How to choose an UPS for today’s and tomorrow’s demands

In an article published in the December 2016 edition of Inside Networks Alan Luscombe, director at Uninterruptible Power Supplies Ltd. discusses how data center managers can use the latest modular UPS topology to achieve the highest power availability and efficiency.

For many of today’s businesses going offline is not an option. High UPS availability is essential for delivering stable data center services to fulfill these needs. But increasing demand of data center power also puts pressure on the general availability of power.

Therefore facility managers are looking for UPS systems that offer the most efficient possible operation along with the highest availability that can be practically achieved. Luscombe: „Fortunately, evolution in UPS technology, particularly modular UPS solutions, enables implementations that can satisfy both these objectives.“

And further: „While data center and ICT facility operators remain under ever-increasing pressure to achieve near-perfect power availability and efficiency, modern UPS technology offers many tools to help them if it is deployed correctly. Availability can be maximised by using hot-swap modular topology in a redundant configuration. Newer technologies have raised UPS energy efficiency, and this efficiency can be further improved by using Eco Mode if site conditions and ICT equipment allow.“



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New energy-saving feature for DPA 500 UPS: Maximum efficiency in all loading conditions

ABB’s Xtra VFI / double conversion mode delivers maximum efficiency by dynamically adjusting the DPA 500 UPS configuration to match the load.

The figure shows how the Xtra VFI operating mode can enhance efficiency when running at a low load level for a Conceptpower DPA 500 modular UPS system with 10 UPS modules (100 kW) and total available capacity of 1 MW.

ABB has announced a significant new energy-saving feature for its DPA 500 uninterruptible power supply (UPS). In Xtra VFI / double conversion mode, the UPS automatically configures the number of modules that are active to match the load power requirements. Modules that are not needed are switched to standby, ready to transfer to active mode if the load increases. The efficiency improvements achieved by this mode of operation are especially significant in low-load conditions.

When a UPS is operating at significantly under capacity, its energy efficiency can be negatively impacted. With ABB’s Xtra VFI operating mode – currently available for the DPA 500 UPS only – this problem is solved. Xtra VFI mode is a smart way to minimize losses and improve efficiency safely when running in double conversion mode.

When Xtra VFI mode is enabled, the UPS automatically adjusts the number of active modules according to the load power requirements. Modules that are not needed are switched to a standby state of readiness, primed to transfer back to active mode if the load increases. The efficiency improvements achieved by this mode of operation are especially significant when the load is less than 25 percent of full UPS system capacity – an operating condition in which traditional UPS systems fare poorly.

The DPA 500 calculates the optimal loading for each of its modules, taking into account the desired redundancy level selection and other set parameters. To ensure smooth operation in each application, the highest expected load step can be set by the user, as can the number of redundant modules that should be active at any time. Hysteresis prevents the modules from switching on or off when close to the threshold. To increase reliability, extend service life and equalize ageing, the system rotates the modules between active and standby mode at fixed intervals.

Should there be a mains failure or other abnormal situation, all modules revert to active mode within milliseconds.

Since its recent introduction to the market, the DPA 500 UPS has proven very popular: ABB’s decentralized parallel architecture (DPA) is the most advanced approach to modularized UPS available. With DPA, each standardized module has all the hardware and software needed for autonomous operation. Modules can be swapped without powering off. Systems can be scaled up by simply adding more modules. Because of its very flat efficiency curve, the DPA 500 is very efficient in most operating working regimes and Xtra VFI mode increases this capability even further.

The Xtra VFI feature will be of special interest for large and colocation data center users where energy efficiency is a topic of great interest. A pilot installation of Xtra VFI mode has been running smoothly and effectively for some time in a large data center in Germany.

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Recommended reading: How static switches contribute to power continuity

There are circumstances under which even the best of UPSs are unable to provide full on-line protection. Even though modern modular UPSs can achieve as much as 99.9999% availability, the chance of a UPS failure does still exist.

This is where static switches are invaluable. A static switch is used to transfer the load between the UPS inverter output and a bypass supply. This article by UPS Ltd explains in more detail how static switches contribute to power continuity.

The static switch – typically using semiconductor silicon controlled rectifiers (SCRs) rather than mechanical switching elements – is an intelligent device that decides whether to use the UPS inverter output or the raw mains to supply the load. This decision is made by logic within the switch and/or the UPS’s control system, which continuously monitors the bypass and inverter voltages.

Thus, static switches are essential for ensuring no-break transfers between inverter and bypass, and for ensuring personnel safety during on-line UPS maintenance and repairs.

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Report predicts: Modular UPS to Grow at Twice the Rate as Compared to Traditional UPS Systems

In a new report, the analysts of Frost & Sullivan predict, that the global modular UPS market is expected to grow at a high pace until 2020, almost twice as fast as the traditional UPS market. The growth rates are expected to further accelerate post 2017. In 2015, North America and Europe accounted for majority of the total market revenues, with a combined share of 57.0%.

However, Asia-Pacific (including China) is the single largest revenue contributor. Emerging markets are expected to grow at a faster rate than developed markets. China will be the fastest growing region during the forecast period, followed by rest of Asia-Pacific. North America is expected to register the lowest CAGR among all regions between 2015 and 2020.

Further predictions are:

  • Penetration of modular UPS systems will gain more traction in non-data centre applications such as telecom, commercial, etc. towards 2020. This will be driven by the increasing awareness leves among end users.
  • Even though the awareness levels for modular UPS will increase, traditional UPS systems will dominate the market in the foreseeable future.

For more details see the infographic below.

Source: Frost & Sullivan | Analysis of Global Modular UPS Market»

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Why power factor has to be taken into account when specifying a UPS

When specifying a new UPS, its power rating must be well matched to the job in hand. If the UPS cannot handle the real power and the reactive power consumed by the load an overload situation will quickly develop that could lead to UPS damage or outage and the critical load becoming unprotected.

However, picking the correct power rating is not as straightforward as it may seem as, for most applications, the aspect of power factor and load profile will have to be taken into consideration.

To find out how this approach can be taken in practice, we highly recommend the ABB White Paper “Power factor and the uninterruptible power supply” by Elina Hermungen.

Download (PDF, 125KB)

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ABB’s UPS makes a show in Vietnam

ABB’s DPA UPScale ST UPS and PCS 100 featured at power and automation show in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Vietnam’s expanding economy is driving a growing demand for electricity. Governmental and other agencies are, therefore, striving to ensure that the country’s power infrastructure keeps up with national needs. One important aspect of this effort is the staging of an annual international electric power industry event to enhance intra-regional power trade, promote investment and foster technology transfer. Held in mid-September and co-hosted with the Industrial Automation Vietnam 2016 show, the Electric and Power Vietnam event is now in its sixth year and has established itself as one of the region’s major power shows.

Mr. Richard Yue, ABB’s Local Division Sales Manager, played a key role in setting up and running the ABB part of the event. He explains, “the show is one of the major events of its kind in the region, with 7000 m2 of exhibition space, over 150 exhibitors from 22 countries and seven international group pavilions.”

With over 4600 participants and 195 group delegations, the event was extremely well attended – a sign of the vigorous growth of the power business in Vietnam. Derrick Koh, ABB’s Regional Sales Manager for Asia was very satisfied with the success of the ABB stand, “I am pleased to say that the ABB stand was the most crowded and attractive of the whole show, with various products and solutions displayed – including the DPA UPScale ST UPS and the PCS 100, which both attracted a lot of interest.”

At the ABB stand, visitors were made aware of the importance of various power quality issues and how ABB solutions such as the DPA UPScale ST UPS can help resolve them. Over two days, seminars were held to describe in more detail power quality challenges and ABB solutions for them. These seminars were very well received by the over 60 participants, who rated the content at 4.55/5.

Overall, Derrick Koh, Richard Yue and their colleagues in the South Asian sales team organized and hosted an event that was highly successful for ABB, with 570 visitors to the stand interested enough to give their details, in addition to 120 participants in the two ABB seminars.

Source & more information»

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Report: Growth in Data Center Construction Market is led by UPS segment

The digital revolution is producing an enormous growth in data volumes. It is obvious that this has triggered an increase in the need for construction and renovation of data centers worldwide as well. A recently released report covers the present scenario and the prospects of the global data center construction market for 2016-2020: The analysts forecast global data center construction market to grow at a CAGR of 12.51% during that period.

Apart from this, the authors have also found out which segment will lead in the DC contruction market in the next years: It’s the UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply).

„UPS systems constitute the backbone of data center operations. They provide backup power during disruptions that interfere with workloads and harm data center hardware infrastructure, including servers and storage units in a worst case scenario. As data center setups are becoming increasingly complex in terms of capacity and density, there is an augmented requirement for UPS systems that help enterprises achieve better availability, efficiency, and scalability in operations.“

Source: Global Data Center Construction Market 2016-2020»

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Recommended reading: „Powering the railways with Reliable UPS“

Power disruptions in rail networks are not a mere inconvenience, they can also pose serious hazards to public health and safety. How ABB’s UPS help to make the rail networks both safe and prompt, is described in a recently published article at
It shows that ABB has a wide-ranging experience in developing, providing, and supporting specific and standard UPS solution for both underground and above-ground rail installations across the world.

In several examples, it is shown that ABB can offer a wide range of UPS systems that are used in rail networks and metro systems to ensure reliable, stable and continuous power for many different rail applications, including signaling, operational services,  operational control cetners, emergency lightning and more:

„Systems offering video surveillance, radio communications, fire protection, and emergency lighting are just a few of the safety-relevant, critical low-voltage loads demanding continuous power supply. ABB’s standard products are customized for such applications, with the advantages of a low cost of installation, maintenance and service and the highest availability and reliability. ABB’s power protection systems also provide support to passenger services, including lift systems, ticketing systems, information panels, lights and auxiliary services for rail personnel.“

Source: | Powering the railways with Reliable UPS»

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