Whenever a new building is built, it usually starts with some ceremonial shovel ceremony and ends with a big, fancy ribbon cutting. But for engineers, builders and owners – it’s the space between that matters the most. Whether it’s building an entirely new facility or simply modernizing an existing one – there are a multitude of important decisions that need to be made.
Among the most important of those is what UPS system you’ll have in your facility. The UPS systems serve two major roles: first they manage incoming utility power and second – they give your building an insurance policy if the power goes out for any reason. The kinds of products you can invest in vary dramatically and your choice will be driven by a wide range of factors – from energy storage and topology, to operational efficiency, size and power density. Every facility is different and every facility needs its own, unique solution.
To make sure you choose the right equipment, you’ll have to think of the following things during the selection process:
The first thing you’re going to need to know is to understand how each different UPS system performs. That includes getting to know its features, topology and how it protects power. It’s also a good idea to see how it handles overloads and step loads – which are pretty common in manufacturing and industrial applications.
For years and years the industry standard was minutes, not seconds – and thanks to leaps and bounds in technology – there are even faster startup times. In some situations, there are systems that can fully support a load within 15 seconds. The old saying is that when seconds count, minutes don’t matter and by choosing a UPS System with less run time, operators can greatly reduce maintenance costs and keep their system’s footprint to a minimum.
The reliability of a UPS system is often not measured by one or two pieces of equipment, but rather the system s a whole. Don’t just take a vendor’ word about their reliability. Ask for research, studies and whitepapers that support their claims. Ask for customer references and contact the ones who’s needs are the closest match to yours.
Understanding your system’s maintenance needs is essential to choosing what kind of system you purchase. Power needs will vary greatly and with that, comes an even more varied range of costs associated with keeping it up and running. Understanding how much goes into your system will help you understand the risks associated.
At the end of the day, you’re making a financial decision. But it’s important to remember that just because something is the most affordable doesn’t mean it’s the best choice. The old saying is that you get what you pay for. At the same time – the most expensive options may have many features that you don’t need. Maintenance, replacement cycles and a whole host of other factors can contribute to your cost.
It’s important for you to get what you need. The best way to do that is to make sure you’re thorough, do your homework and ask questions. Making the right decisions now will impact your facility well beyond that ribbon cutting ceremony. Good luck!