One of Canada’s largest manufacturers of innovative and sustainable packaging products was facing multiple transformer failures and production stops due to power quality issues at one of its many sites. The manufacturer needed to find a way to eliminate these recurring problems and troublesome interruptions. Multiple studies on power quality were performed by different contractors. Comsys Partner, ADM Engineering, was one of the companies performing power studies and providing analysis report.
The challenge facing ADM was to determine what was causing the periodic failures in the main transformers and to recommend a reliable remedy. Following site measurements and subsequent analysis of the data captured by ADM and Comsys, the root of the problem was identified. The culprit was the resonance caused by the interaction between the natural resonant frequency of the power system, tuned capacitor banks, and nonlinear loads. Based on these findings, ADM was able to recommend ADF as the only viable solution to the site’s persisting problems.
ADF P300 – Active Harmonic Filters engineered and assembled by ADM using PPM300 modules.
The ADF solution has been operating successfully since January 2020, eliminating resonance and harmonics as well as providing near unity power factor. Cost savings alone have amounted to around CAD 30,000 per month by eliminating harmonics and correcting the power factor. Increased uptime and productivity provide even more value.
- Mill power outage frequency significantly reduced
- Oil cooled transformer runs much cooler and requires less frequent oil changes
- Significantly reduced running temperature of several transformers
- Reduced nuisance trips and blown fuses of 600V switchgear
- Reduced saturation of feeding transformers, reduces voltage variations to nominal values
Current THD – before & after installing ADF
Power Factor – before & after installing ADF
Machine drives system supply voltages before active filters installation
Machine drives system supply voltages after active filters installation
Comsys has released a application note explaining the detailed advantages of using central filtering of many drives rather than installing separate low harmonic drives. A central active harmonic filter is often the cheapest and most efficient answer to maintain code compliance.
Read the report here: Global-vs-Local-Compensation_Application_Note
Comsys has supplied Active Harmonic Filters to multiple offshore supply vessels. Bourbon Offshore, one of the biggest operators of offshore service vessels is using active filtering on their Evolution series of MPSVs. Filtering is employed on the main busbar to comply with class regulations. For a full report on the project and the result see here:
Here is a great showcase of the effects of applying active harmonic filters on a cable car installation made by Power More in Vietnam. Ba Na Hills Mountain Resort are holders of three Guiness Records – Longest single rope cable car system, Longest distance between stations and Heaviest cable roll. For Ba Na Hills, power quality is a question of safety and service quality. With total harmonic distortion 5 times higher than the national regulated level, Ba Na Hills were facing several problems.
- Station to station communcation was interrupted
- Power factor penalties
- Damaged PFC capacitor units
- Inerference with PFC controller
- Reduced motor effeciency in generator mode to 50%
Applying ADF Power Tuning active filters from Comsys to battle both power factor correction and harmonic filtering resulted in:
- Eliminated risk of PFC failures
- Eliminated power factor penalties
- Increased motor efficiency to 100%
- Improved cable speed
Active Filtering just got simpler with Sensorless Control
Comsys has released a new solution for controlling the Active Harmonic
Filter. The sensorless active filter control reduces the cost and
complexity of the system as it does not require any current transformer
In this case study they describe the retrofit on a small diesel
electric powered oil tanker, Fox Luna. The sensorless active filtering
approach is well equipped for protecting sensitive loads from dirty grids.
When the 32 MW Kville wind power station was being built in Sweden, the local grid owner Fortum was looking for alternatives for inductive compensation. The long underground cable length cause a dynamic capacitive reactive power problem that normally is compensated using a large MV inductor. The inductor is very large and costly device at these sizes and Fortum wished to investigate other alternatives.
Comsys used its extensive knowledge from MV applications in applying its liquid cooled low voltage Active Filter with a step up transformer to create a 2,5 MVA STATCOM solution to solve the problem. If applied correctly, an active technology is very compact and flexible enabling high availability. Comsys liquid cooled modular design offers a high degree of redundancy and availability as the modules can be operated individually.
A further complication was the requirement to measure at the PCC on the 130 kV level so the Low Voltage ADF STATCOM worked through two step-up transformers. After extensive simulations by Comsys, the system was designed and supplied through the turn key integrator Siemens.
The active filters where installed in an existing building and the step-up transformer was installed outside, saving valuable indoor space and requiring no additional transformer cooling.
The solution dynamically compensates the capacitive reactive power and keeps it in line with the utility’s requirement. Due to the STATCOM following the load dynamically and observing both voltage and current, optimal grid conditions are ensured during all operating conditions.
The investment cost was reported to be lower than using the customized inductor solution proving the competitiveness of small active STATCOM versus passive options.
The ADF P700 STATCOM is a perfect solution in a dynamic environment such as wind farms. It is as cost effective and compact as a passive solution but with superior performance.
Danfoss used an Active Harmonic Filter to compensate the THD of their installed 960 kW of VFDs for thruster and refrigeration compressor on the fishing vessel Gitte Henning #8. The AHF ensured to keep the installation within class requirements. Read more at:
Harmonic Filter Restores Power Quality and Reduces Downtime Caused by Harmonics
Problems with power quality often become apparent through problems in production and surrounding equipment such as lighting.
This is what happened at one of the largest printers in Holland.
The printing company consists of two printing plants located in Amsterdam. The plant employs 170 people, producing six daily newspapers and several other free local papers and magazines. The plant prints up to 1 million papers every day with printing presses running almost nonstop.
Poor Power Quality – the Challenge
The printers had been struggling with power quality problems for many years. Flourescent lighting had to be changed continuously as the tubes kept failing. The electrical ballast had to be changed every six months instead of every 5 years. This kept one employee busy 2-3 days a week. In 2011 just the lighting problems and other broken components cost the printers about
300 000 €. In addition to these losses, the plant had power quality related problems during startup of the presses, which resulted in additional losses through production downtime.
Active Harmonic Filters – the Solution
The printing group decided on an investment in power quality and quite literally, a brighter future. Six harmonic filters with a total compensation current of 1800 A were installed to optimize the power grid and reduce harmonics.
Harmonic Filtering Gave Quick Results
Following installation and commisioning of the active harmonic filters all previous problems disappeared. The printing plant can nowuse their printing presses without disturbances from poor power quality. Due to the continuous stops in production and equipment failure, which had been a daily occurrance, the return on investment for the harmonic filtering system was very short.
Active Harmonic Filters Improve Dynamic Test-Bed
A major pioneer in the manufacturing industry caused problems on the power supply network with their dynamic test bed. Here, an installation of the right combination of active harmonic filters now compensates harmonics up to the 100th order with great results. Both harmonics and voltage notches are reduced to enable top performance of the equipment.
The test benches, owned by the development department of a major European production plant, are used to test components in the development phase. Varying test conditions can be programmed, which gives the test bench very dynamic properties.
Harmonics Compensation Challenge
The same transformer is connected to two parts of the test bench. With a very dynamic load whose load current amplitude can change from zero to maximum in approximately 100 ms, it was impossible to run both parts of the test bench simultaneously. The voltage notches of up to 25% in combination with very high harmonic disturbances prevented this. This caused serious delay in the testing facility as well as exceeding the limits in EN61000-2-4.
Active Harmonic Filters – the Solution
To solve the power quality issues, several active harmonic filters were installed to compensate the disturbances. Two 200/480V filters were installed together with one 100/480V filter that in combination compensate all frequencies up to the 100th harmonic order. The first two filters can be used to compensate lower harmonics while the third compensates for higher order harmonics and interharmonics. The three units were configured to share the
load with the 100/480V filter working on higher orders only. This resulted in extremely short response times and considerably lowered load disturbances.
Harmonics Compensation – the Result
Thanks to the active harmonic filter installation, voltage notches could be reduced to 10%. In addition, harmonics were lowered to the required level stipulated in EN61000-2-4. Now, both test benches can be run simultaneously without any of the problems caused by poor power quality.