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In The Spotlight… Minkels’ Nexpand Cabinet Airflow Management Platform

With a diverse set of challenges facing data centres now and in the future, Olaf de Jong, Manager of R&D at Legrand, explains how the Nexpand Cabinet Airflow Management Platform by Minkels – a brand of Legrand – is helping operators keep energy efficiency a priority.

DCR: Could you elaborate on how the Nexpand Cabinet Airflow Management Platform was developed and designed in response to data centre energy efficiency challenges?

ODJ: During the development phase, we already knew that we had to do put the focus on energy efficiency, and so we tried to do that from the start as a top priority in the design. Therefore, we completely redesigned it from the start, with the top priority on energy efficiency.

DCR: What are the key features of the Nexpand Cabinet Airflow Management Platform, and what sets it apart from competitors?

ODJ: From the start, one of the key features was to have an air dam in the cabinet. And this is to completely seal off all surroundings of the computer equipment. So that was the first big challenge – to completely close this.

Also, we have designed blanking plates where no computers are installed, and they are also designed in a special way so that they are completely airtight.

Third, this is an upcoming feature that is also very key in the future design of data centres – it’s the top of the cabinets, and it’s closing off the cables with a special patented solution that we developed, and it will come to the market in the coming year. This is an upcoming feature.

We also designed some special air seal plinths to close the gap when the cabinet is levelled to the ground.

And finally, we have also designed special foam brushes because we know that brushes are not airtight at all. So this foam brush closes the gap when installed with cables, and it has an improvement of being 80% more airtight than when using normal brushes. There is also an air seal that seals the gap between cabinets when they are bayed together. So that’s the total packages of airflow measurements we can take, and this leads to 90% better airflow conditions than our competitors.

DCR: Could you tell us more about the real-world impacts of the Nexpand Cabinet Airflow Management Platform on your clients’ operations?

ODJ: All of these measurements contribute to the energy efficiency of our customers, and we see that by having better temperature control in front of the computer equipment, and also higher return temperatures, it improves the cooling efficiency of the data centre. And that also contributes to the performance on the data centre level, so that overall efficiency is improved by these measurements.

DCR: Could you provide more detail on the independent testing conducted to evaluate the performance of the Nexpand Cabinet Airflow Management Platform compared to competitors’ solutions?

ODJ: We use a third-party lab, which is certified to do building certifications. We use these standards to prove our solution – more can be found about this in our whitepaper, which you can download from our website – and there is proof that we are up to 90% better than our competitors.

The transcript of this video interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

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