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What’s the worst source of fluctuations on a power supply

What’s the worst source of fluctuations on a power supply system? (on photo: 11kV electric arc furnace; by Willie Putter via Flickr)

Electric arc furnaces
Electric arc furnaces are considered as being one of the worst source of fluctuations on a power supply system.
The load cycles of arc furnaces vary widely, depending on size and metallurgical requirements.
The first part of the cycle consists of melt-down period when the solid charge is melted and the main energy input
needed. The later part of the cycle is known as the refining period; in this, energy supplied has only to make good
the heat losses. A considerable movement of the charge occurs during the melt-down period with consequent
variations in the arc lengths on each phase.
The two main causes of fluctuation are believed to be first, the movement of the arcs as flexible conductors in a
magnetic field and in some cases their extinction and restriking; secondly, the short circuiting of the graphite
electrodes by scrap movement.
When the fluctuating currents pass through the power supply network impedance, a corresponding fluctuation is set
up in the supply voltage at the point of common coupling with other consumers (p.c.c.). Visible light flicker is due to
power system voltage fluctuation.

premature ageing of equipment. The static VAr compensator should be capable of supporting the system for the dynamic reactive VAr swing requirement due to arc furnaces swing from open circuit to short circuit. it produces a dead short circuit on one phase. During melting period the arc furnaces also create harmonics. to improve the power factor of the arc furnace during melting. moreover. to support the power supply system for VAr compensation during arc furnace short-circuit. and to balance the three-phases. in turn a larger voltage dip is produced on the system. The flicker phenomenon does not very much affect the electric equipment. Therefore. but a physiological uneasiness in vision occurs due to electric lightning flux fluctuations. The total harmonic distortion calculated for voltages (THDU) and currents (THDI) in the melting phase During arc furnace short-circuit. arc furnace demands larger reactive power from the electricity supply. Static VAr compensator To reduce harmonic injection into the system.8. it is of crucial importance to predict these effects when an arc furnace is to be connected to a network or when an existing furnace is to be upgraded. a reactive VAr compensator is needed. Arc furnaces are designed to operate at low power factor say 0. When the electrode is usually driven into the scrap metal. . which are particularly important with incandescent lamps.7 and 0. unbalanced. such as incorrect operation of devices. overvoltages and overcurrents. additional losses in transmission and distribution networks. The current and voltage harmonic distortion causes several problems in electrical power systems.The fluctuations in the three phases are.

thereby contributing to productivity and economy of the process. The overall power factor correction for the plant provided by the SVC will also contribute in a favourable way to process economy.Figure 2 . the SVC ensures that specified limitations regarding voltage fluctuations and harmonic distortion at the point of common coupling are fulfilled for the plant. Let’s see how arc furnace works… .source: ABB The SVC offers an efficient means to rectify these shortcomings as it will keep up a high and stable voltage on the furnace bus. At the same time.Single-line diagram (Arc Furnace SVC) .

There is a lot of energy generated by multiple tonnes of falling metal.Basic layout of electric arc furnace 1. (The electrodes are lowered onto the scrap. (Scrap generally comes in two main grades: shred (whitegoods. located next to the melt shop. (Care is taken to layer the scrap in the basket to ensure good zmace operation. any liquid metal in the zrnace is oen displaced upwards and outwards by the solid scrap. resulting in a reball erupting) 4. Once the electrodes have reached the heavy melt at the base of the tmace and the arcs are shielded by the scrap. These layers should be present in the furnace after charging) 3. Scrap metal is delivered to a scrap bay. along with some direct reduced iron (DRI) or pig iron for chemical balance. with ‘clamshell’ doors for a base. . and the grease and dust on the scrap is ignited if the lmace is hot. cars and other objects made of similar light-gauge steel) and hemgy melt (large slabs and beams). (Charging is one of the more dangerous operations for the EAF operators. and the furnace is charged with scrap from the basket.) 2. the roof is swung back over the furnace and meltdown commences. The scrap is loaded into large buckets called baskets. heavy melt is placed on top of a light layer of protective shred. Lower voltages are selected for this rst part of the operation to protect the roof and walls from excessive heat and damage from the arcs. the roof is swung off the furnace. After charging. an arc is struck and the electrodes are then set to bore into the layer of shred at the top of the lrnace. The scrap basket is then taken to the melt shop. on top of which is placed more shred.

the voltage can be increased and the electrodes raised slightly. During and after tapping. manganese and calcium and removing their oxides to the slag. (the slag door is cleaned of solidied slag. Correia de Barros. and electrodes are inspected for damage or lengthened through the addition of new segments. More slag formers are introduced and more oxygen is blown into the bath. as they have a greater ainitjv for oxygen. cannot be removed through oxidation and must be controlled through scrap chemistry alone. Costin Cepisca and Sorin Grigorescu Harmonics and Flicker Analysis in Arc Furnace Power Systems – J. Metals that have a poorer ainity for oxygen than iron. rening operations take place to check and correct the steel chemistry and superheat the melt above its freezing temperature in preparation for tapping). phosphorus.Eng.e. C. aluminium. burning out impurities such as silicon.T. M. Sousa. another bucket of scrap can be charged into the furnace and melted down. i. such as introducing the direct reduced iron and pig iron mentioned earlier) 7. the scrap has been completely melted down. (Removal of carbon takes place aer these elements have burnt out rst. M. the taphole is lled with sand at the completion of tapping). Oxygen is also supersonically blown into the scrap. EAF – Electric Arc Furnace (VIDEO) Cant see this video? Click here to watch it on Youtube. 6. (After the second charge is completely melted. such as nickel and copper. FIEE ABB – Static Var Compensation of DC Arc Furnaces Power Quality and Electrical Arc Furnaces – Horia Andrei. combusting or cutting the steel) 5. reducing tap-t0-tap times. the steel is tapped out into a preheated ladle through lling the furnace. sulfur. This enables a molten pool to form more rapidly. Once the temperature and chemistry are correct. 8. lengthening the arcs and increasing power to the melt. A. Once flat bath conditions are reached. repairs may take place. References: Substation design / application guide – V AYADURAI BSC. the furnace is ‘turned around‘. Simoes . Covas.