Need to cut electricity costs?

Fluke’s 1730 energy logger paints a complete picture of your plant’s energy use, and where it’s wasted.

February 28, 2014   by Matt Powell, Assistant Editor

There’s not a lot you can do about the high price of electricity, but a good place to start aside from operating outside peak hours, is to use less of it.

Fluke Corp., a manufacturer of industrial instrumentation based in Everett, Wash., says its 1730 three-phase energy logger will help your plant do that, and a few other important things besides. Some of the benefits were detailed during its September Tech Talk webinar series. Chief among them are easier identification of waste, plus more accurate profiling of consumption, all of which will contribute to savings derived from programs offered by utilities that reward reduced energy use.

The session, featuring Fluke USA’s public relations manager and host Leah Friberg with guests Frank Healy, a power quality specialist at Fluke and Tony Simon, an energy systems engineer from Washington State University’s Energy Extension program, ran through the 1730’s capabilities.

For example, it discovers when and where energy is consumed at specific points, comparing multiple data points over time to build a complete energy profile and the potential for savings.

Voltage, current, power and power factor are measured to optimize energy savings strategies, a colour touch screen simplifies in-the-field analysis and data checks, and comprehensive logging stores more than 20 separate sessions.

All measured values are logged and reviewed automatically. Common setup errors are rectified, through re-engineered cables, digital check and auto-correct of all connections.

The software analyzes energy or load profiles, including zoom-in and zoom-out on details; adds comments, pictures and other information to data; overlays different logging sessions; creates reports; and exports measurement results.

The unit is secured safely inside electrical panels, its four-hour operating time powered by a lithium-ion battery. Two USB ports, one for a PC connection and another for fast downloads to standard thumb drives, are included. And an advanced auto-correct feature eliminates costly errors because of improper connections.

As for safety, optimized current and voltage accessories minimize the time a user spends inside live electrical panels.

Monitoring opportunities
A Fluke study identifies four “opportunities” resulting from energy monitoring.

For instance, when evaluating a panel, technicians consider its size and compare the number and size of the circuit breakers to the number of empty spaces, and estimate the level of power used. But there are times when a panel that appears to be lightly loaded with empty circuit breakers is actually overloaded because of the size of the individual loads. Alternatively, a panel that appears to be heavily loaded may be only partially so and has ample spare capacity.

Power loads vary widely, depending on the facility. A chart of use patterns over time shows when and how energy is used, which helps to determine where there’s room for improvement. It also identifies which monitoring activities create opportunities to reduce energy use by turning off loads or adjusting their schedule of operation.

The energy logger checks electrical equipment for dangerous safety conditions that may have evolved over time and addresses them before they become harmful to workers and detrimental to the plant. It also documents any hazardous issues and reports them.

Fluke says load studies are often conducted only when there’s a specific need for additional power supply. Setting up an energy logger to conduct this kind of survey monitors power use and documents locations for a new panel, identifies potential installation issues and how long the project will take to complete, and the materials necessary to complete it.

Even well run facilities experience energy waste and there’s not a lot you can do about the price of electricity, but logging provides plants with a way to effectively manage rising costs.

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This article appears in the Nov./Dec. 2013 issue of PLANT.

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