Case studies

Why are machine operation notifications important?

3 mins

Does a continuous power supply also mean that the quality is good? Are all cables the same, or can there be power losses in the cables? These questions are illustrated in the following case!

The quality of electricity can have a significant impact on the performance of electronic equipment and can lead to its failure.

A good example of this is that at higher voltage levels, conveyor belt motors may run at a faster speed, which can lead to a lack of synchronisation with the rest of the conveyor belt, resulting in malfunction or even damage or destruction of products. Voltage levels are also important in HVDC or small-scale solar power systems, as too high voltage levels will cause the inverters to stop working.

Repeated warnings from our Software drew attention to the phenomenon at our Partner's suburban site, where the voltage regularly falls below the standard level at the start of the shift, during the early hours of the morning.

Our client, a manufacturer of precision components, has a number of machines that are particularly sensitive to the quality of the current, and inadequate voltage levels can cause serious damage to both the machine and the products it manufactures.

At the Company, sub-metering does not take place at the main meter but at the end points, in front of the machines, so this phenomenon may result from internal cabling capacitance or cable crossing problems, or from the use of unsatisfactory quality current from the supplier. In the latter case, a claim for damages can be made against the supplier, but to prove this, a measurement with a properly accredited metering unit is required.

Sub-meters were installed at all major and critical consumers in the fleet, so that monitoring of consumption on the site was almost complete - totalling 34 metering points. The commissioning was carried out within 2 weeks of the contract being signed, without stopping the machines and with continuous operation - so the Company's production activities were not interrupted.

The sub-measuring points installed by Wenerate:

  • Data stored in the cloud at 5-minute intervals;
  • They can be installed under voltage, so they can be installed without disrupting production;
  • communicate independently of the site's local IT network; and
  • the data analysis software for the meters uses artificial intelligence for evaluation and possible alarms;
  • are accessible remotely from almost any mobile device.

Long-term measurements, which can be queried in the Wenerate software, show the typical current on a machine/cable and whether this corresponds to the physical current carrying capacity of the cable - which is related to the cable cross-section.

There were also some cables that experienced significant heating during operation during the site visit, which clearly indicates undersizing of the cable - this could be the reason for the lower voltage level at the end point. We have recommended replacing these cables with larger cross-sections or relocating the machines.

Due to the three-shift working schedule at our partner's site, the equipment can spend up to - 6000 hours a year on. The calculated heating loss per cable due to the cross-section could reach 1000 watts, i.e. a single cable could result in a loss of 6000 kWh/year, which is the annual electricity consumption of two small family houses. Several of the Company's equipment is sensitive to undervoltage - which can even cause equipment to malfunction - which can result in even greater cost losses.

Our software has several features that test the operation of the machines and send near-instant notification to the User of any abnormal operation that they are experiencing. Examples of these include the scanning of out-of-hours operation, or automations that monitor specific limits. Together, they provide our customers with remotely accessible information on the operation of business-critical machines.


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