Marc Garner, Vice President, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric UK&I, offers some key guidance for electrical contractors and specifiers on the subject of how to choose, configure and justify the right type of UPS.
The need for business continuity and resilient power has never been more important than it is today. As the demand for digital services, data consumption and connectivity increases, more organisations are becoming dependent on critical power systems that support data centres, buildings, industrial factories and healthcare facilities.
Applications within these environments demand that power is available and uninterrupted at all times, and in order to avoid costly downtime, customers are looking for ways to protect their businesses from outages that can impact on loss of service, revenue and damage to reputation.
Downtime itself has become a key pain point for today’s power-dependent organisations and according to the 2017 Centrica Resilience Report, 39% of businesses experienced unscheduled downtime as a result of an energy-related failure and one in three lost revenue due to power outages. Additionally, 18% of those businesses said that outages have damaged their brand, with 19% citing that relationships with customers have soured as a consequence.
Today the electrical industry, like many others, is beginning to experience an endemic skills shortage, and due to the specialist expertise needed within specific applications and environments, many professionals are beginning to move from traditional electrical install work to data centres and other power-intensive critical infrastructure spaces.
Depending on the type of application a contractor is working with, the complexity of deploying said technology could be significant, which requires electrical professionals to be expertly trained and prioritise safety on site.
As such, new power products and components need to be easy to work with, easy to install, safe to service and maintain. The good news is that as new technologies evolve, manufacturers like Schneider Electric can simplify their designs, make products easy to install and use IoT technologies, alongside data analytics, to help electrical professionals overcome many of these energy-related challenges and bridge the skills gap.
With outages increasing and resiliency becoming a growing concern, deploying new power protection solutions, and having the ability to monitor, manage and check the health status of critical infrastructure equipment in real-time, has become a fundamental consideration for resiliency.
With the advent of IoT and new developments in UPS, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, optimising reliability through data analytics now enables electrical contractors to deliver safer, more simplified maintenance and servicing than ever before.
Furthermore, for organisations that regularly experience unplanned outages or have challenges with power stability, such software helps them to ensure business continuity and minimise the risk of downtime from faulty equipment. Here, management software offers instant access to live data and offers visibility into the UPS health and lifecycle from any location, helping electrical professionals to identify issues quickly, enabling them to respond rapidly and mitigate emerging fault conditions.
Gaining a better understanding of the operating environment and leveraging analytics to offer greater insight into the power infrastructure can also help electrical contractors to lower costs and improve the lifecycle of the component or system. However, helping customers to deploy uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) safely and effectively is an important component of an electrical contractor’s expertise. It requires they know the intricate inner workings of a UPS and understand the pivotal role that UPSs play in providing customers with resilient power infrastructure.
To aid in that effort, Schneider Electric has created a free e-guide that helps electrical contractors gain a key understanding of UPS products and their design. It helps them learn how to better advise customers when choosing between single and three-phase UPSs and appropriately right size them for the application.
Named “UPS Basics for Electrical Contractors & Specifiers: How to Choose, Configure and Cost-Justify,” the guide covers five common UPS configuration options, with increasing levels of redundancy. It details the types of questions contractors need to ask their clients in order to determine their tolerance for risk of downtime, and enables them to more accurately specify the UPS configuration that makes the most sense for the application or environment.
The e-book also offers electrical professionals a high-level overview of UPS types, detailing key features and functions available within the latest models, including new operating modes that save energy and cost, before discussing the importance of UPS maintenance and why it remains crucial to reliable UPS operation.
The Schneider Electric free e-guide is available immediately to electrical contactors by clicking here. Learn how the right type of UPS, deployed in an effective configuration, can minimise losses and prevent disruption from unexpected power events.