Automotive manufacturing is heavily automated. Downtime is costly. Power quality events may disrupt welders, motors, and controllers. Power quality monitoring will help ensure your lines run smoothly.

Power Quality in the Automotive Industry

Industry experts estimate the Total Downtime Cost (TDC) of failure in the automotive and machining industry to be quite high - varying from $200K USD per hour to $5MM USD per hour. Companies in the automotive sector report an average of 6-8 disruptions per year.

According to the Electric Power Research Institute, 4-7% percent of disruptions are caused by poor power quality. Improving power quality can have a substantial economic impact in the automotive industry. Scalable cloudbased Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions connect the automation and information domains for even more savings. Most companies do not measure and monitor power quality in real-time, missing an opportunity to substantially impact the bottom line.

Poor power quality can result in scrap, rework, damage to machinery and tooling, quality concerns, bottlenecks, and production delays - all with substantial cost. Limited plant resources are often scrambling to repair a host of very complex problems. Without power quality monitoring, maintenance personnel may not know the root cause of failures or how to quickly fix them.

Key applications and processes used in the automotive industry such as CNC machining, presses, electronics, welding, ovens, painting, and robotics all require a reliable, consistent, and low-cost energy source to maintain operational stability. Poor power quality can have severe operational and financial impact. What are some examples of poor power quality in the automotive industry? Let's focus on one area - voltage sags. Voltage sags create havoc in many automotive processes. For example, tool breakage in the machining process might take 4-6 hours to repair.

Servo based equipment loses position during voltage sags, requiring manual homing, taking up to several hours to fix. Ovens impacted by voltage sags during paint curing must reheat and stabilize, taking two to four hours, plus hours of manual repainting. If drives fail in the paint process, downtime to repair failed drives might also include repair of the ventilation system. Pneumatic equipment loses pressure due to voltage sags, possibly causing torque issues and requiring 1-2 hours to fix. Manufacturing is faced with reductions in technical staff and a shortage of people able to solve complex problems. Often planned maintenance schedules are delayed to accommodate production disruptions. It is imperative for all parties - manufacturers, vendors, and innovative technology partner companies - to work together. Denison Technologies' solution suite delivers cloud-based, real-time services managed by deeply tenured and technical teams provide a fast and low cost solution.

Example: Robotic Welders

Improving power quality will reduce unplanned downtime, costing an average of $83,000 USD per minute, and the cost of replacement electronics.

Arcs are a dirty load, rich in harmonics and radio frequency interference. The ballasts used in arc welders and plasma cutters have a lagging power factor. The rectifiers and controllers further increase the harmonic profile of welders. On automotive assembly lines, arc welders and plasma cutters run alongside sensitive and expensive electronics such as PLCs and motor drives. The distorted power produced by the welders may reduce the performance and lifetime of these electronics. Radio frequency interference from the arc can cause computers and PLCs to crash or freeze. Welders are a "peaky" load, with a high peak demand relative to the average power consumption. Utilities assess an extra charge for this demand, along with the low power factor.

Monitoring the welder power and PLC power separately will elucidate if the the PLC power quality is impacted by welding operations. Power quality monitoring is wise for all PLC applications given electronics' sensitivity and replacement expense. Welding's impact on other processes can be eliminated once the effects are known. Intelligence from the welder power monitor can be employed to reduce utility expenses. Denison's experts can advise on eliminating radio frequency interference.

Managing and improving power quality events will reduce utility bills and impact substantially achievement of sustainability goals.