Customer Building PQ & EMI Investigations

What are Customer Building PQ & EMI Investigations?

Every user of electricity must operate, manage & maintain their building electrical system (BES). BESs were designed based on historical electrical principles over 100 years old. The safe operation of BESs is based on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)’s National Electrical Code (NEC) – NFPA 70. Written by insurance companies & updated every three years, the NEC is an old standard strictly designed to help customers avoid electrical fires & shock associated with the use, maintenance & repair of their electrical systems & equipment. The NEC does not address power quality for BESs or for electrical & electronic equipment.
All electronic devices & systems generate radiated (into the air) & conducted (through conductors & other metal (pipes, steel, plenums, etc.)) emissions (occurring anywhere from 1 kHz to GHz frequencies) that can cause other electronic devices & systems to malfunction. Problematic electrical components in BESs can also generate emissions impacting electronic devices & systems. In some cases, PQ & EMI problems occur simultaneously to impact customer systems & equipment.

water treatment system

Customer facility PQ & EMI investigations are necessary, so the causes of system & equipment problems can be understood, identified, solved & prevented. PBE already understands how, why, when & where they occur. The only thing left to do is engage a PBE field engineering team to comb through a customer’s building electrical system to find & document the problems causing your electrical & electronic equipment to experience malfunctions, damage & failures.

Electrical worker wearing arc flash suit protection is used to draw out a large circuit breaker.
Female Electrician with protective clothing performing work in an energized panel
Test box for inject high voltage into electrical equipment for testing insulation resistance between electrical part with earth or grounding system. Selective focus at Technician hand
Electrical high voltage ground bar

PBE uses a custom proven process to comb through customer’s electrical systems & document the wiring & grounding (W&G) as well as equipment operational problems that cause PQ problems to develop & occur. Identifying the problems takes a well-trained eye & many years of experience combined with the use of the right PQ monitoring instruments & correct PQ data analysis / interpretation as well as other specialized hand-held PQ measurement devices. Experienced PQ engineers at PBE have the expertise to link the problems they find & the data they record with the equipment problems occurring. This allows PBE to unravel the chain of events to determine why customers are experiencing the problems they have to deal with every day.

Unfortunately, most customers exhaust every other avenue to determine the cause of their PQ problems. Customers find that after days, weeks, months & even years, they’ve not been able to determine the cause(s) of the PQ problems that keep costing them money or the solutions to resolve & prevent them. This is evidenced by continued system & equipment problems. This costs customers good money which, if applied towards having a PQ investigation done, would cost less than all of the other exhaustive efforts combined. The knowledge, expertise & experience of PBE Engineers allows investigations to be priced so they are affordable for customers. Methods of covering the cost of an investigation of a building (or a fleet of buildings) are available to customers who commit to having PBE help them deal with incoming power quality, improve their internal building PQ & equipment performance as well as maintain the building electrical system & the equipment it operates.

Another common pitfall to avoid is agreeing to purchase a PQ mitigation device(s) or system(s) without fully understanding the PQ phenomenon causing the system or equipment problem. Most companies who offer PQ investigative services manufacturer or have mitigation equipment to sell, and their focus is on selling the equipment before the needed investigative work has been done. PBE has helped customers who previously spent tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars on mitigation equipment to find their problems did not go away. Some even found their PQ problems got worse.

With PBE’s commitment to professionalism & quality, our engineers will always be honest with our customers & involve the right parties (utility, facility designer, manufacturer, installer, service organization, etc.) to help gather the facts necessary to get to the bottom of why specific PQ problems are occurring in a customer facility. Electronic loads are difficult enough to keep running on standard 60-Hertz facility electrical systems. Customers don’t have the money to waste on trying to band-aid PQ problems. PBE is dedicated to helping as many customers as possible since every customer experiences PQ-related equipment problems at some point. Contact PBE to discuss the nature & history of your system & equipment problems for help.