Uninterruptible power supplies have evolved in recent years to meet changing demands for UPS power solutions. These have predominantly been driven by IT and datacentre managers looking to maximize their capital and operational budgets as well as reduce the amount of floor or cabinet space a UPS power solution can take up. The latest generation of UPS power solutions are more advanced than their predecessors and offer IT and datacentre managers a range of benefits:
- Energy Efficiency: every piece of hardware within an IT server environment has been developed to be more energy efficient. UPS power solutions have seen their operating efficiencies increased to almost 99% when operated in eco mode. The higher the energy efficiency the less the heat given out and increased demand on air conditioning and/or forced cooling.
- Compactness: the use of high frequency switching electronics has allowed UPS manufacturers to remove the transformer from their designs. This not only improves operational energy efficiency but also reduces the size and weight of these UPS power solutions. Furthermore the approached has lead to the development of three-phase modular UPS (with ease of scalability) and single-phase models that offer both a dual format tower or rack mount installation, allowing the installer to decide on installation.
- Connectivity: most UPS power systems will today offer a range of remote communications facilities. Most uninterruptible power supplies come with built-in RS232 and USB ports and either one or two communications card slots. In to these an IT manager can install the UPS manufacturers SNMP card or a range of other protocol cards including MODBUS, JBUS and Profibus. Volt-free contact signal cards can also be installed for connection to building management systems. Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) and Virtualisation have also lead to developments in UPS integration and most manufacturers now offer systems that can be easily integrated into virtualised environments.
- Serviceability: UPS power solutions have to be easy to service and most now have readily accessible ‘hot-swap’ batteries, easy to access boards and a built-in maintenance bypass. This allows a UPS engineer to service an operational UPS without interruptible to the load. Should the UPS require full isolation this can be provided by an external maintenance bypass.
- Eco-Friendly: a final aspect to consider for advanced UPS power solutions is its overall life time affect on the environment and end-of-life service disposal. The biggest consumable items within a UPS are its batteries and most systems now offer features designed to reduce battery usage (wide input voltage window) and manage the battery charge/discharge cycle to reduce general aging. At its end of life a UPS should also be easy to strip down into its constituent parts for easy disposal.
UPS power solutions have evolved in recent years and there are more advancements on the horizon as uninterruptible power supplies are developed to use alternative energy storage technologies such as fuel cells and flywheels and even to discharge their energy back into national grids to assist with demand storage programs and generated feed-in-tariffs. One of the most advanced UPS power solutions supplied by EcoPowerSupplies is the Eaton 93PM UPS which incorporates many of the features discussed here.