Rugged Indicator for Power Factor Correction Capacitor
Energy consumption is a necessary evil and often large expense for commercial and industrial facilities. To help reduce surcharges and penalties for excessive energy usage, many companies utilize power factor correction panels, or power factor correction capacitors. These products closely align the amount of power being pulled from the grid to the power actually being used by the machinery itself (active power).
This is especially beneficial when loads require working power and reactive power to sustain the magnetic field needed to run equipment such as transformers, motors and furnaces.
Applications that can benefit most from capacitors include circular saws, compressor, grinders, conveyors and other types of equipment where the motors are sized for the heaviest load and the equipment doesn’t always need that much power.
Even the smallest improvement of power factor can deliver big benefits, including a reduction in utility costs, prolonged equipment life and fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Solution & Design
The indicators recommended for such a rugged application were part of the 981 Series, non-relampable neon snap mount indicators designed for easy installation into an ½” mounting hole. The indicators each included a 125V lamp, flat cylindrical lens, neon bulb, chrome-plated bezel and flexible wire leads.
To enhance visual communication of the human-machine interface, the following colors were used:
- Amber – indicates operators need to stand by
- Red – signals operators to stop
- Green – communicates the machine is functioning properly
Key Design Consideration
Viewing angle was a key design consideration, as the indicators need to be visible from a variety of vantage points. The flat, cylindrical lenses used in the capacitor have a viewing angle of 110 degrees to increase safety of operation.
The capacitor must maintain constant communication with operators, even during tough working conditions. For improved durability and safety, the panel itself was made of a thick steel cabinet. VCC provided a 981 Series indicator solution that not only accommodated the extra thickness of the panel, but also recommended an additional seal around the indicators.
The 981 Series is made up of non-relampable snap mount indicator lights with molded plastic flex arms that easily snap into an ½” diameter hole without additional hardware. This series offers a wide range of options for user flexibility:
- Voltage – ranges from 6 to 250, depending on the color and type of lights used, either incandescent or neon.
- Color – available in amber, blue, colorless, green, red, white and yellow
- Lens type – cylindrical, square or stovepipe options available
- Lamp – incandescent and neon options
Results & Benefits
By specifying durable indicators that easily snap into the panel without additional hardware, VCC helped the client reduce installation and assembly costs in both time and parts while ensuring a product that will enable safe operation.
The team also provided an additional O-ring around the indicators to add even more protection from dust and oil. These seals will ultimately prolong the life of the capacitor without prolonging its production and assembly time.