Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) are often used on critical applications in remote locations. Examples of remote and critical VFD applications would be oil and gas pipelines, water treatment and pumping, and oil production. Remote monitoring of these units can be of paramount importance.
There are several reasons to remotely monitor a critical VFD. One is obvious, if the VFD trips or stops running, it’s essential that you know that at once. Many, if not most, critical VFD applications already have an alarm sensor of some sort in the event of a shutdown.
But what about a pending shut down? Wouldn’t it be nice to know about deteriorating conditions before the critical VFD actually trips off line?
Where we have seen this most often is in medium voltage VFDs. Medium voltage VFDs are almost always applied to critical applications, where a shutdown is costly.
A good remote monitoring system for a medium voltage VFD would look for deteriorating conditions within the VFD prior to shutdown, and notify the operator. It’s closely related to predictive maintenance.
Areas to monitor might be bus capacitor ripple (See Variable Frequency Drive ( VFD ) Bus Capacitors have a limited life span), input or output current imbalance, power supply deterioration, and other factors.
We’ve recently been modifying and using the Pqube3 system for this, and it has proven very useful. In coordination with the manufacturer, we have adapted these for use in medium voltage VFDs. The cost is low, and the installation is fairly easy. The Pqube3 can communicate via variety of methods, and can be customized for your system.
The PQube3 also serves as a power quality meter. This does a great job measuring power system harmonics. The PQube3 is able to measure voltage sags and swells helping customers decide if the VFD input power losses are due to the utility company or internal issues.
Unlike most power quality meters, no special software is required to connect to the PQube3. It can be accessed and programmed through any web browser.
The notifications can even be sent to the customer’s smartphone, tablet, or laptop. This feature has allowed EMA to remotely troubleshoot minor VFD failures for our customers and reduce unnecessary down-time as well as save on service call fees for a minor failure.
If you’d like to talk with us about a remote monitoring system for your critical application VFD, then call 770-448-4644 OR use any of the contact methods on the right of this page, including our live support feature.
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