Nuisance tripping of its main incoming circuit breaker, a major problem for HG Timber, one of the UK's leading manufacturers of timber pallets and warehouse decking, has been completely eliminated following a free on-site power factor correction survey carried out by Eaton's Electrical Sector. The actions taken as a result of the survey have also made it possible for HG Timber to cut its energy bills by 20%, with a corresponding reduction in its carbon footprint of 62 tons of CO2.
The problem of nuisance tripping of the main 400A incoming circuit breaker started when HG Timber reached full production capacity after moving manufacturing to a new site near Buckingham; part of its ongoing programme of actions to minimise the environmental impact of its operations. For help and advice on addressing this problem, HG Timber approached Eaton's Electrical Sector and another major electrical supplier.
"Right from the outset, the service and support we received from Eaton put it well ahead of the other company," said Alistair Theodoulou, Managing Director of HG Timber, "and, as we had always had good experiences of Eaton products and services in the past, we decided that we would work with the Eaton team to find a solution to the problem."
As an initial step, Eaton carried out a free on-site power factor correction survey. This revealed that when the plant, which includes a high speed 4-way pallet production line that uses the latest robotic technology, was operating at full capacity, the load on the incoming circuit breaker was 395A. This was sufficiently close to the breaker's maximum rating of 400A to cause nuisance tripping. The survey also revealed, however, that the load power factor was poor because of the large number of motor driven machines on the site.
Accordingly, Eaton suggested that power factor correction equipment from its capacitor range should be installed. Because of the site's widely fluctuating load, an Eaton capacitor system was chosen as this automatically adjusts the level of power factor correction to suit the instantaneous load.
After fitting the new equipment, Eaton carried out a second survey on the site's electrical installation which revealed that the maximum load current had now been reduced to approximately 350A, with a power factor of about 0.95. This was easily sufficient to eliminate the problem of nuisance tripping. In addition, because of the way the supply tariff at HG Timber is structured, the reduced maximum load and improved power factor has also had the very beneficial effect of reducing the company's electricity bills by around 20%.
"The power factor correction equipment from Eaton's Electrical Sector is already proving to be an excellent investment," said Alistair Theodoulou, "especially as it achieves savings by eliminating reactive energy that does no useful work. The service we received from Eaton was equally impressive. The company's engineers went way beyond the call of duty, and even commissioned a panelboard free of charge for us, when the original contractor hadn't completed the job."
To complement its investment in power factor correction equipment and to ensure that the equipment is maintained in optimum condition, HG Timber has now also entered into a five-year service agreement with Eaton.
Power factor surveys of the type that proved so beneficial to HG Timber are offered free of charge by Eaton to industrial, commercial and public sector organisations. The surveys cause minimal disruption, and allow Eaton's engineers to determine whether the installation of power factor correction equipment would be beneficial and, if so, the level of benefits it could be expected to deliver.