Power Factor Correction | Maximizing Industrial Power Usage

Power factor correction is a service that ISIEM offers wherein we aim to increase the power utilization in your systems. The power factor is a simple ratio between the power supplied to a circuit (apparent power) and the power actually being utilized (real power), ranging from 0 to 1. If your power factor is high, that means there is an efficient use of energy, with a low power factor representing the opposite. 

In a business or industry, the power factor is an incredibly important metric to keep track of. A low power factor can mean very high utility costs with little transfer to actual used power, in addition to potential fines from utilities or government agencies. ISIEM can inspect sections of your infrastructure through a power factor study and correct for a low power factor, or adjust the factor based on your needs. 

How The Power Factor Works

In alternating current circuits, the current absorbed by a load may be represented by two components: the active IR and reactive IQ component. The active IR component represents the useful work being generated, be it mechanical, luminous, thermal, or other forms of work. The reactive IQ component, perpendicular to the voltage, produces the flux (or flow of energy) necessary for the conversion of powers through the electric or magnetic field. Reactive IQ is also an index of the energy exchange between the supply and the element of the electrical installation. Without this component, there could be no net transfer of power, for example, by magnetic coupling intervention in the core of a transformer or in the air gap of a motor.

In any system, some portion of the energy being supplied will be used in the conversion of energy into useful energy, instead of being directly applied to work. The power factor represents the relationship between the useful power and the total power being applied to the system. 

An example would be gas-powered automobiles and miles per gallon ratings. A vehicle with higher miles per gallon rating would have a higher power factor, given more gasoline is used for physical motion versus the simple transfer of gasoline into useful energy. In a car, improvements to the engine would make it more efficient. In electrical engineering, the power factor is often corrected using capacitors. 

Benefits of Power Factor Correction

Power factor correction varies based on many factors like power supply, circuit, and power usage, but values above .90 are typically ideal. This brings additional advantages, among them, optimized use of machinery (motors and transformers) and power lines (transmission and distribution). With all this, the main advantages of correction can be summarized as follows:

  • Optimized use of electrical machines; optimized use of power lines
  • Reduction of losses
  • Reduction of voltage drop
  • Compliance with grid code/utility requirements 

Improve Your Power Factor With ISIEM

Over the decades, ISIEM has saved companies millions in energy costs and fines through power factor correction and maintenance. For efficient use of your business’ energy, schedule your power factor study today!