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Backup Power Supplies Help Ensure Smooth Operations
Simply providing an uninterruptible power system (UPS) or other backup power supplies does not necessarily ensure an institutional or commercial facility's equipment is protected from power-supply fluctuations and distortions. Maintenance and engineering managers must factor in regular testing and maintenance of a facility's backup power supplies - including a UPS and generators - to ensure they remain in peak operating condition, protect critical systems, and operate as designed.
By fully understanding the role of a UPS, required maintenance procedures, and the diagnostic tools to keep a UPS running, managers will be better able to develop a preventive maintenance (PM) strategy that meets an organization's needs for backup power supplies.
Backup Power Supplies and UPS
A UPS is essentially a series of batteries that maintains power to critical pieces of equipment that cannot withstand a power interruption. A UPS protects equipment from such elements as power interruptions, voltage variations, frequency variations and transient disturbances.
As technology advances, more pieces of equipment require uninterruptible power, making a reliable UPS increasingly crucial in any facility. Upon losing utility power to a facility, it often can take 10 seconds or more for backup power supplies to start and allow power to transfer to the emergency source. Most electronic equipment will not tolerate more than a few cycles of power disruption without shutting down.
Minimizing disruptions to the power source starts during the system's design phase. A reliable power system depends on quality equipment and reliable design. A facility's UPS should be able to protect critical and high-tech equipment and facilitate planned power outages so technicians can perform maintenance.
Perhaps the key factor in keeping a facility up and running is a
thorough preventive maintenance program and a risk-management approach
to ensure critical services are available when needed.