Sunday, December 15, 2013

Providing 480 Volt 3 Phase power to a design build project where only 230 volt 3 Phase is avalable

Electrician friend of mine referred me to one of his friends a semi retired electrician who has been getting involved with industrial electrical power jobs and who needed my skill set with help in a few projects at a plant he is installing power for some new equipment  where they make all kinds of organic soaps and lotions.
One of the problems the plant was having was getting enough hot water to fill kettles of 300 to 1000 gallons  of water at temperatures as high as 160 F  degrees .While Joe is a very skilled residential and Commercial electrician he was not as familiar with motor controls and transformers as I am  so I agreed to help him and Joe has picked up some pointers along the way as we have worked on several major projects ,including installing a Rotary Phase converter  to make 3 phase 230 volts out of 230 single phase at the plant auxiliary building .
Converter in process of being wired 

Capacitors used to balance load 

After getting together with the Professional Engineer the plant hired he wanted to be able to run an instantaneous pulsed water heater  that needed 480 volts 3 phase at 200 amps the problem the 480 volt  3 phase delta  available  was being provided by a step up transformer  from a 1200 amp  230 volt 3 phase delta  service and was already at its maximum use So we would have to come up with a way to determine if we either had to install a new service or copy what was already in place. After a complete examination of the power system and its use we determined we could put in  another step up transformer as well.
Transformer in process of being wired 
We chose a special designed transformer from Eaton Corp that is specifically designed to do step up duty but the problem is stepping up  power from 230 to 480 means we would need more than the 200 amps 480 volts required because to step voltage up you need to feed in approx 1 -1/2 to  twice what you need so on this case we feed the transformer with  400 amps of 230 volt to insure we would not have a voltage drop and we up sized by one size all wiring .
Joe had his relatives who work with him do the heavy work  and I made all the connections etc. to make sure they where done properly one wrong connection could result in serious damage to equipment and any one near by it could be injured when we tested it .

We got the Transformer and heater in place  in preparation for adding on the pump and Variable Speed Drive  and control panel I would have to build to control the pump.
Since the Drive unit for pump was not included in the heater package I then had to build a  water resistant  set up for the pump controller which allowed it to be viewed and I found a perfect enclosure with view window for the job to allow it  and the building of the switch control stay water proof  .

Control ready for labeling 

 cabinet allows  drive LED output to be viewed 
The VFD Pump Drive the Engineer selected from Baldor  allowed for many options and we found the perfect set up which allows for 4 different speed settings as well as a maximum speed setting which can easily be run by employees by just adjusting a couple switches instead of having to do complicated programming each  time of the VFD  like they have to with other units they purchased .
 We set the unit up and I ran the initial programming and then tweaked it as engineer stood by and observed the settings to see how much water at what temperature was coming out .
The engineer also designed in an auxiliary water flow monitor which will allow employees to set how many gallons they need  I wired in to automatically shut off pump to prevent over filling. We had to do this work over a series of Saturdays  so as to not disrupt normal production in the plant and we had to observe
GMP practices for sanitation purposes to insure no products would get contaminated by what we did '



This  included wearing  lab clothing and hair nets  and making sure we carefully cleaned up after ourselves and make sure no stray wire pieces etc got into equipment. This was a very demanding job but in the end it all worked just as engineer designed it  and we wired it  and we have several more projects to complete.

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