Application: Steady power improves testing, enables EPA compliance


control components, power

A Falcon Electric SG Series 3kVA UPS and related monitoring software ensure gas chromatographs run reliable tests without "frying" any boards.

Gas chromatography instrumentation is expensive, so it's good to keep it operating on schedule. Fluctuations or interruptions in heat disrupt the exact temperatures required for environmental testing, and a power surge can destroy onboard microprocessors. Because several hours of steady temperature and power are required during a testing run that provides results required by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Veolia Environmental Services LLC sought power monitoring software and UPS hardware to reduce downtime and ensure compliance.

Veolia conducts the tests with gas chromatography/mass spectrometer (GC/MS) instruments. For a short period of time after a test begins, the GC oven draws a very high current for the heating element. This brief power consumption presents a problem with temperature, or if the power is not clean, or the voltage is unstable (bad for the microprocessor-based on-board computer). A typical test involves 100 samples, takes 14 hours to complete, and is conducted overnight. Since the spectrometer would assume that the power failed in the event of a surge, spike or other brief power anomaly, the unit would go into stand-by mode, rendering the test run a complete loss. To combat this situation, Veolia installed a popular brand line-interactive uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

"According to the GC and GC/MS manufacturers, a UPS protecting this equipment must deliver power instantly without switchover delays. After we installed the UPS, we noticed the problems didn't go away and realized that the UPS had a switch-over time of several milliseconds, which proved too long for the spectrometer to continue its test run," explains Shafiqul Alam, technical support manager at Veolia.

"After discussing the situation with the GC manufacturer," Alam continues, "I realized that we needed a true on-line UPS, one that didn't have this switch-over." He researched specifications and selected Falcon Electric SG Series 3kVA UPS (SG3k-1T) units to power the spectrometers.

Using a unit for purchase with a trial period, Alam evaluated the unit with the supplied UPSilon 2000 software to monitor UPS activities, including load tests for various oven temperature ramps. Alam now includes the UPS for all delicate equipment, which offers online double conversion service (no switch-over), similar to a solid-state power generator providing 220 volts at 60 Hz.

Since installing Falcon's SG Series UPS with power monitoring software, Veolia has not lost one test because of power pollution or voltage fluctuations. "The monitoring software is especially useful since I have proof that a power anomaly occurred. Prior to installing the UPS, a power surge 'fried' an entire board because the power exceeded the limited tolerance of the spectrometer." With the new UPSs, no downtime has occurred, despite several power problems noted with the software. Veolia has more than 45 U.S. treatment and disposal facilities.

Veolia Environmental Services LLC (formerly Onyx Environmental Services) provides environmental services-hazardous waste management, field services, and solvent reclamation-for industrial customers. Customers use Veolia's services to ensure proper disposal of chemical waste, the byproduct of manufacturing electronics, computer recycling, blending fuel, and other toxic materials in accordance with California's stringent environmental requirements.

—Edited by Mark T. Hoske , editor in chief,
Control Engineering System Integration eNewsletter

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Learn how to create value with re-use; gain productivity with lean automation and connectivity, and optimize panel design and construction.
Go deep: Automation tackles offshore oil challenges; Ethernet advice; Wireless robotics; Product exclusives; Digital edition exclusives
Lost in the gray scale? How to get effective HMIs; Best practices: Integrate old and new wireless systems; Smart software, networks; Service provider certifications
Fixing PID: Part 2: Tweaking controller strategy; Machine safety networks; Salary survey and career advice; Smart I/O architecture; Product exclusives
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Look at the basics of industrial wireless technologies, wireless concepts, wireless standards, and wireless best practices with Daniel E. Capano of Diversified Technical Services Inc.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.