Monday May 23, 2022

Five key UPS system considerations

The cost of power failures and brown-outs is both high and rising. Companies often neglect to assess their losses but according to recent surveys, it averages £110,000-£745,000 per annum for mid-sized companies. Each failure costs £7,500-£15,000.

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Take out a data centre and the total costs to businesses using it is nearly £6,000 per minute.

As dependence upon IT and automation increases, so too does the damage. Interruption of a factory control panel can destroy entire production runs and plant equipment. The costs are also higher in businesses heavily data-dependent, like banking and finance. Causes include solar flares, power grid spikes, technician errors, crime, weather and gnawing animals. Cybercrime is an increasing concern, but 25% of IT outages are caused by unreliable power supplies.

Uninterruptable power supplies

UPS devices and strategies pay for themselves many times over. Even in organisations that have emergency generators (hospitals, for example), UPS devices are needed to bridge the gap until emergency power kicks in. UPS also insulate sensitive components from spikes and surges.

Buying the first devices you see makes no sense when the point is to secure enterprise critical systems. Behind brand names including Powerware and Best Power is Eaton UPS Systems, a global leader (see some of the range here

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Five strategies for power security

Several can be used in combination. For individual computers or critical equipment there are off the shelf devices. Their power extends up to 20kVA for single phase, 400kVA for three phase.

For businesses with a clear idea of their total requirements, specialists will design solutions covering entire server rooms, networks or data centres. Eight units in parallel can provide up to 6.4MVA of protection.

UPS batteries can provide significant backup power, but only when in good condition. All degrade over time so knowing exactly how much charge you can rely upon requires meticulous monitoring.

Another approach is a remote monitoring service. There are often indications in your circuits that problems are developing so the service acts as an early warning system, allowing you to take preventative or protective measures. The approach often suits companies that must complete production runs uninterrupted, or need power to shut down safely. Both grids and networks can be monitored for problems.

Maintenance contracts provide the fifth strategy. Regular testing of both main circuits and UPS backups give you complete peace of mind.

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