ABB Ability™ enhances power protection device monitoring

Power disturbances have many manifestations: blackouts, voltage sags or swells, noise, frequency variation or harmonics. These are troublesome for installations where reliable power is critical – data centers, financial institutions, healthcare facilities and the like. Such power disturbances and outages can largely be eliminated by installing a dependable uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

Because the UPS is such a crucial part of the IT infrastructure, ABB provides intelligent UPS monitoring solutions that ensure the flow of clean power continues. Now, a step change in such monitoring is being made with the introduction of the ABB AbilityTM cloud. The ABB Ability cloud:

  • Is a scalable and secure platform.
  • Provides virtually unlimited memory space and computing power, making data storage and analytics easier.
  • Allows the UPS owner to transfer and store his encrypted data in an secure way. In fact, the cloud often provides superior data security compared to local IT solutions. Cyber security is a topic close to ABB’s heart and one in which the company invests a lot of time and effort.
  • Permits the customer to be master of his own data and choose with whom he wants to share it: Different access levels can be defined, which ensures people see only what they are supposed to.
  • Is diagnostic and prognostic.
  • Provides service on demand.
  • Allows edge analytics – i.e., applying local analytics algorithms to the live stream of data directly inside the UPS without sharing confidential information with the outside world.

ABB Ability is a Group-wide initiative that takes a huge step forward in connectivity. It is a unified, cross-industry digital capability – extending from device to edge to cloud – with devices, systems, solutions, services and a platform that enables more knowledge of the system, more capabilities and improved performance delivered by the connectivity of ABB Ability enabled equipment.
For power protection applications, this overarching connectivity and digitalization can be exemplified by the potential for improved remote support, enhanced cyber security, dedicated support functions and facilities, and asset health systems.

ABB’s power protection customers are already benefitting from ABB Ability. For example, Elemaster is using it so that service engineers can access not just the Elemaster UPS’s current state but also life cycle status, technical data and documentation, service reports and other relevant data.

And it’s easy: The simplicity of installation of the ABB Ability monitoring at Elemaster avoids the high cost and complex setup of a traditional energy monitoring and management system. Further, once set up, it is possible to extend platform access to further users with specific roles in just a few clicks.

Mr. Luca Ceppi, Chief Information Officer at Elemaster (pictured) says: “The connectivity and overview delivered by the new ABB Ability integration are great. It is now much simpler to obtain an insight into the power system – measurements and information on real-time status are all there, plain to see. This improvement in monitoring will reduce our risk of downtime and should mean less maintenance effort.”

Source

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UPS Trends in Small, Medium, and Large Data Centers

Large cloud and colocation providers are increasing sales of high-end UPSs as they continue to expand and build gigantic data centers. According to IHS Markit, the installed base of three-phase UPS systems with an output of more than 500 kVA grew by 5 percent worldwide between 2016 and 2017. In fact, UPS’s global revenue increased 1.6 percent to $7.44 billion in 2016, and preliminary data suggests that revenue increased by approximately 3 percent in 2017. (Source)

This new market dynamics is forcing UPS providers to adapt. As customer requirements have changed, manufacturers have redesigned their UPS products and accelerated their manufacturing processes to meet customer demands for faster delivery. Because customers demand only what they need and demand scalability when needed, infrastructure is becoming more and more on-demand.

The big trends:

  • High-end UPS products for large data centers will continue to be the fastest growing segment of the market.
  • However, the lower end of the market is expected to recover. UPS systems in the 10.1 to 100 kVA range will stabilize and grow in the coming years as more and more companies adopt the hybrid cloud model and require smaller UPSs for their remaining local workloads.
  • Many companies have moved a lot of workloads to the cloud, but still have to manage internally remaining business-critical applications, such as old ERP and manufacturing applications that cannot be easily migrated to the cloud. With fewer internal workloads, these companies need smaller internal data centers with new IT infrastructure that include new UPS systems for the smaller sized rooms.
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UPS today and tomorrow: What you need to know

According to experts, better batteries, modularity, and artificial intelligence are the most important innovations for future-proof UPS.

Batteries

Many experts assume that more lithium-ion batteries will be installed in the future. Especially because their prices have fallen sharply in recent years. Nevertheless, lead-acid standby batteries with longer lifetimes will be the most cost-effective choice for standard UPS applications in the foreseeable future. There are also some very interesting new technical developments in the battery world that could eventually lead to the replacement of lithium ions.

Modularity

Energy efficiency is particularly important in the industry; it reflects a general change in attitudes towards sustainability and climate change. UPS technology today is very advanced and modern UPS systems must be highly efficient.

UPS operators are continually considering how best to integrate these systems into their infrastructure to maximize efficiency while ensuring consistency and resilience with minimal investment. As a result, modern modular UPS systems with energy-saving functions are becoming increasingly popular, which can be easily expanded as a customer’s load increases while ensuring continuous availability.

Artificial Intelligence

Quite simply, Artificial Intelligence is the ability that machines “learn” on the basis of data. Or in other words, the ability to perform operations on the basis of newly acquired information, under supervision or unattended.

This development will also contribute to an improvement of the critical IT infrastructure, which makes operational processes, application performance and availability possible in the first place. Take a company where management does not tolerate any downtime and expects ultra-low business latency. The idea of a power failure would be a nightmare for the CIO. Artificial intelligence has the potential to redefine the critical systems on which such organizations depend. For example, the UPS of the future could send forward-looking warnings to the engineering team or be able to diagnose itself and resolve problems. With the right systems, the risk of default losses could be a thing of the past.

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Why UPS efficiency has improved so much over the past 10 years

The operators of data centers must ensure the highest possible efficiency and at the same time ensure the uninterrupted operation of your system. An article on upspower.co.uk now examines UPS’s contribution to these requirements.

The result is clear: UPS efficiency has improved significantly over the last 10 years:

“According to UPSL findings, it has progressed from 94% 10 years ago to 96% today, with 97% being forecast.“

The reason is new, better technologies.

“[It] relates to the change from transformer-based to transformerless technology. Early UPS designs depended on a transformer to step up the inverter output voltage to a level compatible with the utility or generator supply. However, advances in power semiconductor technology and the appearance of the Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) device have eliminated the need for a step-up transformer; this allows more efficient, smaller and lighter UPS designs.“

Find out more about the progress in UPS efficiency here.

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ABB launches new lithium-ion battery systems for ABB UPS solutions

ABB launches a lithium-ion battery system that perfectly suits a comprehensive range of ABB uninterruptible power supply (UPS) solutions. 

Low cost of ownership, long life span, lightweight, high safety level and compactness are just some of the advantages that lithium-ion technology has over the sealed lead-acid batteries that have been the workhorse of the industry until now.

Valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries – sometimes known as sealed lead–acid batteries – have traditionally been the battery of choice for backup power in UPS systems. However, lithium-ion battery technology has progressed rapidly in recent years, making it an attractive option – especially where high-energy density and low weight are important.
Other advantages over VRLA batteries – such as longer life span, better availability, smaller size, shorter recharging times and continually falling prices – only add to the appeal of lithium-ion battery solutions. Lithium-ion batteries are much more tolerant to changes in environmental temperature and can operate over a broad temperature range – a decisive factor in hot countries and a feature that keeps cooling costs down.

The ABB lithium-ion battery solution is accommodated in a standard 19” cabinet. All connectors are front-facing for ease of installation, maintenance and replacement. A single cabinet configuration of 34.6 kWh comprises a switchgear element, a switched-mode power supply (SMPS) and 17 battery modules. Each module contains eight series-connected 67 Ah, 3.8 V cells and a dedicated battery management system (BMS) with cell balancing functionality. The switchgear collects all information about each battery cell, calculating the state of charge (SoC) and state of health (SoH). The SMPS supplies the power for the BMS and communicates with the UPS and other connected cabinets. Battery cabinets are compact, thus saving real estate and increasing power density, and may be connected in parallel to achieve the power needed.

Lithium-ion batteries are easy to handle – they do not contain mercury, lead, cadmium, or other hazardous materials. In most cases, traditional batteries would need to be replaced multiple times before a lithium-ion battery is replaced once. These characteristics lower maintenance overheads.

Federico Resmini, product manager for ABB’s Energy Storage Solutions, said: “Lithium-ion battery systems employ the very latest in battery technology and directly address the two top concerns of critical power users: availability and total cost of ownership.”
The high-reliability and high-availability lithium-ion battery solution provides peace of mind for operators using UPSs in data centers, hospitals and medical centers, offices, banks, education centers, transportation and manufacturing, to name but a few.

Source

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How to Increase Data Center Reliability and Service Delivery through Training

The majority of data center outages are blamed on “human error” stemming from a lack of knowledge or procedural mistake. Inadequate training can lead to a situation where operators are unprepared to respond to an incident and mishandle it. A robust training program drives reliability and predictable outcomes. A highly trained staff will also be equipped to maximize infrastructure utilization and can extend the life of your existing assets.

That’s where the Uptime Instute’s 18-page “How to Develop a Data Center Training Program” comes in. The useful guide helps data center facility managers and IT operations leaders build a data center training program, offers recommendations for materials a training program should cover, provides guidance on which personnel should be trained, and which skills are necessary.

For example, it also concludes that it should be a requirement to have staff that is fully knowledgeable in electrical theory (to include UPS and power distribution), code, practical wiring, advanced refrigeration theory, and mechanical code.

You can download the guide for free at Uptime Institute’s Website»   

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