UPS for industries: Products with innovative features are in demand

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Introduction of computer based control systems in manufacturing and process control applications has prompted the need for UPS systems in industrial facilities. UPS systems not only provide backup in case of electric power failure, but they also protect equipment from power problems like power sags, surges, under voltage, over voltage, line noise, frequency variations, switching transient and harmonic distortions. Hence, UPS systems have become an essential part of almost all industries like telecom, engineering, manufacturing, R&D, education, medicine, IT and ITeS, BPO, aviation, banking, and others.

By Srabani Sen

Monday, May 16, 2011: Types of UPS used in industries

Most industrial UPS manufacturers offer single phase output systems ranging from 40 kVA to 250 kVA. Since industrial control systems invariably constitute 230/110 VAC single phase load control, instrumentation, computer loads, etc, it makes sense to offer single phase UPS systems that can accommodate even the largest systems operating in various industries.

Depending upon the applications, line interactive and online UPS systems are usually used in industries. While, for low budget applications and non-critical areas, offline UPS systems are suitable. For critical load and industrial applications, online UPS systems are advisable.

For IT and ITeS setups such as data centres, network centres and servers, high density rack mounted or tower design online and double conversion topology based UPS systems are recommended. For manufacturing, SMEs, large data centres, healthcare centres, financial applications and mission critical systems, double conversion topology UPS systems with scalable battery runtime are required. The typical applications range from distributed PLC based controls to complete distributed control systems (DCS) with power requirements ranging from smaller single phase input/single phase output with the capacity of 2-10 kVA to three phase input/three phase output capacity of 60 kVA or more. The current trend is towards more compact systems to save space.

WHAT’S IN DEMAND

Today, online UPS systems are more in demand than line interactive models. The line interactive topology is not successful in industrial applications because it leads to higher use of batteries due to wide voltage variations in India. Industries also prefer centralised UPS systems rather than distributed configurations. Another trend that is picking up is customisation. Buyers today need an end-to-end integrated solution. They expect customised solutions rather than the standard UPS products being offered, to meet their specific needs, which vary from customer to customer and industry to industry.

“Vendors are expected to integrate UPS systems with batteries, alternate sources like DG sets and static/automatic transfer switches to provide complete power protection,” says Deepak Sharma, director, sales, UPS business, Delta Group. Scalable and modular UPS systems are also in demand as they reduce the initial investment for the customer. UPS systems are now expected with larger chargers, external chargers and the capability to manage, diagnose and optimise large banks of batteries.

“Energy efficiency will be a crucial consideration in all future purchases of UPS systems because of the increased awareness among customers to opt for ‘green’ products,” says Deepak Sharma. In a nutshell, the new products and technologies currently in demand are green technologies, energy efficient systems, products with increased power delivery/output, convergence and hybrid solutions, customised solutions, product diversification that enable offering a bouquet of services, apart from systems that promise ease of operation and installation, MTTR and low maintenance.

Responding to market needs, server technology has rapidly advanced, delivering high density, highly reliable computing without massive harmonics issues inherent in older power supplies. One unintended consequence of this advance is a shift in load power factor characteristics in data centres. UPS systems of older designs cannot deliver their full rated power to these new loads and must be derated or retrofitted. Fortunately, new UPS designs can avoid these issues while delivering more real power to the load. Emerson Network Power offers its transformer free Trinergy UPS system that it claims is 99 per cent efficient. “It takes care of symmetrical output power in the lagging and leading power factor range, and its technology allows it to monitor the environment and operating conditions of the network before intelligently selecting the functioning mode best suited to line conditions,” says B Venkat Rao, country manager, medium and large UPS systems, Emerson Network Power. This UPS system can also choose the most efficient operating mode, based on the different network conditions, and ensures that the supply to the load remains in optimum condition at all times, allowing the system to achieve energy savings.

Eaton’s Blade UPS is suitable for high density computing environments, with online and online double conversion on demand, and caters to scalable data centres. Eaton’s PW 9395 high kVA solutions are also recommended for data centres and manufacturing industries as they have a very low cost of ownership without compromising on the quality of power. Eaton’s E series products serve low capacity, yet highly critical online requirements. “These UPS systems come with innovative and user friendly features such as remote monitoring, which allows users to check and control the status and health of the UPS system and batteries from a remote location. They also send automatic alarms and updates on the status of the system and the batteries,” says Anoop Nanda, managing director, SA, SEA and Japan, Eaton.

The intuitive LCD displays of these systems provide all the information at a glance. These UPS systems come with leading technologies such as variable module management system technology (VMMS), and achieve full system efficiency by automatically optimising the system according to load levels. These are energy saver systems (ESS), which deliver premium power quality and highest efficiency in all load ranges.

Luminous offers customised, long backup industrial UPS systems, with digital signal processing technology, specially designed for smooth functioning of industries, factories and petrol stations. Available in a wide range, these UPS systems are well suited for most expensive and sophisticated equipment. “They run on smart charge plus technology for faster charging and longer battery life, and have intelligent thermal management,” informs Rakesh Malhotra, founder and CEO, Luminous Power Technologies Pvt Ltd.

Socomec’s modular UPS system—Modulys GP, with a range of 20-240 kVA—is designed to cater to industries like virtualised data centres. These systems are scalable with reduced MTTR and redundancies of N+1 and N+2. Masterys IP+ (10-80 kVA) is meant for industries like oil and natural gas, manufacturing, process control systems, utility and power generation, petrochemicals, etc. These systems are robust with anti-corrosion board treatment and high ambient operating temperatures of up to 50°C. “The topology of our products allows them to achieve high efficiencies with a limited number of components. Excellent electrical performance can be achieved (power factor, harmonic levels, etc) while enjoying the highest reliability,” informs Jerome Rodriguez, managing director, Socomec UPS India Pvt Ltd.

Su-Kam offers Sinclair-I series, which comes with active PFC and galvanic isolation to serve sectors like manufacturing, SMEs, telecom and government departments. “The innovative features that have been incorporated in these systems are parallel redundancy, static switch technology and a small footprint,” says Kunwer Sachdev, founder and managing director, Su-Kam Power Systems Ltd. Active PFC technology can be incorporated in UPS systems that have the most reliable magnetics even under unbalanced conditions, something that is necessary for industrial applications.

Aplab Limited offers UPS systems with international protection ratings, built-in data logging facilities and industrial strength MODBUS monitoring systems, in addition to traditional SNMP and Ethernet.

“Riello PCI India Pvt Ltd offers UPS systems with built-in galvanic isolation transformers that guarantee high availability of the UPS systems,” says Anil Munjal, director and CEO, Riello PCI India Pvt Ltd.

Base Corporation, a new entrant in UPS business, offers online UPS systems with advanced DSP/microcontroller technology. “We provide a two step charging profile to suit different AH capacities of battery banks,” says Aditya Arora, COO, Base Corporation.

Some industrial applications like laboratory instruments, analysers, expensive photometry equipment, or test and calibration labs, prefer to use modular and scalable UPS systems. The key advantage of such systems is that users can keep the initial investments low (low CAPEX) and expand the system as the business grows. To meet such requirements, Delta introduced its Modulon NH Plus UPS series, which is scalable from 20 kVA up to 480 kVA in steps of 20 kVA. The Modulon NH Plus UPS series offers higher redundancies of N, N+1 and N+X depending on the criticality of the application. For continuous process industrial applications with heavy duty motors and variable frequency drives, online UPS systems with inbuilt isolation transformers are preferred. “Delta’s Ultron NT series is recommended for such applications. Ultron NT can be installed in industries like plastics, extruders, injection moulding, packaging, bottling, fibre yarns, non-woven fabric, cable manufacturing and many others.

TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS

Today, energy efficient UPS systems have become the new industrial mantra. Energy efficiency can be considerably maximised by using modular and scalable UPS systems. As a result, UPS manufacturers are constantly doing R&D work in the field to make the design, software, components and energy storage solutions compatible in such a way as to minimise energy losses.

Technology in this field has evolved drastically over the last few years with the focus not only on energy efficiency, but also on reducing harmonic pollution of the mains and improving PFC. Advanced technologies also allow easily expandable and scalable power solutions, systems that are fault tolerant with high reliability, that is, extremely high MTBF (mean time between failures) and those that are repairable without downtime of the equipment. However, it is important to note that system MTBF takes into account the static switch’s capability to transfer the load to a source when a problem arises. This implies that if a UPS failure occurs and the static switch makes a successful transfer of the load to the alternate source, a failure really doesn’t occur. However, this specification is nearly impossible to prove. A much more meaningful specification is component MTBF, or the reliability of the rectifier/charger, inverter, static transfer switch, battery, etc, as these are independent components. In recent years, the trend has also been towards the use of much smaller modules (10 kVA to 50 kVA) to make up larger UPS systems. Its advantage is that users can scale up capacity as needed and it also reduces maintenance costs. Small modules are hot swappable and can be easily returned to the factory by the user for exchange or repair. Modular systems are also designed to accept one more module when required, for their rated capacity, making them inherently N+1 capable at much lower cost. Modular UPS systems can also be configured and readily re-configured.

Another latest trend is the use of digital signal processors (DSPs) for optimised real time processing, contributing to total harmonic management. A DSP controller provides an improved and cost-effective solution for UPS design, with high performance. It replaces bulky transformers, relays and mechanical bypass switches with smaller, more intelligent functional equivalents. It gives increased power efficiency and power density. “For UPS systems above 10 kVA, IGBT based DSP technology has taken over. For call centre and PC applications, microcontrollerbased high frequency designs are the best choice,” opines Aditya Arora.

“The focus of our R&D activity on industrial UPS systems has been to increase robustness. We have leveraged our innovations in better thermal design to offer UPS systems with better international protection (IP) ratings, extended operating temperature ranges, etc. While improving efficiencies, we offer a host of industrial monitoring options like real time data loggers, etc,” says Nishith P Deodhar, managing director, Aplab Limited.

Eaton’s 9395 UPS system comes with two innovative options—the VMMS and ESS modes. These features help reduce the operating costs to a large extent. Eaton also offers transformer free designs in all ranges. This means the UPS does not contain power line frequency magnetics (transformers or inductors). “This transformer free design trend is catching up because power line magnetics are both material and labour intensive. On the other hand, the high frequency power processing is technology intensive,” says Anoop Nanda.

Customised solutions

Customers are no longer satisfied with just a stable product and a competitive price. They look for value addition while handpicking a product and expect it to be more efficient than expected. The aim of customised solutions is, therefore, to create the right solution to enhance the benefits customers can achieve by adopting a tailor made approach to the management of their power solution systems. “Solutions that are made to suit every budget, every application and varied power demands make ideal customised solutions. These solutions are highly configurable to meet the varied and challenging demands of customers. From sizing and selection of a power supply to balancing reliability, efficiency and budget—all these criteria play a crucial role in forming the best customised solution,” says Venkat Rao.

Some of the features that are customisable in UPS systems are battery runtime, integration with site BMS system, disabling battery charging while on the generator, last mile distribution boxes including transformers, remote monitoring options and server auto shutdown, SNMP cards for remote monitoring, user settable charging current and output voltage, different combinations of voltage and frequency required for various countries, etc.

“Customisation can also be done to ingress protection (IP) levels, which can be improved as per the client’s load requirement and temperature conditions,” says Anil Munjal. “Another example would be the customisation of the UPS system for a specific load like what’s required for medical equipment; with specific load patterns you can configure the UPS system accordingly,” adds Jerome Rodriguez.

Cost of installation and maintenance

The cost of installation and maintenance depends on a host of variable factors like the size and weight of the UPS, number of batteries, location and size of the server room, technology of the UPS system, usage patterns, availability of generators, model of the UPS system, frequency of utility power failure, etc. “It would be very difficult to isolate one single price point for either installation or maintenance. The cost of installation for an Eaton UPS is about 20 per cent lower than usual, due to factors like lower weight resulting in ease of movement of the UPS system at the site. This, in turn, reduces installation labour costs and a high input power factor, resulting in the reduction of the cable’s size,” points out Anoop Nanda.

According to Jerome Rodriguez, cost of installing UPS systems can be about 15 per cent of the total cost, and the cost of maintenance can be about 10-12 per cent. “These amounts depend on the service contracts, as we have different options adapted to varying customer needs,” says Jerome Rodriguez.

Delta UPS systems take less space and are very easy to install. With their high efficiency and modular structure, the Modulon NH Plus series delivers a remarkably low total cost of ownership in terms of both capital expenses and operation expenses. Base, however, provides free installation at the end user site where its service engineers are present. Its UPS systems are maintenance free when used under standard conditions.

Tips for buyers

Buyers should carefully analyse their application needs and electrical load requirements before deciding on the UPS specifications. Factors like safety, environmental conditions, etc, must also be considered before proceeding with the buying decision.

Industrial UPS systems generally have a higher initial cost than the commercial application due to its customised architecture. They must be more reliable and should be serviceable. These UPS systems must be so rugged that they can work in temperatures that are above 40 degree centigrade and have a higher level of protection from dust, water and foreign particles.

Here’re some tips for buyers to follow:

  • Check the actual surge and running load, type of load, nature of risk (critical factor), frequency of power failure and environment conditions
  • You should not take a UPS of a lower rating than required
  • UPS systems should be of a proven brand which adheres to all quality standards
  • Choose a UPS system that is of an advanced and superior technology with the latest features
  • It should be able to handle all kinds of power problems that a utility power supply can throw at it
  • The UPS system should have low THDi, so that your mains are not polluted
  • A system with a small footprint will help you in saving space in your server room
  • UPS systems incorporating paralleling and redundant technologies help in extreme and rare cases of single UPS failures
  • Battery charging technologies should ensure maximisation of battery life with little or no maintenance
  • A UPS system with transformer free technology saves on space, is energy efficient and is able to reduce heat output
  • Make sure that an informed consultant advises you on your UPS purchase
  • Look at the successful case studies of well known brands to check which one is suitable for you
  • Good companies give out white papers which elaborate on the particular type of facility that you have. Read them and buy the UPS system that is just right for you
  • Look for the product/technology that results in lower operating costs. There is a large difference in operating costs between high technology, transformer free UPS systems and other versions
  • After sales service is a key aspect. A customer should make sure that after purchasing the product, appropriate and timely service is offered by the company

Key players, products and their features, at a glance

Name of manufacturer/distributor

Types of industrial UPS systems

Important features

Contact details

Aplab Limited   IP ratings, built-in data logging facilities with industrial strength MODBUS monitoring Ph: +91-22-67395555, 25821861;
Fax: +91-22-25823137
Email: response@aplab.com
Base Corporation Online UPS Advanced DSP/microcontroller technology  
Convergence Power Systems Pvt Ltd Online ups 5 kVA to 300 kVA Input powerfactor correction (PFC) and
total isolation
Ph: 91-11-41604135, 41604136, 9810452678; Email: cps@convergenceups.net;Website: www.convergenceups.net
Delta Group Modulon NH Plus (20 kVA to 480 kVA), Ultron NT series (20 kVA to 4000 kVA) Modulon NH Plus is scalable and offers redundancies of N, N+1, N+X depending on the criticality of application. Ultron NT series is a rugged and robust design with high MTBF  
Eaton 9130, 9390, 9355 9130: Protects against downtime, data loss and process interruption by providing continuous, clean power, and offers premium performance with a 0.9 power factor and > 95 per cent efficiency. 9390: Low THD of less than 3 per cent, input power factor of 0.99, output power rated at 0.9 power factor9355: Protects connect equipment from all power problems delivers extra capacity or redundancy through patented powerware hot sync technology Ph: 011-42232300;
Email: eatonpowerqualityindia@eaton.com;
Website: www.eaton.com
Emerson Network Power Trinergy UPSLiebert NXr series 30 kVA to 200 kVA Offers 99 per cent efficiency, symmetrical output power in lagging and leading power factor range. Input power factor-unity and harmonics of <3 per cent, in full load rangeExtreme performance—up to 96 per cent efficiency, >99% input power factor, <3% input THDi and truly adaptive and flexible Ph: 022–33154400; 18002096070 (toll free); Email: marketing.india@emerson.com; Website:www.emersonnetworkpower.co.in

Luminous Power Technologies
Pvt Ltd

Jumbo range of long backup UPS Digital signal processing technology, smart charge plus technology for faster charging and longer battery life, intelligent thermal management for longer life and higher reliability Email: manish.anhal@luminousindia.com
Riello PCI India
Pvt Ltd
Online UPS systems IGBT rectifier, inbuilt galvanic isolation transformer, wide range of UPS systems (1kVA—6400 kVA) Ph: 7838552211; Email: ups@riello-ups.com; Website: www.riello-pci.com
Socomec UPS India Pvt Ltd Modulys Green Power (ranges from 20 kVA to 240 kVA); Masterys IP+ (ranges from 10 kVA to 80 kVA)

Modulys Green: High efficiency, hot scalable/hot pluggable modules

Masterys IP+: Focused on industrial needs, high reliability in harsh environments

Ph: +91-9790968731; Email: info.ups.in@socomec.com; Website: www.socomec-ups.co.in
Su-Kam Power Systems Ltd Intelliq series, Sinclair-I series

Intelliq series: Auto self test on LCD panel, works on any input phase sequence

Sinclair-I series: Active PFC with input power factor > 0.98 for 10 to 100 per cent load

Extra wide input voltage window range minimising battery usage and enhancing battery utilisation and life

Ph: 0124-4170500, Email: info@su-kam.com, Website: www.su-kam.com

Note: The names of the companies are in alphabetical order

Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine

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