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Guidelines for Choosing a UPS

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media, with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s tip is determining the right UPS solution.

A facility’s uninterruptible power supply, or UPS, should be able to protect critical and high-tech equipment in an outage and facilitate planned power outages so technicians can conduct routine maintenance. Here are some considerations that can help system designers and managers determine the right UPS solution:

• Facility-distribution type. The two configurations of UPS distribution systems are centralized and distributed.

In a centralized configuration, the units are in a common location for more efficient maintenance, security, cooling and, in many cases, fire rating of the room. A distributed configuration puts the units closer to the loads they protect, minimizing potential failure points but increasing construction costs because many of the items listed above are repeated throughout the facility.

• Duration. An organization’s business model determines the length of time a UPS must provide power. Does the application call for a quick-ride-through UPS, or does it require 15 minutes of backup capacity to systematically shut down sensitive electronics in the event of a longer power outage?

• Reliability. Determining an organization’s reliability needs is essential for providing value to occupants. Some organizations can tolerate short periods of downtime, while others definitely cannot. A preventive maintenance program also plays a critical role in reliability over the system’s life.

• Flexibility. If the UPS system does not have the flexibility to bypass equipment for maintenance purposes, the facility still will need to provide downtime to maintain or repair the system, even if designers and managers implement a highly reliable system.


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