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Article Date: 22nd January 2013

ABB Power Factor Correction Bridges the Power Gap for McCain’s Home Fries Production Line

Power Factor Correction - Power Factor - Power Factor Products

ABB Power Factor

ABB PFC (power factor correction) equipment provided a vital boost in energy efficiency for the McCain Food’s massive site at Scarborough, North Yorkshire, which produces many of the company’s key products. The result was that the existing power network, which previously was operating close to its maximum 9.5MW load, was able to cope comfortably with the demand of a new Homes Fries production line without needing a major investment in new network infrastructure.

McCain Foods called in ABB during the planning of the new Homes Fries line when it became clear that the existing power network serving the site might not be able to handle a major additional demand. If this proved to be the case then an additional 11kV/400V substation would be required, at an estimated cost of around £250K. Even worse, the Northern Powergrid power lines that feed Scarborough from the York Distribution Centre were already operating up to their limit.

Site survey

ABB carried out a site survey that established that a number of key loads were operating at a significantly low PF (power factor). PF is essentially a measure of how effectively electrical power is being used. Ideally it would be 1, and the closer to this figure it actually is then the more effectively electrical power is being used and vice versa. ABB’s verdict was that by installing suitable power factor correction equipment it would be possible to significantly improve network efficiency to release sufficient useable power to meet the needs of the Home Fries line.

Advance automatic capacitor banks

ABB’s sophisticated Advance automatic capacitor banks were installed at eight strategic points in the McCain network – representing a total of 2,900 kVAr. This restored the PF to acceptable industry standard levels, ranging from 0.95 to 0.97, and made an extra 600kVA of power available. This enabled production to start without the need for any new network infrastructure.

Bill Bartlett, Corporate Affairs Director of McCain Foods said: “ABB’s power factor correction equipment has played a key role in our energy efficiency programme that enables the line to draw all the power it needs from our existing power network without the need for significant capital expenditure on a new substation and power lines.

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