Why modular UPS?

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Modular UPS (uninterruptible power supply) is one of the greatest innovations in critical power to have come out in the last ten years. Allowing for greater flexibility, expandability and a lower MTBF (mean time between failures), the technology has found its way to the heart of the industry and is widely regarded as being the future for uninterruptible power supplies.

There have been a number of developments in recent years that make the modular UPS more efficient and suitable for modern data centres and similar applications, looking to reduce cost and increase energy efficiency.

The total cost of ownership of a modular UPS is significantly less than a traditional transformer-based UPS, and could save companies s up to 15% in overall capital expenditure. Here, Peter Chai-Tsai, Sales and Marketing Director at Powertecnique, explains the key benefits of modular UPS and how it can provide ultimate availability without compromising overall efficiency.

Ultimate Availability

"The latest modular UPS systems have enhanced redundancy in both power and control modules. This ensures continuous online operation even in the event of module failure, and avoids downtime caused by single point failures.

"Modular UPS tend to have a small physical footprint as they are normally positioned within the data centre space. The smaller the UPS footprint that you have in a data centre, the more data centre equipment or 19" racks you can install; thus increasing your business options and opportunities to expand.

"It is important to remember that data centres are designed for data processing purposes and not supporting equipment to keep your business operational.

"With the Powertecnique Maxsis XR modular UPS system for example, the hot-swappable modules and components ensure that the Mean Time To Repair (MTTR) is close to zero and therefore both downtime and the risks to your business are minimised. When our engineers attend site, we are able to swap out any faulty module and replace it with a new one immediately instead of spending time to repair it on site as you need to do with traditional UPS systems. This functionality allows engineers to bring back failed modules to the factory and repair them while a new module is already on site.

High Scalability

"Modular UPS' vertical expansion supports N+X redundancy in a single rack enclosure to save on footprint and its parallel expansion does not require additional hardware. The variable configurations provide scalable flexibility up to Tier 4 level, and make it easy for the modular UPS to function on a pay-as-you-grow basis.

"From day one you will need to install the necessary infrastructure for your final system configuration but you do not need to add in a lot of UPS power all at once if you do not need it. With modular UPS, you can add in modules as your load increases and to include module redundancy. It is important that the infrastructure is initially implemented, but if you only need to use around 25% of it to start with, you don't have to spend the additional 75% on additional modules until they are ready to be installed as your load grows.

"For example, you can start with a 800kVA modular architecture that will be populated with modules say up to 100kVA, then gradually build it up to populate the 800kVA available space that you have designed for. This functionality allows you to expand as your IT load demand increases and doesn't leave with you unnecessarily large upfront costs. This helps to reduce the total cost of ownership by achieving high efficiency, scalability and reducing maintenance costs which allows you to operate on a pay-as-you-grow basis.

Excellent Power Performance and Efficiency

"The modular UPS operates on a unity basis (1kVA=1kW) in order to maximise power availability. The high operational efficiency of 95% at light load and 96% efficiency at 100% load results in marked energy cost savings. Our new Modular UPS systems can even achieve 99% in energy saving eco-modes.

Easy Maintenance

"Modular UPS systems offer a built-in manual maintenance bypass features to eliminate maintenance-related downtime. Its proactive detection of fan failure and module faults offers early diagnosis on UPS malfunctions. The 'plug and play' modularity is able to simplify the maintenance process.

Remote Monitoring

"Remote Monitoring (PV) of Modular UPS systems again reduces downtime as diagnostics of any faults is done remotely by the manufacturer ensuring that any parts or modules required arrive with the specialist engineer again achieving first time fix and Mean Time to Repair (MTTR)."

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