PQFLOW FAQ

PQFLOW FAQs

What is a PQFLOW System?
PQFLOW systems are never off the shelf designs. Each PQFLOW project is engineered to address the specific power quality conditions identified during our testing process. Our goal is to build a facility-wide system that reduces line loss, mitigates harmonics, improves power factor, and stabilizes voltage. As each facility and power quality condition is different, so is each PQFLOW installation.

Why not buy individual power quality components to treat each Power Quality issue?
PQFLOW is not married to a single approach. PQFLOW equipment monitors the entire electrical circuit and corrects Power Quality issues in an aggregate manner. Meaning, no single point of treatment can act to the detriment of the others, thereby allowing the highest level of Power Quality and energy savings available.

The problem with installing individual capacitors, harmonic mitigating transformers, transient voltage surge suppressors (TVSS), and line filters is that none of these options takes into consideration the entire facility. Each acts independently for the single purpose by which it is designed at a single point. This can result in increased losses and Power Quality “gaps”.

How does PQFLOW verify energy savings?
PQFLOW follows DOE standards for project Measurement & Verification. Upon installation, our equipment is turned “on” and “off” throughout a production cycle while KW and KWH measurements are taken as close to the meter as possible. The resulting delta in energy consumption is then regressed using the previous year’s billing information. The difference in energy consumption with our equipment “on” vs. “off” is the savings.

Common Power Problems
Here are some of the most common power supply problems and their likely effect on sensitive equipment

Power Factor
Power Factor is a measure of how voltage and current are aligned. Low power factor is generally caused by oversized motors. Low power factor can increase line loss and trigger increased demand charges.
Possible Solutions: Capacitor Banks

Power Surges
A power surge takes place when the voltage is 110% or more above normal. The most common cause is heavy electrical equipment being turned off. Under these conditions, computer systems and other high tech equipment can experience flickering lights, equipment shutoff, errors or memory loss.
Possible Solutions: Surge Suppressors, Voltage Regulators, Uninterruptable Power Supplies

High-Voltage Spikes
High-voltage spikes occur when there is a sudden voltage peak of up to 6,000 volts. These spikes are usually the result of nearby lightning strikes, but there can be other causes as well. The effects on vulnerable electronic systems can include loss of data and burned circuit boards.
Possible Solutions: Surge Suppressors,Voltage Regulators, Uninterruptable Power Supplies

Transients
Transients are potentially the most damaging type of power quality disturbance that you may encounter. Transients fall into 2 categories. Impulsive and Oscillatory.
Possible Solutions: Surge Suppressors, Voltage Regulators, Uninterruptable Power Supplies

Frequency Variation
A frequency variation involves a change in frequency from the normally stable utility frequency of 60 Hz,. The most common cause is non-linear loads – Variable Frequency Drives, Lighting Ballasts, Digital Controls, etc. This may also be caused by erratic operation of emergency generators or unstable frequency power sources. For sensitive equipment, the results can be data loss, program failure, equipment lock-up or complete shut down. In any case it contributes significantly to energy loss within a facility.
Possible Solutions: Line reactors, harmonic mitigating transformers, active filters

Power Sag
A sag is the reduction of AC Voltage at a given frequency for the duration of 0.5 cycles to 1 minute’s time. Sages are usually caused by system faults, and often the result of switching on loads with high demand startup currents. For more details about power sags visit our newsletter archives.
Possible Solutions: Uninterruptable Power Supplies, Generators

Brownouts
A brownout is a steady lower voltage state. An example of a brownout is what happens during peak electrical demand in the summer, when utilities can’t always meet the requirements and must lower the voltage to limit maximum power. When this happens, systems can experience glitches, data loss and equipment failure.
Possible Solutions: Uninterruptable Power Supplies, Generators

Blackouts
A power failure or blackout is a zero-voltage condition that lasts for more than two cycles. It may be caused by tripping a circuit breaker, power distribution failure or utility power failure. A blackout can cause data loss or corruption and equipment damage.
Possible Solutions: Generators