Harmonics Case Study

food processing harmonics

Harmonics Case Study:
Secure Food Production by Mitigating Harmonics

Highly automized processes often contain VFDs, which cause harmonics in the power supply. This can affect machinery and can cause downtime in production lines. This was the case at a major food processing plant in Dortmund, Germany.


Harmonics profile before AHF

High harmonic current distortion
Large disturbance of production

The food processing plant is part of a federation of over 300 independent retail dealers and suppliers to approximately 540 grocery stores. The center is a 100.000 m² warehouse and distribution center with affiliated butcher. After the butcher was destroyed in a fire in 2009, it had been rebuilt and expanded in 2011 into an 18.000 m² large butcher shop. Since completion at the end of 2011, the new processing plant produces 250 tons of meat for the grocery stores and up to 25 tons of sausages every day. The new butcher shop contains state of the art logistics and meat processing systems.


The VFDs connected to the new meat cutter created typical current harmonics of a six-pulse-converter (5th, 7th, 11th, 13th, etc). These harmonics resulted in commutation notches in the voltage, which influenced the whole production process. The harmonics caused blackouts and disturbances to the lighting. It also influenced the sausage stuffing and caused long production stops disturbing the process flow. Occasionally up to half of the employees had to be sent home for the day due to disturbances in the process.

Harmonics profile after AHF

Low harmonic current distortion
No disturbance of production

Solution – Active Harmonic Filter with Harmonics Compensation

The food processing plant decided to use an Active Harmonic Filter to eliminate the problems in the power supply. The installed system consists of one filter with a capacity of 300 A harmonics compensation to provide the needed harmonic power for the meat cutter.


After the installation and a short commissioning, all disturbing harmonics were cancelled and the commutation notches disappeared. All meat cutters could now, for the first time, be started at the same time, without any effect on lighting or the sausage stuffing process.

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