Industrial Power Challenges With Power Distribution

Power Distribution Units (PDUs) provide the invaluable function of regulating power across industrial electrical systems. Too much or too little power at a particular part of the circuit can create many problems, so it is important to be able to control the amount of electrical energy powering all devices in the system. Power distributions control the flow of power to combat issues such as power surges, inefficiency, low uptime, and electromagnetic interference. Whether PDUs are built into the device or must be added separately, they function in multiple ways to achieve the same end goal of optimizing device productivity. By monitoring power flow, devices can perform continuously without disruption.

PDUs take many approaches to managing power. One of the simplest, most basic functions of PDUs is their ability to observe and monitor. They measure voltage levels at the power source, currents across the system, durations of time, and the on/off status of devices. The user should monitor these levels to ensure that the system is running smoothly. An unideal reading can indicate issues, such as the system not receiving the correct level of incoming power or a circuit breaker being at risk to trip. The operator can then step in and alter the system to function correctly. PDUs may indicate a need for a power converter if voltage is high. They can also switch currents from alternating to direct and vice versa so the circuit is never running electronics without the proper current.

PDUs offer many ways for the operator to control power within a system when levels are not optimal. These include remote ethernet signals, breakers, switches, and automated switching between power sources. Controls can be local, which means they are managed directly on the circuit, or remote, which means they are programmed to work from a distance by receiving signals from the system. The main benefit of using remote controls rather than local controls is that breaking circuits directly can cause wear and deterioration over time.

Another function of PDUs is their ability to power switch, which means that they run power through a switching regulator in order to divide the current into smaller chunks of energy. Direct power switching occurs directly within the system. Indirect power switching reroutes higher voltages to a separate power line that runs through a contractor, rather than directly through the switch. Both forms are beneficial to conserving power, but indirect power switching should be used for higher voltages because it does not interfere with the control panel.

The last primary function of a PDU is conditioning and filtering the electric current from interferences. Power conditioning is different from filtering in that it modifies the power to the correct voltage. Filtering improves quality by using capacitors, inductors, and resistors to create clearer signals. Capacitors block direct current, while allowing for alternating current. Meanwhile, inductors retain energy in a magnetic field as a current passes through them to reduce voltage. This combats issues such as false readings and noise. An example of filtering is EMI filtering, which fights electromagnetic interference. These waves distort the electrical signal out of the ideal sine wave form within the system, which can eventually cause the entire system to fail.

Industrial Gamut is a trusted supplier of power distribution units and other industrial equipment. Rely on us to meet your needs and answer your inquiries regarding our products while you focus on building your device. We are owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor and AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accredited business, as well as the only independent distributor. We have a strict no China sourcing pledge, ensuring that each part you purchase from us is fully traceable or comes directly from the manufacturer.


September 15, 2022

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