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[ Spotlight: UPS ] PROTECT YOUR


Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) can ensure businesses and other organisations don’t suffer from potentially costly interruptions in mains power supplies. They also represent big opportunities for the electrical sector, as James Hunt explains


The modular PowerWAVE 9000DPA UPS from


Uninterruptible Power Supplies Ltd (UPSL) is claimed to


offer the lowest total cost of ownership in its class


live without Facebook. Moreover, an OnRelay survey of 330 IT professionals found that 74 per cent needed mobile phones, 88 per cent couldn’t live without their laptops and 68 per cent had to have VPN access. Most ECA Today readers could survive for a few hours


without Facebook, yet all of these services rely upon electricity. Telephones and mobiles, laptops (and their chargers), PCs, tablets, peripherals and servers all depend absolutely upon a good and reliable electricity supply, as do industrial processes. It is not just blackouts that need to be considered either; ‘brownouts’ and other power quality issues can also cause significant disruption – so power quality is important too. The answer is to use an uninterruptible power supply


(UPS), a technology that has now been around for many years, but which is still being improved to cope with ever more difficult power demands. A UPS can avoid un- planned power outages, save valuable data and allow affected equipment to be shut down safely. Certain types of UPS can also maintain longer-term electrical power to essential equipment (‘autonomy’) until mains power returns. UPS technology now represents a multi-billion pound business.


A


mains failure lasting as a little as a millisecond can cause serious consequences, with expensive outages occurring in industry, airports, computer centres and hospitals. In data centres,


the quest is for 99.999 per cent uptime. A survey on behalf of Uninterruptible Power Supplies


has shown that 75.3 per cent of respondents used their UPS equipment for critical applications because of a power outage in the past year. But it is not just businesses that can be affected by mains power failures – individuals can too. In a survey of 1,950 adults by Zogby Interactive, 28 per cent of respondents said they couldn’t live without high-speed internet, while 15 per cent said they couldn’t


UPS will soon become even more important for electrical engineers and designers


Changing demands However, UPS will soon become even more important for electrical engineers and designers faced with providing a totally reliable power supply to protect crucial equipment. Giuliano Digilio, head of Technical Services at the ECA, says: ‘The increasing numbers of UPS that will be installed can also provide major business opportunities for electrical contractors. ‘A significant reason for increase in importance derives


not only from the increasing reliance we have on ever greater numbers of digital devices in businesses, the public domain and personal – many of which consume more electricity as they become more function “rich” – but also from the demand for ever cleaner power. Then there is the changing nature of mains power supplies themselves.


September 2011 ECA Today 29


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