DCN September 2017 - Page 41

cloud management geographical location. However, one challenge we do see where UPS systems are monitored remotely, is the shift to closed protocol systems that lock customers in to expensive ongoing monitoring contracts which can be costly and don’t always offer the best customer service. We work using an open protocol system and can take over the monitoring of any UPS system and the customer is not tied-in to us should they ever choose to use a different service provider. At the other end of the scale, a growing number of companies are seen advertising as UPS suppliers and maintainers, but are actually only resellers with no in-house service capability, again potentially leaving customers vulnerable as they are not offering robust enough service contracts. Some good advice The other challenge faced by many organisations is that some less scrupulous service providers are taking advantage of clients by not providing best advice. This is particularly so, when there is a sales division and a service department essentially competing with each other to extract budget from the client. The sales team want to hit their targets so want to sell the latest kit, they may therefore advise replacement when a UPS can be repaired economically. On the other hand, the service department want legacy equipment to continue for as long as possible as this requires more servicing and parts replacement and adds to their bottom line, even if the repairs are uneconomical for the customer. At MPower we work in a different way. We only aim to provide best advice and a UPS solution designed to eliminate risks that may result in the downtime of business-critical applications. We don’t tie companies in to our systems or contracts. Our values may seem old fashioned but our goal is to do the best job possible for a reasonable price. Availability, reliability and resilience One key area customers do need to consider when purchasing a UPS system is availability. This relates not just to the reliability of the equipment itself, which is clearly of great importance, but also its resilience to faults or events, both internal to the equipment and external. For example, a UPS system can be extremely reliable, but when a fault eventually does occur, then the system fails completely and loses load power or transfers to bypass, leaving the critical load vulnerable on raw mains. One way this can be avoided is through modular UPS systems. We anticipate flexible, modular systems will increasingly replace traditional stand alone and parallel systems with the drive for high availability, fast repair and commonality of parts, as well as reduced system footprint. The idea when it comes to modular systems is that there is a single frame, containing a number (N) of power modules, all running together and sharing the load ‘Availability relates not just to the reliability of the equipment itself, but also its resilience to faults or events.’ equally between them all. Some systems also have modular battery packs providing the DC backup to all the power modules. The big advantage of this format is that you can have more modules than actually needed in order to power the load. Therefore, if one module fails, the load is simply shared out amongst the remaining modules. Similarly, one module can be shut down and isolated for maintenance whilst the load continues to be supported by the remaining modules. Maintenance is made easier. A module can easily be removed from the UPS frame for maintenance, while leaving the remainder to support the load. There is no requirement to transfer the system to external bypass, i.e. raw mains, for routine maintenance. This obviously eliminates the risk to the critical load by being on mains, but also eliminates the risk of human error whilst carrying out the switching procedure between UPS and external bypass. UPS systems are complicated and need to be tailored according to individual requirements. It is essential to select a trusted service provider who will offer best advice, provide the very best solution for the task, and ensure the system is maintained properly in a cost effective and efficient way. September 2017 | 41