Don't Be Left in the Dark

June 4, 2012
Select the Appropriate Power Supply to Avoid Costly Production Blackouts
About the Author

Katherine Bonfante is senior digital editor for Control and ControlDesign. You can email her at [email protected] or check out her Google+ profile.

Power outages can be inconvenient, scary and costly. There is nothing fun about being left in the dark.

To imagine what life was like without electricity, we don't have to picture ourselves living in 1879 before Thomas Edison invented the electric lightbulb. Let's just go back to Aug. 14, 2003, when the Northeast blackout affected an estimated 10 million people in Canada and 45 million people in eight U.S. states. Scientific American reported that the event contributed to at least 11 deaths and cost an estimated $6 billion.

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Large corporations depend on electricity to stay in business and provide the public with what it needs. When there is a localized power issue, and your business depends on stable power to keep your production lines working, what steps do you put in place to avoid costly production expenses?

If you want to learn what you can do to prevent a voltage overload, read Siemens Industry's white paper "Prevent 24 Vdc Overloads From Stopping Production." In this white paper, Siemens suggests that using switch-mode power supplies over 24 Vdc power supplies is a better option. However, the document gives insights to problems that switch-mode power supplies can cause, and gives solutions to these problems.

Process plants strive now more than ever to reduce operational expenditures while increasing productivity and efficiency. Today's process engineers place a tremendous amount of emphasis on system integrity requirements. Why? Well, this is because system integrity requirements are a variable that can be controlled when the right equipment is in place. Read Pepperl+Fuchs' white paper "Probability and Redundancy" and find out more about the right equipment to use.

Now, when it comes to selecting a power supply, engineers have to consider many features, but the most important benefit to keep in mind is efficiency. In "Efficiency: The Forgotten Feature of Power Supplies," Puls Power Supplies writes that it is possible to use a smaller power supply than usual.

[sidebar id="3"]If you want to learn about different types of power problems, read Schneider Electric's white paper "The Seven Types of Power Problems." You can learn about the most common types of power disturbances, what can cause them, what they can do to your critical equipment, and how to safeguard your equipment from them, using the IEEE standards for describing power quality problems.

Don't be left clueless and in the dark. Get the right information, and then select the appropriate power supply to avoid costly production blackouts. The darkness is scary, lonely and expensive.