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Power Generation - Research & Development and Facility Monitoring

A-Tech Instruments supports the wide range of activities in the Power Generation Industries. There are Sensors and Instrumentation used in the Research and Process Development as well as Data Acquisition and Control Systems.

Our Linear and Rotary Displacement, Speed, Vibration, Load, Torque and Strain Sensors provide Physical Measurements for various feedback in Monitoring and Process Controls.

In the various applications measurements of Level, Pressure, Position, Speed, Vibration, Power Quality, etc. can be measured and controlled using our equipment that provides Signal Processing, Alarming and Data Acquisition.

There are numerous applications from Voltage, Current, Forebay water levels, Gate position, Wind Speed / Direction, Turbine Speed & Acceleration, Pump Speed & Direction measurement, Vibration, etc.

The applications are diverse, starting with Materials Testing, Product Development and Certification. The operational sensors and instrumentation provide real time data and control capability. To use of Sensors and Data Acquisition are also valuable for vibration measurement and data analysis.

Precise measurement of both AC and DC systems

Precise measurement of both AC and DC systems is possible, while ensuring safety by way of high voltage galvanic isolation across input, output and power supply circuits. Quality craftsmanship and sound design, bring peace of mind in applications that demand high reliability for voltage and current measurements. High quality is ensured through careful product development, comprehensive design verification, and 100% testing.

Knick Interface is so confident in the voltage and current measurement solutions, that they offer a 5-year warranty on all products.

Energy production requires regular measurement of the power being produced, by monitoring voltages and currents at different steps of the production and conversion processes, in an effort to gauge performance of the equipment used within the systems and facilities.

Knick Interface voltage and current transducers are key elements in critical applications like:

  • Measurement of DC electrical energy production in Wind Power Turbines
  • Voltage and string current monitoring of inverters on solar arrays for Photovoltaic systems
  • Current measurement and isolation on excitation systems used within Hydro Generated Energy
  • Current monitoring within high voltage drive systems on Wind Turbines
  • Electrical signature of motors for energy optimization and predictive maintenance
  • Measurement of DC voltage input to inverters

Speed Signal Duplication & Isolation

Pulse frequency measurement of speed sensors and rotary encoders for safe detection of the speed with galvanic isolation and conversion into standard signals; measuring ranges: 0 … 500 Hz to 0 … 20 kHz.

The P16000 accepts signals from speed sensors and converts them into electrically isolated standard analog signals for transmission to other instrumentation and/ or control systems. Multiple conditioners can be used to provide signal splitting without degradation of the signal quality, reliability or common mode voltage limitations. Safety-related signals from existing circuits can be duplicated without interaction and can be transmitted to another subsystem.  The absence of interaction is designed to be functionally safe and achieves SIL 3.


1, 2 and 3 Channel Speed Monitoring, Transmitter and Control

Hydro Generation - Generator Excitation, the DC Voltage & Current Measurements  

Power plant generators and associated excitation controls play a critical role in maintaining grid stability. Damage or complete failure of a generator excitation control system can force an unplanned outage, resulting in lost revenue.  The excitation control solution is designed for synchronous generators used in hydro, fossil and nuclear power plants with field current requirements up to 10,000 amps.  Because of these current levels the IEEE 421 Standards for Isolation within Generator Excitation Systems requires high levels of isolation for current and voltage transducers.  Also, extreme accuracy and speed are required to carry out the excitation controls functions. 


The Knick P42000 transducer can safely measure voltages up to 2,200 VDC. Accuracy is maintained through a gain error <0.3% of measured value.  High voltage measurements are made and converted to standard outputs very quickly, proven by a T90 response time of < 110 micro second.  Safety is ensured by way of 3-channel transformer based electrical isolation and test isolation at 10,000V.  


SpeedSys200 OverSpeed Detection

The FT3000 overspeed protection system, formerly supplied by the Jaquet Technology Group (now: TE Connectivity), has been discontinued by the manufacturer. Its obsolescence affects many end-users as the Jaquet FT3000 has been on the market for more than 20 years, with an installed base of thousands protecting critical rotating machinery all over the world. 

The API Standard 670 is an industry standard and describes the minimum requirements for a machine protection system (MPS). This includes, measuring radial shaft vibration, casing vibration, axial shaft position, shaft rotational speed, piston rod drop, phase reference, overspeed and critical machine temperatures.

The standard includes requirements related to hardware (sensors and systems), installation, documentation and testing. In this case, we focus on the part that describes overspeed and this standard. 

An Overspeed condition occurs when the rotational speed of a rotating machine, such as a steam or gas turbine, exceeds its design limits. This can occur when a Power Generation Device, such as a rotating Steam or Gas Turbine is operating at a high output load and the load is unexpectedly lost, causing the Power Generator to accelerate. The Speed Control System that regulates the steam input ( via a large throttle Valve) on the Steam Turbine or the Fuel Regulator Valve on the input to a Gas Turbine is typically programmed for steady RPM control. The Closed Loop PI or PID Controller cannot react fast enough to reduce and correct for the acceleration in the RPM.

The consequences of an overspeed event vary per type of machine and per model. The time that the overspeed event lasts and the degree of overspeed relative to the design limit are also decisive for the consequences.

Even though manufacturers usually give the machinery a certain safety margin in the design with regard to exceeding the maximum rotation speed, an overspeed event can lead to rapid and impactful damage development. To prevent this, it is important to equip the machine with an overspeed monitoring system.

An electronic overspeed detection system consists of speed sensors, power supplies, output relays, signal processing, and alarm /shutdown /integrity logic. Its function is to continuously measure shaft rotational speed and activate its output relays when an overspeed condition is detected.


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