Power Quality in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

The Situation and Problem

A major Canadian pharmaceutical company was experiencing frequent unplanned production stoppages which their management believed to be the result of poor electrical power quality. In the Pharmaceutical industry compressors and fans fed from variable speed drives (VSD) are essential to maintain positive air pressure, which is needed to reduce any contamination. Health rules (FDA) mandate that if an unplanned production stoppage occurs then products on the line must be scrapped, and equipment must be cleaned and resterilized before production can resume.

The Analysis and Diagnosis

The company had installed several power quality monitors throughout its facility, so it had several years of data on the electrical supply power quality. The plant is supplied at medium voltage 27.6kV to a transformer located inside the building which supplies an operational voltage of 600V to production areas. Omniverter was invited to help the company find a suitable solution to correct the voltage sags and improve production. Analysis of the data showed that over a 5 year period there had been only one power outage but many voltage sags. Omniverter was able to calculate the depth of voltage sags that cause a production stoppage.

The Solution

To address the issue of voltage sags impacting production, Omniverter recommended the installation of a 5MVA 600V Active Voltage Conditioner (AVC). This unit was to be installed in line between the transformer output and the building's input terminals. Due to space constraints within the building and the absence of suitable ground space, a unique outdoor solution was proposed. Omniverter designed a specialized, thermally insulated and air-conditioned steel structure to be mounted on the building's roof.

The Impact and ROI

In its first 6 weeks of operation the AVC corrected 42 voltage sag events which would have caused production stoppages based on the company’s historic data Company management subsequently informed Omniverter that the complete installation had paid for itself in less than 3 months, including the cost of strengthening the existing building and all contractor costs. Following the success on this site the company has since ordered and installed a further similar outdoor AVC unit on a different production site

Do you have critical production where an unplanned stoppage can be very expensive? For FREE analysis of your power quality data Please call Omniverter. We will help you find a solution.

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