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Branch Circuit Monitoring: Power Monitoring and Measurement in Production Facilities

Posted on April 26, 2017 by Nicolas Sagnes

Industrial Machinery and increased automation across facilities are impacting power consumption like never before. Not only is it becoming increasingly difficult to address the needs of the modern facility, but the conditions that dictate those needs are also constantly evolving. Because of this, production facilities and data centers are often battling against things like overloaded circuit breakers - something that can lead to costly damages and lost productivity if left unchecked.

For these reasons, many facilities are turning to branch circuit monitoring to get the job done. If you're thinking about implementing branch circuit monitoring for power monitoring and measurement in your own production facility, there are a few key things you'll need to keep in mind.

What is Branch Circuit Monitoring?

As a method of measuring power for regular building electrical distribution at the branch circuit level (hence the name), branch circuit monitoring systems are often integrated into main power panels (Power Distribution Units) and remote power panels (RPPs) for superior visibility. They also offer much needed flexibility, as they can be retrofitted into existing PDUs and RPPs without causing any type of significant disruption which leads to downtime.

This one simple-yet-critical shift addresses a number of the most common pain points that production sites deal with in the modern era. BCM systems by design allow you to mitigate risks associated with lack of data and insight, variable production loads, rigid production schedules, the difficulty associated with resource allocation and machinery power loads. BCM helps critical production facilities operate with a better visibility on power, increasing their uptime and productivity.

The Major Advantages of Branch Circuit Monitoring

Making the decision to retrofit a facility with branch circuit monitoring systems comes with a wide array of different benefits that can't be ignored. For starters, it's a viable way to both optimize power usage and infrastructure power capacity, all without the expense of a complete product overhaul. Not only will a facility save money through smarter resource allocation and more actionable data and intelligence, but they won't have to invest in a completely new architecture in order to do it.

Additionally, a number of studies have been conducted that prove retrofitted BCM solutions allow end users to reduce downtime significantly by deploying a clear and actionable capacity planning strategy as early in the process as possible. This allows them to leverage instant cost benefits from a higher level of operational efficiency into their operation, outpacing even the up-front value generated by the solution and the installation costs.

Perhaps the most important benefit of BCM systems has to do with their superior level of metering accuracy. The vast majority of BCM products available on the market today strive for "utility grade" (sometimes referred to as "billing grade") accuracy. This means that the meter is accurate enough to meet strict legal requirements in terms of how it can be used to bill customers or internal business units. Essentially, production facilities are now working with the same level of accuracy that utility companies are using of +/-1%.

Download Your Application Brief Today

These are just a few of the many benefits that branch circuit monitoring systems bring to the table for modern day production facilities around the world. If you're interested in finding out more information about moving away from a break-fix model for power, or if you're looking for advice on addressing some of the challenges that are common in many factories, production facilities, and large distribution centers, please feel free to download Raritan's application brief "Branch Circuit Monitoring: Power Monitoring and Measurement in Production Facilities" today.

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