys.

The Comsys ADF P25 addresses the need for an ultra-compact power filter, without compromising on protection. It filters a variety of electrical disturbances, including transients and harmonics, which could go on to cause overheated transformers, nuisance tripping and non-compliance with grid codes.

“Our customers are attempting to maximise on every inch of floor space,” explained John Mitchell of CP Automation. “At the same time, they are also optimising energy efficiency and proactively protecting machinery from unnecessary downtime. Luckily for them, the ADF P25 offers the same performance as its big brothers, the ADF P300 or ADF P100, but in a much smaller size.

“The filter is suitable for new build facilities or as part of a retrofit approach and it is compatible with all three-phase low voltage applications. To get the filter commissioned, all that is needed is a laptop with an ethernet port and recent web browser. Investing in this is a no-brainer to save on footprint, downtime and parts replacement costs.”

The ADF P25, as with the other Comsys products that CP Automation supplies, are engineered and manufactured in Sweden to extremely high standards. The expert engineering has enabled several ADF P25s to be combined, offering modular and scalable design as facilities increase power demands.


For more information on CP Automation’s range of ADF filters in stock, or to discuss a small-footprint automation project that depends on high power quality, email sales@cpaltd.net.  

February 01, 2019

Third time’s a charm


Industrial supply and repair specialist, CP Automation, has been named as Roxburgh EMC’s distributor of the year for the third time. The award reinforces the strong alliance between both businesses and highlights the importance of effective supply and distribution in today’s competitive industrial climate.

CP Automation has been a distributor for Roxburgh EMC for six years, stocking over 80 industrial filter lines, including three phase, neutral products and high current single-phase ranges. The business has previously taken home Roxburgh EMC’s distributor of the year award in 2015 and 2016, making the most recent win a hattrick.

“The recognition reinforces our long-standing partnership with Roxburgh EMC,” explained John Mitchell, global sales and marketing director at CP Automation. “The company's products are reliable, UK manufactured and have excellent lead times, which helps us do what we do best — provide customers with effective problem-solving products.

“For this reason, we’ve recently stocked up on Roxburgh EMC 820 Amp mains filters to extend our range of three phase filters for cranes, escalators and HVAC systems. With this a huge focus sector of our business, we look forward to another great twelve months.”

“CP Automation stocks an extensive range of our industrial filters. They thoroughly deserve the Distributor of the Year award,” commented Tom Downing, product manager of Roxburgh EMC. “Throughout 2018, they once again showed exceptional sales performance and dedication to the brand by offering valuable EMC solutions and technical advice to their customers.

“Our partnership with CP Automation has strengthened our brand and enabled Roxburgh EMC to enter new markets. We presented this award to them in recognition of their commitment and effort. We have enjoyed working with CP Automation and we look forward to celebrating more success in the near future.”

The alliance has never been so important, with the office for national statistics announcing steady growth for the construction, manufacturing and production industry. With high-stakes projects taking place in all sectors, it’s vital that filtering and protection devices are readily available, so that timelines are met without the common problems associated with poor power quality.

For more information about CP Automation and the range of Roxburgh EMC products available for supply and installation, please visit www.cpaltd.net or email john.mitchell@cpaltd.net. 

January 17, 2019

Precise alignment for tissue converting


Industrial sales and repair specialist, CP Automation, has introduced the Re Spa web guiding (WG) series to its product portfolio. These intelligent retrofit parts are set to solve common problems for tissue, aluminium foil, paper and plastic film manufacturing and processing plants, by offering precise alignment of web winding and consistent printing and cutting processes.

Effective alignment from the unwinder to the rewinder is a must for any converting businesses wanting to increase productivity and product quality. Re Spa’s web guiding systems are an ideal retrofit option that can be added directly to the existing system’s unwinder, to guarantee a fast and accurate correction of material position.

The Re Spa WG705 web guiding product is designed for reels up to 600mm in width, while the WG2003 suited to reels larger than 600mm. Both are fitted with ultrasonic sensors that feedback the position of the material to the web guiding controller, which sends a correction signal to the roller to reposition the material accordingly.

A further source of frustration for converting is the alignment of the web prior to folding after the cutting process has taken place. At this point, the web is smaller, so there is less room for error. The material must therefore be perfectly aligned on the roller in order to create precisely central folds. The WG705 offers easy pre-folding alignment correction, guaranteeing a precise fold in the middle of the product.

“Re Spa has identified a clear need for this product in the converting industry,” explained Tony Young, director of CP Automation. “Factories in all industries are becoming smarter, and tissue, film and foil processing and manufacture certainly won’t get left behind. Alignment issues don’t need to be a costly or recurring problem anymore, as these devices from Re Spa are now available for post-unwinding and post-cutting precision.

“Businesses that have retrofitted these parts are already reducing their production waste, reducing time spent on setup and increasing print quality.”

For more information on CP Automation’s Re Spa product range, visit the CP Automation website and Re SpA website, or e-mail sales@cpaltd.net.  

December 14, 2018

Uncharted territory

Supply, installation and repair specialist, CP Automation is undergoing radical changes to the structure of its business, to manage the rapid growth in its international markets. To enable business growth across EMEA and America, John Mitchell has been promoted to global sales & marketing director. 

Mitchell joined CP Automation in 2011 as global business development manager. He was tasked with developing CP Automation’s product portfolio and breaking into new market territories.  His role at CP Automation has enabled the company to install downtime reducing solutions all over the world.

The new director-level role adds a new depth to Mitchell’s work, who will now be responsible for managing CP Automation’s growing international market.

“This promotion has been entirely organic,” said Tony Young, director of CP Automation. “It is not only a way of showing gratitude for John’s success over the last seven years, but meets a crucial business need for CP Automation, as we build on new product portfolios and territories.   

“Breaking new markets requires agility and adaptability, and this internal promotion will set us up to continue our upwards trajectory. John has a unique ability to anticipate and deliver what a particular market needs and prepare for this ahead of demand. For unfamiliar territories, this will be integral to our success”

In the last few years, Mitchell has been involved in various international projects for CP Automation. This includes the installation of 14 sine filters for a Namibian water project, UPS and harmonic filters for power stations and even high-power motors for earthquake simulation machines.

To further facilitate growth at CP Automation, the company has recently begun recruiting for five new positions. These vacancies are for sales engineers to drive the uptake of CP Automation’s power transmission, power quality and repair services.

CP Automation’s portfolio includes active and passive harmonic filters, brake choppers, rectifiers, regen units, DC to DC converters, EMC filters, line and motor chokes, sine filters, AC and DC motors, and surge protection devices to its offering. The company is also developing its material handling and crane portfolio.


For more information on CP Automation’s services, partnerships or vacancies, e-mail sales@cpaltd.net.