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Somar PowerBoss


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#1 Guest__*

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 01:45 AM

Anyone know informationon the Somar PowerBoss product?

I was considering adding the product to the line of machine tools I sell. Pressbrakes and punching machines and lasers.

The cost to become a dealer is high and I dont want to sell a product that can not do what it claims.

The link is as follows: http://www.somars.co...t/powerboss.htm

I hope this is not too off topic but if Powerboss in the right application can save energy then I will consider it. Otherwise
I will not sell an Iten that is making false claims. Any help will be greatly appericated.

Thank you,:)

Rob, Eastern US

#2 marke

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 03:19 AM

Hello Rob

Have a look at my paper on energy saving products at http://www.lmphotonics.com/energy.htm
The bottom line is that you can only save a portion of what is being wasted. This is not a function of the energy saver technology, rather the efficiency of the induction motor.
The technology does work, but the highest savings are on open shaft motors. The saving reduces as the load increases.
I recommend that you do your own measurements on your equipment using rotating disc KWHr meters and calculate the saving based on units saved rather than percentages. A high percentage of almost nothing, is still almost nothing!!

Best regards,

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 04:56 PM

Mark,

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I have read the info you linked and some of the info on Soft Starters as the Motorboss includes that as well as a saver function. If my understanding is correct the only time that savings will occur is when there is no load on the motor. For example the pressbrakes that I sell (20-40 hp. 3phase motors) have quite a bit of non load time. The only time the machine is under load is when a part is being formed. If I were to guess I would say in some cases the machine is free from load up to 35% of the time. I could see the energy saver feature a plus on a pressbrake. Also am I correct in saying that the soft start will not save any energy, just saves wear on the motor? Thanks again for a very informative web page.

Rob

#4 marke

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Posted 02 October 2005 - 05:52 PM

Hello Rob

Yes, you are correct, the savings will primarily be when the motor is unloaded.
The highest saving is when the motor load is the lowest. The confusion often occurs because people assume that an unloaded machine means an unloaded motor. For example a compressor cycling off load. The problem is that the machine may be doing no work, but often the motor is doing considerable work to keep the machine rotating. It is common to find a 30 - 40% torque requirement for an unloaded machine and this is high enough for no savings to be made.
The losses are almost always considerably higher in the machine than in the motor. The energy saving device can only save a portion of the iron loss in the motor.
The best savings are made by using a high efficiency motor. For new equipoment, I would suggest that this is a lower cost approach than fitting an energy saver as standard.

I would expect that a motor in the order of 20 - 40hp would have an efficiency in excess of 85%, suggesting a full load loss of less than 15%. If we assume that about one third is stator iron loss, then we have an iron loss of around 5%. With a press brake using a flywheel and clutch, I would expect to save perhaps 30% of the iron loss during the off load period, so we would potentially save around 1.7% of the motor rating during the off load period. For a 20KW motor, this would be in the order of 370W saving. If the motor efficiency is higher, the saving would be lower.
If the press brake has a hydraulic power pack, the residual shaft load will be higher and the savings lower, possibly zero.
What is the residual load on the motor shaft when the machine is at idle??

Best regards,

#5 jraef

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Posted 03 October 2005 - 05:08 PM

Rob,
Another very impostant consideration for you is the packaging of the soft starter. SCRs, the heart of that technology, reject heat when current is passed through them, about 1.5W per amp, so a 3 phase controllers is 4.5W/Amp. To stay cool, the starter must move a lot of air across the heat sinks. Along with the air comes contaminants. To see an example of how bad that can be, look at the crud that has built up on the cooling fan of your computer, and that is from a supposedly clean office environment!

Machine tool applications often require a sealed (NEMA 12 or NEMA 4) enclosure to protect the electronics from dust, shavings, oil in the atmosphere etc. As soon as you put a soft starter into a sealed enclosure, you must also add a bypass contactor to prevent that heat rejection from building up inside that box. As soon as you close the bypass contactor, the "energy saver" circuit no longer functions! Somar is adept at leaving that little detail out. They push the energy saver circuit as their best feature, then tell you that they have NEMA 12 enclosures as an option, but neglect to say that the two are mutually exclusive.

In my opinion, the likelyhood of you being able to recover the steep investment in their distributorship program is unlikely. I think the reason why they make it so costly is because they know it is likely the only order they will get from you. If you want to sell soft starters, contact a soft starter manufacturer who has been in business for 20+ years. Some of them will make you a distributorship deal with no inventory requirement at all! All you need to do is invest your time in being trained. You will also find that most of them do NOT sell that feature any longer, and those that do, do it only because they are trying to meet specs that come out saying it has to be there, even though they know it doesn't really do much.
"He's not dead, he's just pinin' for the fjords!"

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 02:40 AM

I thank you for the response, If you were to sell just a soft starter which company would you choose? Most of the controls on my machine tools are enclosed PC's with a fan exaust. They seem to hold up well, I cant tell if Powerboss has a sealed enclosure. I look at a cnc machining centers and the non load time in some cases is 25-35% could a Powerboss type device save electric cost? Even if its a small amount. Also the programmable auto shut off and auto start on some energy saving units could be useful.

I guess I want to be hopeful that these type systems work.
They sound very logical in presentation and have good refrence list like, Ford MoCo., Jaguar, Coke Etc.

Funny how all Power Saver type co. offer distributorships.


Regards,

Rob

#7 marke

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Posted 07 October 2005 - 07:31 PM

Hi Rob

There are many manufacturers of soft starters, some with energy saving and some without. If you were to add one to your equipment as standard or as an option, then you need to work with a supplier that gives you the commercial and technical support that you require. This, comes down to individual people. It is not just the brand, but the person promoting that brand.

Best regards,

#8 jraef

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Posted 08 October 2005 - 01:46 AM

Rob,
As I said earlier, the Powerboss can come in either a vented or sealed enclosure, they offer both options. What they don't mention is that the energy saver feature can't work in a sealed enclosure, the sealing traps the heat as well. PCs seem to hold up better than motor controls when vented, probably because they are not having to deal with anywhere near the same amount of heat, so the air volume is relatively low by comparison. The average P4 PC nowadays puts out maybe 140W of heat? A 25HP 230V soft starter puts out about 300W, and the surface of the SCRs gets much hotter than anything in the PC, so dust and grime tend to get cooked. Also, there are higher voltages present. When the hot SCRs and heat sinks cool down, condensation can form and at the higher voltages, it can more easily cause tracking to gound. I ahave seen NEMA 1 vented soft starters last for years in nasty environments, but just replaced one that was installed for 4 months in the nice "clean" mechanical room of a high rise office tower, and the insides were corroded beyond recognition.

Marke's advice is dead-on about the brand. We all like to think we have the best, but in reallity, bad products don't survive long. Look for someone who has good people in your area, a good reputation and has been making soft starters for 10 years or more.

PS,
If you were to register, we could know where you are (as much as you care to share) and maybe make some more specific recommendations.
"He's not dead, he's just pinin' for the fjords!"

#9 garbie

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Posted 01 November 2005 - 02:33 PM

Hi Rob,

I know some about Powerboss, and in USA it's called Moterboss. There are many other softstaters with the same features, where you do not need to pay a lot of money for a distributorship.

I cal help you!

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 04:22 AM

Ask power boss about the harmonics level they inject to the mains. We investigated this unit, it is the same as Energy save feture which you can find in some leading SSTs.
the saving is only if you have low load at 50% duty cycle.

#11 kev21903

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 07:23 PM

I used a powerboss on blunger motor.
The motor is basically a traction motor i.e. it required a large torque to get upto speed but once there it only needed lower input power to maintain the speed. This was due to the energy stored in the load (a large rotating ball of steel used to crush stone).
This should have been a ideal application for the powerboss.........
The results were mixed. When the power boss was in the optimising mode it made large savings (the motor was 132kW [I think] and was only running at around 20%flc). The problem was that the unit rarely stayed in the optimising mode for any length of time. At the end of the day we got the unit to payback and then gave up trying to get it to work and operated the motor in bypass mode.
The sales people didn't have the technical ability to support the device so we gave up!!
:(

#12 marke

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 01:17 AM

Hello Kev21903

Did you measure the KW savings, or just the current.
I am sure that there are many who are interested in actual savings figures in KW measured.

Best regards,

#13 kev21903

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 04:03 PM

Hi Marke
Yes we measured both. The current was very much reduced and this was aparticular help on this site.
I understand where you are going with this question that the KW are not reduced significantly (am I correct here?)
You have to consider the reduction in current also as the site was fed at 33kV and had distribution at 11kV, 3.3kv % 415v. The lower current means lower losses throughout the distribution network. It also means the equipment can withstand more load (transformers etc are rated in kVA not KW).
So there is more to saving than what you see on a kWh meter, you need to account for distribution losses and potential lower capital requirements.
To summarise my feelings though - I am not a fan of Powerboss and will not use one again.
Regards
Kevin

#14 marke

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Posted 18 December 2005 - 09:37 AM

Hi Kevin

Yes, the reduction in current will help to reduce the KVA loading and this can be a benefit in some applications, it really depends on what the criteria are. In many installations, the major concern is KWHr. Where there is also an issue with KVAR (or KVA) power factor correction is another option and has the advantage that the KVA is reduced at all levels of loading. With the energy savers, while there can be a significant reduction in current at light load, it is not the case at medium to high loads.
For distribution load control and KVA demand reduction, there is more value in reducing the current at full load than at light load.

Best regards,

#15 paxitw

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 08:22 AM

QUOTE
Originally posted by Anonymous
Anyone know informationon the Somar PowerBoss product?

I was considering adding the product to the line of machine tools I sell. Pressbrakes and punching machines and lasers.

The cost to become a dealer is high and I dont want to sell a product that can not do what it claims.

The link is as follows: http://www.somars.co...t/powerboss.htm

I hope this is not too off topic but if Powerboss in the right application can save energy then I will consider it.  Otherwise
I will not sell an Iten that is making false claims.  Any help will be greatly appericated.

Thank you,:)

Rob, Eastern US


#16 paxitw

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 08:30 AM

Hi Rob,

I don't know whether you have received any responses to your question. My advice would be, DON't. I have been a Somar distributor for a little over a year, idiot that I am, and have spent much money, time and energy needlessly.
In short, the product(s) does not do what is promised (although under some circumstances it can provide minor savings), the support is nowhere (which will become apparent as sson as you have paid up your distributor fee and ordered first stock).
If you do decide to pursue the matter, some advice: let Somar put you in direct touch with 10 successful distributors anywhere in the world (should not be difficult since they claim 200+), and 10 successful installations (that you are allowed to contact and verify yourself). Visit at least 3 installations, establish their installation costs (not just the cost of the units) and then see amortization times.
DO ALL THIS BEFORE SIGNING UP OR PAYING.

Regards,
Werner.

#17 kevintjmoran

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 07:40 PM

Hi Werner:

From the tone of your comments it sounds like you wanted to say more but were perhaps holding back. I've seen their documentation (it's impressive) and have my concerns about the ability for the product to deliver...I've been in the industrial motor control bus. for >20yrs. and have never heard of such a device although in the early days of SSRV there were a few companies that made claims about continuous energy savings that ultimately didn't pan out. Reading the Somar documentation, specifically the business proposal, I got the impression that if you did contact other dist's or customers prior to signing on they refuse to deal with you...that doesn't convey a real feeling of honesty, integrity or professionalism to me. Some of the verbage they include also left me with a feeling that they have a high & mighty, maybe even pompus attitude.

My doubting Thomas side asks...if it' so great why hasn't Siemens, ABB, Schneider, Rockwell or some other large electrical company bought them ???

#18 marke

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 08:18 PM

Hello kevintjmoran

There are some very good marketing campaigns around on energy saving, and there is no doubt that energy saving is a very good trigger for response, but at the end of the day, you can only same what is being wasted. I agree, if the induction motor was that inefficient as implied, then something would have been done by now with either every body actively promoting the technology, or design changes being made. The part that annoys me, is where there is an implication that an oversized motor is wasting energy when in fact is that it can be saving energy as larger motors are more efficient! In a combustion engine, there is no doubt that oversizing an engine uses more fuel, but this is not generally the case with induction motors.
There are some marketing campaigns that are more about selling licences than selling product.

Best regards,

#19 morgan

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 06:00 PM

Hello all who have commented on Somar Powerboss,

I am also looking at a Powerboss distibutorship as a stand alone business idea. The big challenge I have facing me is my complete lack of knowledge and experience in the area of electric motors, I simply have general business experience.
And the more I read, the more my neophyte status worries me. If those of you who are in the business have doubts or have had limited success with Powerboss, then a feeling of being a lamb led to the slaughter is coming over me.
Comments, suggestions or related experience that anyone is willing to share would be more than welcome.
Morgan

#20 marke

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 06:46 PM

Hello Morgan

Welcome to the forum.
If you do not understand motors, you will have difficulty achieving results. The concept does work, but only in applications where the motor operate for a significant period of time at greatly reduced efficiency. Additionally, the results are best on very small motors and poor on larger motors.

Study the efficiency curves of induction motors against shaft load and find applications where there is an extended period of operation at very low efficiency on motors that exhibit a high iron loss relative to the motor rating and you can get payback. beware of the percentages, 20% of nothing is still nothing!
Large motors typically have an iron loss of less than 5% of the motor rating. If the motor operates at virtually open shaft condition, you may save 30% of this so we ar now talking about say 1.5% of the motor rating, or on a 100KW motor, this could be in the order of 1.5KW at zero load. As load is applied, the efficiency climbes and the saving is reduced such that at around 30% shaft load, there is no saving at all.
You need to have a good understanding of the characteristics of motors and motor applications.

Best regards,




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