Insights from industry

Voltage Conditioning for Sag Correction

Andrew Hiscock, Power Conditioning Sales Manager at ABB, talks to AZoM about the PCS100 AVC-40 Active Voltage Conditioner for sag correction in commercial and industrial applications.

What applications has the PCS100 AVC-40 been developed for?

We designed the PCS100 AVC-40 Active Voltage Conditioner for sag correction in commercial and industrial applications. It provides fast, accurate voltage sag and surge correction, protecting equipment from power quality events on the supply network. It’s specially designed for installation in harsh electrical environments.

What are the most common voltage problems found in modern power networks and how does this system resolve them?

Even the most modern power networks have power quality issues with voltage sags being the most common event, and the main cause of equipment malfunction in today’s automated industry.

Our customers typically experience voltage sags caused by external factors such as high winds, snow and ice build-up, traffic accidents and construction works and, to a limited degree the internal factory environment, for example inadequate building wiring, incorrect grounding or large loads sharing the same circuits.

What advantages does the PCS100 AVC-40 offer in industrial and large commercial applications compared to other systems available?

Its industrial design and rugged overload capability means it can handle harsh electrical conditions that other voltage conditioners can’t, such as regenerative loads. It also contains a redundant internal bypass mechanism that ensures the load continues to be supplied from the utility in case of a fault within the unit itself.

How efficient is the system and what cost savings benefits are there?

The cost of ownership for a PCS100 AVC-40 systems is very low thanks to its industry-leading efficiency of over 98 percent, and the fact that air conditioning is not mandatory which results in additional savings.

Also, as it draws energy required to make up the correction voltage from the utility supply, there are no ongoing maintenance and replacement costs typically associated with batteries meaning there is a fast return on investment.

Many industries struggle for space onsite. How does the PCS100 AVC-40 accommodate this issue?

As the PCS100 AVC-40 has a small footprint (with in industry-leading power density of 470kVA / m2) it can be easily fitted into equipment rooms or confined spaces, eliminating the need to design and build additional floor space. Its modular design also means it can be easily moved into position on site.

What industries are currently using these systems and are there any emerging markets that are starting to benefit from the PCS100 AVC-40?

We’re seeing growth across all sectors, for example our traditional base industry – semiconductor – is growing rapidly with continued investment by existing customers, and we’re regularly gaining orders from new customers in that sector.

The general manufacturing sector is more aware of power quality and the costs of power quality impact on their business than ever before, so our industrial base of customers is expanding almost daily.

The medical industry, be it pharmacology or medical imaging for diagnosis, is also growing for us.

Are there any recent case studies that you are particularly proud of?

We recently installed a PCS100 AVC-40 system at the Takanini facility of Fonterra, the world’s largest exporter of dairy products. Fonterra is a global, co-operatively-owned company headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand and can be found in over 100 countries.

The production lines are sensitive to voltage sags and short term outages. When this happens there is no guarantee the milk is sterilized for consumer use, so disposal or re-processing of the milk is required. A sterilization process takes around four hours to complete. An event like this across seven production lines, costs Fonterra 28 hours of downtime and around $50,000 in costs.

Fonterra has suffered five power quality events since the installation of the PCS100 AVC. According to Fonterra, the cost savings of these five events have already paid back their investment in a period of less than four months, something they are delighted about, and of which we’re very proud.

The full story is available on ABB’s website.

What support does ABB offer users once the system is installed?

We can supply a trained Service Engineer to fully install and commission the PCS100 AVC-40 on your site, and also deliver operator training on the product during the visit. Full Commissioning has the advantage of providing a customer-specific set of parameters in a Service log which we then save at the factory and to use at any time to reconfigure your unit, if needed.

A comprehensive range of spare parts for the PCS100 AVC-40 is available for order from your local ABB unit. They are ordered online and dispatched from holding facilities around the world to ensure you receive the parts quickly, limiting any impact on your operations.

While the PCS100 AVC-40 requires only low levels of regular maintenance, the fans and other components need to be checked periodically to ensure ongoing reliability of the system. Scheduled maintenance and report checking can be organised by your local ABB team.

ABB also offers full end-of-life services including options around upgrades and replacements to ensure your plant continues to be protected long after your current unit has reached end of life. Software and hardware upgrades are also available as required to extend the life and functionality of your PCS100 AVC-40 system.

Where can our readers learn more?

You can find more information, including technical data, key applications, case studies and a video showcasing the PCS100 AVC-40 on ABB’s website.

About Andrew Hiscock


Andrew Hiscock

Andrew is an Electrical Engineer with 25 years’ experience in the electrical industry. Andrew initially worked in the commercial and light industrial sector, including small scale mining operations and Building Management Systems.

Andrew spent the next 15 years in the fields of training, application engineering, and product management for AC motor controllers for two large power electronics companies.

From there Andrew moved to Vectek, a speciality power electronics company which was subsequently purchased by ABB. Andrew's initial role was Customer Support Engineer and Sales Development in Singapore and Malaysia.  After that, Andrew transferred to ABB China for a three-year contract, based in Shanghai, to grow the Power Protection business in China and Asia.

Andrew then returned to New Zealand to take up the position of Sales Manager for Power Conditioning products.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.

Stuart Milne

Written by

Stuart Milne

Stuart graduated from the University of Wales, Institute Cardiff with a first-class honours degree in Industrial Product Design. After working on a start-up company involved in LED Lighting solutions, Stuart decided to take an opportunity with AZoNetwork. Over the past five years at AZoNetwork, Stuart has been involved in developing an industry leading range of products, enhancing client experience and improving internal systems designed to deliver significant value for clients hard earned marketing dollars. In his spare time Stuart likes to continue his love for art and design by creating art work and continuing his love for sketching. In the future Stuart, would like to continue his love for travel and explore new and exciting places.


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