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How to select, deploy and maintain the right UPS solution

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An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is a vital piece of equipment for any business. It serves as a safeguard against power outages, brownouts, and other power disturbances that can cause damage to electronic equipment and disrupt operations.

Without a UPS, a power outage can result in lost data, hardware damage and even complete system failures. This can have a significant impact on an organisation, from lost productivity and revenue to reputational damage, as well as safety implications for people in places like hospitals and airports.

In this article, we will delve into the key aspects of maintaining a UPS and ensuring that it is functioning at its optimal level. From choosing the right UPS for your power needs to configuring it correctly, to regular maintenance and effective troubleshooting, we will cover everything you need to know to keep your UPS running smoothly.

Understanding the benefits of a UPS

One of the main benefits of a UPS is that it provides a temporary power source during a power outage, enabling equipment to continue running without interruption. This allows businesses to maintain operations, save data, and safely shut down servers and computers or turn on generators in case of longer outages. This can be especially important for businesses that rely on critical systems like servers, phone systems, and medical equipment.

Another important aspect of a UPS is that it can help protect against power surges and voltage fluctuations. These can cause damage to electronic equipment and shorten its lifespan, leading to costly repairs or replacements. A UPS acts as a buffer, absorbing energy and regulating the power supply to protect electronic devices from damage and provide power and business continuity.

Choosing the right UPS and configuring it correctly

So, with a UPS being mission critical, it’s clear that ensuring it is performing optimally is also of paramount importance. The first step in ensuring that a UPS is functioning at its best is choosing the right one for the business’ power requirements and configuring it correctly.

The power requirements of a business can vary greatly, depending on the size of the operation, the autonomy time needed and the types of equipment that are being used. For example, a small retail store may have different power requirements than a large manufacturing facility. Regardless of size, it is important to select a UPS that is capable of meeting the specific needs. This includes considering factors such as the amount of power that will be required, the type of equipment that will be connected to the UPS, and the duration of power outages that could take place.

Choosing the right UPS is just the initial step. In fact, a broad variety of project services supporting the deployment at site – the proper installation and control settings, the start-up of the equipment and the testing of the application – are a prerequisite to maximise UPS performance. The UPS selection is as important as its start-up and testing as these lay the foundations for optimal performance and operation throughout the life of the UPS.

Harnessing new technologies

There are several technological innovations that can improve the efficiency and durability of a UPS. These include advanced battery management systems, which can extend the life of the batteries used in a UPS, and advanced power management control, which can optimise the performance and minimise energy losses of the UPS. Additionally, new technologies such as fuel cells and flywheels are being developed to improve the efficiency and reliability of UPS systems.

Innovations such as high-frequency Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBTs) and digital signal processing systems (DSPS) are being developed to improve the speed and control of UPS systems. Not only do these technologies increase the quantity of power, but they also allow for faster switching between modes of operation. All of these technologies are currently being developed with the aim of including them in new-generation UPS’s together with direct digital controls and power metrics. They will provide significant benefits to maintaining optimal UPS operation and performance.

What’s more, as energy costs can fluctuate significantly throughout the day, a UPS with battery backup allows businesses to store energy when it is cheaper and use it when energy costs are higher. This can result in significant savings on energy bills and help mitigate the financial pressure caused by rising energy costs, which is especially useful whilst energy prices are high.

Ensuring lifecycle operations through services

Regular maintenance is also crucial if a UPS is to function at its best. The UPS is made up of various components, and over time, some of these components can age and require replacement. By performing regular maintenance, businesses can ensure that these components are replaced before they fail, which can prevent costly downtime. Additionally, regular maintenance can help identify potential issues early, allowing businesses to address them before they become major problems.

Remote monitoring and diagnostics are becoming increasingly relevant in UPS maintenance; allowing businesses to keep their UPS monitored in real-time and having equipment data continuously analysed enables early detection of anomalies. Additionally, being connected can provide valuable data on how the UPS is being used, which can be leveraged to optimise its performance. UPS vendors offer service contracts to minimise downtime and maximise efficiency and total cost of ownership with direct field engineers and increasingly, digital services.

Making sure your mission critical equipment is always up to the job

So, it’s clear that a UPS is essential for businesses, and that it’s vital not only to have a UPS in place, but also to ensure that it is working properly and that potential issues are spotted early. Deploying a UPS with the latest technology features allows for maximum efficiency, support for the grid, lower energy costs and increased protection to the load.

Ultimately, managing a UPS is not just about purchasing and installing it. It is also about taking a holistic approach to its management, from initial purchase and installation through regular maintenance, repair and eventual decommissioning and responsible disposal to reduce the environmental impact of the UPS.

Giovanni Zanei and Flora Cavinato
Giovanni Zanei and Flora Cavinato
Giovanni Zanei, Senior Director AC Power Global Offering & EMEA Business Leader, & Flora Cavinato, Director, Global Service Product Portfolio, at Vertiv

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