CRACKING THE PRICING CODE: HOW YOUR AUTOMATIC VOLTAGE REGULATOR IS ACTUALLY PAYING FOR ITSELF.
22 Jun 2022
Est. Reading Time: 11 minutes
It isn’t surprising to get spooked by the hefty price tag of an Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR).
After all, as a M&E Project Manager or a Facility Executive, you’re constantly looking out for cost-effective solutions to solve a pain point—without incurring unnecessary budget-bursting expenses.
As for business stakeholders, oftentimes you may find yourself in a dilemma—torn between investing in an Automatic Voltage Regulator, and channeling your resources elsewhere that seem to be of greater value.
Which is rather common because…
The high perceived barrier to entry into acquiring a Premium Grade Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR) can be intimidating on paper—holding you back from achieving your operational goals.
But what many electrical specialists soon realize is how a simple AVR installation could very much be that ‘Lifeline’ or ‘Insurance’ against the common enemy—downtime.
Worrying about the AVR cost and forgoing its benefits can definitely expose your business premises to disastrous voltage fluctuations, surges, and other detrimental electrical anomalies. These irregularities can silently cripple high-value equipment, cause immediate and expensive interruptions, or even send your entire business operations to a grinding halt.
According to Bloomberg,
an hour of power disruption could cost large manufacturing firms a hefty US$5 Million or more.
The studies clearly show that even the slightest power interruptions or unplanned downtime are significantly pricier than the initial investment of your AVR cost.
Installing an Automatic Voltage Regulator unquestionably protects businesses from the catastrophic consequences of unpredictable power quality. It spares organisations from hitting the panic button to deal with reputational, financial, and material damage.
In this article, we explore various types of Automatic Voltage Regulator and why purchasing a high-quality AVR is a sound investment for your business operations. We’ve dispelled unfounded myths to help you better understand the key considerations and what to scrutinize—so you can make a more informed decision to help safeguard your electrical systems, improve operational efficiency, and confidently ensure business continuity.
Let’s find out how…
Exploring Varieties & Qualities
How to choose your AVR
Choosing an AVR can be a daunting process for those who aren’t familiar with the technicalities of power regulating equipment. With possibly a hundred types of AVR available in the market, choosing one that fits your needs can be a challenging process. Generally, there are 4 main types of AVR dominant in the market—but the two most common types of AVRs are the Servo Voltage Regulator and the Magnetic Induction Regulator.
Servo Regulator (Servo AVR)
Servo voltage regulators are well-known for their ultra-precise output accuracy, thanks to a smooth rotating mechanism that forms a feedback circuit with the internal buck-boost transformer.
The Servo AVR helps optimally stabilise incoming voltage fluctuations by using a servo-connected carbon brush to seamlessly glide across a variable transformer’s pre-smoothened (copper winding) surface. This produces a continuous and stepless output voltage delivery—regardless of load change.
You can expect…
superb voltage regulating accuracy of up to ±0.5% of your required
output voltage values—no matter the severity of your voltage anomalies.
In addition to providing precision voltage regulation, a Servo AVR is also extremely responsive and robust. A servo installation possesses the ability to mitigate potential irregularity within 1.5ms or less and can handle surge ratings up to 10x of its current rating for 2 seconds. To uphold maximum efficiency, occasional ocular maintenance is more than sufficient.
Servo regulators strike a perfect balance between cost, quality, and reliability. Government Agencies like The United Nations and the U.S. Military use Ashley Edison’s electronically enhanced servo regulator to thoroughly protect and prolong equipment lifespan—by ensuring a clean, stable, and uncompromising voltage supply.
Magnetic Induction Regulator
Magnetic induction regulators alleviate concerns of costly, time-consuming, and frequent maintenance. This type of AVR operates by frictionlessly adjusting the primary and secondary winding distance to maintain a consistent output voltage level. It is powered by a microcontroller-based circuit, which samples the output and rotates the secondary rotor.
Like servo regulators, magnetic induction AVR offers excellent output voltage accuracy of ±1.5% compared to other types of AVRs with up to ±10% imprecision (e.g. Static Voltage Regulator). Magnetic induction AVRs also provide high tolerance against overloads, voltage fluctuations, and power factor irregularities. This ensures exceptionally stable supply voltage to infrastructure and load equipment—even in the most challenging electrical environments.
Organisations might be conservative towards the magnetic induction regulator’s premium price tag. This is largely because of how this ‘Brushless Technology’ trumps all AVR variations in terms of reliability and robustness—allowing it to thrive in the harshest conditions, anywhere in the world.
Built to deliver lasting and distinctive power protection against harmful voltage anomalies and voltage fluctuations, its virtually maintenance-free design rewards end users with long-term passive savings. This result is secured from the significant reduction in preventive maintenance efforts—that were once excessively required in most operations.
This key feature ultimately benefits critical applications particularly when the magnetic induction AVR is fitted in remote, hard-to-reach sites. Leading Oil & Gas Producer, Total Energies, uses Ashley Edison’s Magnetic Induction AVR to flawlessly overcome erratic voltage supplies to its facilities.
When Choosing Your AVR
Regardless of your choice of AVR, each model within the specific type possess exclusive characteristics and parameters that meet your unique installation requirements.
How much does an avr cost?
The AVR market is led by renowned industry leaders like Schneider Electric, Siemens, ABB, and Ashley Edison. Together, these companies offer a broad range of voltage regulation solutions that encompass a diverse range of business needs.
It is highly essential to understand that each AVR is priced according to its distinct features and benefits, detailed specifications, power rating, quality, built, and support. For example, you can easily purchase a 3 Phase, 100 kVA AVR for as low as US$1,400 on Alibaba, and possibly up to US$8,400 for a premium-grade version from renowned brands.
Remember that a low-cost AVR might not be the best choice if it fails to demonstrate an appropriate level of accuracy, reliability or efficiency.
Some AVRs might cost less up front,
but eventually require costly ongoing maintenance,
exorbitant emergency repairs costs, or worse–painful downtime.
Purchasing a robust, accurate and versatile AVR does not necessarily cost an arm and a leg—as long as your needs are properly communicated, and completely understood by your manufacturer of choice.
What’s most important is to find a suitable solution—that fits your exact requirements in terms of technical specifications, physical limitations, and according to your essential budgets.
Top 3 Reasons
WHY YOUR OPERATION NEEDS AN AVR
With a wide range of essential power solutions in the market to choose from, here’s exactly why you need an AVR to witness results that are both immediate, and reliably long-term.
Complete Transient Voltage Protection
Transients are fast-changing voltage or current that happen in split seconds. In an electrical setup that lacks an AVR, transient events like surge, spike and in-rush current have a direct path to the connected equipment. Without sufficient protection, critical and sensitive loads which are crucial to operational continuity—are at high risks of suffering irreparable damages.
Installing an AVR introduces a ‘Full Protection Layer’ between the main grid or generator supply—and your equipment. If the incoming supply line experiences transients, the AVR will safely suppress and divert the excessive electrical charge to the ground. This ensures that your equipment enjoys continuous protection against voltage or current that exceeds operational limits.
Permanent Elimination Of Unregulated Voltages
A common configuration that businesses adopt includes the use of generators. However, the output voltage is not entirely regulated. This is detrimental to the efficiency and reliability of connected equipment. Unregulated generators can’t maintain a fixed voltage level and are heavily influenced by the load current and incoming supply. This complicates load expansion which results in a further drop in the output voltage.
To ensure your equipment receives a consistent and precise voltage level, install an AVR at the generator’s output. As the AVR ensures that your connected load is powered by steady and clean voltage—it also protects the generator from exciting current beyond its limit. This helps prolong your generator’s lifespan, so you can totally avoid unwanted failures for good.
Additional Short Circuit Protection
A direct connection between a generator and electrical equipment exposes the former to load short circuits. If one of the connected equipment fails and shorts the supply line, the generator will work even harder—just to ramp up the output current to the abnormally low load impedance. This means that the generator is bound to eventually fail, causing damages that are beyond economic repair, or even unplanned downtime.
Connecting an AVR to the generator’s load provides robust short circuit protection. The AVR constantly monitors the output voltage and immediately responds when it detects a short. In short, an AVR acts as an added active current-limiting protection to prevent your generator from overloading.
What Are The Consequences Of
Not Installing An AVR For Your Operations?
For mission-critical applications, it is essential to secure your equipment with an AVR. A stable, clean, and protected power supply is necessary for medical, data centres, manufacturing, retail, and other similar use cases. The long-term benefits of installing an AVR far outweigh the upfront cost of purchasing the units.
by Ponemon Institute in Michigan show that without adequate protection, business facilities like Data Centers could potentially suffer unplanned downtime costs up to US$9,000 per minute—or US$12,960,000 per day!
This does not include the cost to repair or replace faulty equipment that results from sudden voltage surges, voltage fluctuations, voltage sags, or short circuits. Besides that, your business also suffers from production disruptions, which negatively and directly impact your sales, delivery, customer relationships, and long-standing reputation.
Financial Fundamentals of an AVR
In this infographic, we demonstrate a real-life case study of the importance of an AVR, how the cost of an AVR is actually paying for itself, and how it genuinely makes your initial investment—worth every cent. The basis of why an AVR is hugely important is that it provides a completely reinforced level of voltage defense for high-value equipment in critical applications.
Consider an example in the medical industry, where setting up an X-ray room with Premium GE and Siemens medical equipment—can cost anything between US$95,000 and US$175,000.
When protection is left to chance,
the high risks of unplanned failures could be regrettably detrimental to business operations.
- These medical equipment are connected to the incoming grid and rated at 25 kVA maximum. The X-ray unit can potentially generate a revenue of US$25,000 per day.
- An unprotected X-ray machine is at risk of inherent voltage irregularities and unpredictable technical failure. Without an active radiology room, the medical establishment stands to lose up to US$25,000 of unearned revenue daily.
- Based on prices obtained from recognised medical equipment manufacturers, we can project that subsequent repair works would conservatively incur a cost of approximately US$35,000.
- In a plausible event that the necessary spare parts are periodically unavailable, and the faulty equipment remains inoperational for an entire work week, this could work out to a hefty financial loss of US$160,000 in total—in just 5 days.
However, should the medical facility have secured the X-ray machine with the optimum voltage protection it needs, the initial investments in a suitable AVR solution would amount to an average of just US$5,500—even if you were to add on comprehensive servicing.
The figures alone may seem either like a no-brainer, or even “too good to be true”.
That’s because, in comparison with an X-ray equipment’s eventual cost of damage, revenue loss, emergency repair works, and secondary impacts—this simple yet all-encompassing voltage regulating solution is a mere fraction of the potential expenses involved during a complete failure.
Because harmful voltage anomalies are vastly inherent, it is always wise to pay close attention to the importance of an AVR under the pretext of cost—so you can completely avoid exposing your business to such preventable risks when possible.
Additionally, it is neither a sound strategy to purchase a low-cost but questionably manufactured AVR—with hopes of the same outstanding results.
In summary, securing your operations with an ideal AVR significantly reduces your risk of unplanned disruption. Apart from providing you the unstoppable confidence knowing that your precious uptime is fully guarded—you’re now able to sit back and enjoy definite long-term passive returns on your investment.
There is so much at stake when deciding on the perfect voltage regulator for your application. An AVR shouldn’t be perceived as an unnecessary expense, but rather as a vehicle that drives your operational stability forward—especially through harsh electrical environments.
Fast-growing and forward-thinking organisations that prioritise uptime, safety, productivity, and undisrupted service delivery must absolutely secure their facilities with AVR installations.
We’ve shown you the industry’s favorite types of AVR that suit different industrial needs, and how installing a high-quality AVR eventually leads to a positive financial return. At Ashley Edison, we firmly believe that the best AVR for your needs—is one that is purposefully designed to be on point, and on budget.
Since 1977, Ashley Edison continues to deliver total power protection with top-of-the-range customised AVR solutions that dependably optimise facilities in multiple industries—across the world.
Speak to our Voltage Specialist for a comprehensive consultation, or drop us an email at email@example.com to discover how you can effectively solve your power problems—permenantly.
To learn more about Ashley Edison’s Automatic Voltage Regulators, visit our product page here.
Curious to see how this Top Australian Joinery Manufacturing Company is reaping huge rewards from their AVR? Read this case study.