Ensuring UPS installation success

If you’re seeking to procure a new UPS for your data centre, it’s natural to focus on its functional attributes, including capacity, battery autonomy, availability, efficiency, scalability and of course cost. However, these considerations, while certainly essential, aren’t the whole story. The UPS has to be safely delivered to site and installed into a suitable location before connection into the data centre’s power system, and commissioning, can begin. Accordingly, here are some useful points to remember about these delivery and structural installation aspects of the new UPS integration process.

To start with, as the UPS contains fragile electronics as well as batteries, specialist equipment such as air ride suspension vehicles, together with technical know-how, will be needed to transport it. Your UPS supplier should be able to recommend handling procedures and suitably experienced transportation contractors. They will check if the proposed location is accessible by road, bearing in mind the size of the delivery vehicle and offloading equipment.

The access route must be kept clear of obstructions on the day of delivery; the route should also be checked to ensure doors are wide enough, corners and uneven or soft surfaces can be negotiated, if there are stairs along the route, and any goods lift intended for transportation has sufficient load capacity for the system.

Next considerations relate to the UPS’s intended location; has sufficient space been reserved, and is the location suitable? Modern UPS designs with no requirement for bulky and heavy input transformers, and a high power-density, flexible modular design, are amenable to a wide choice of locations rather than just a ground floor or basement plant room. However, it’s important to leave space for future expansion if this will ever be required. Also, if possible, leave plenty of room in excess of the manufacturer’s recommended minimum to make maintenance and service easier.

The floor must support the equipment’s weight, while the location’s environmental conditions should meet the UPS manufacturer’s specifications. What will the effect of the installation be on existing airflow and air conditioning equipment? Can the area safely accommodate an extended battery installation, and is there room for associated switchgear? And is access to the area convenient, yet secure? Meanwhile, inconvenience to adjacent personnel and business operations should be minimised.

When positioning the UPS within the chosen area, allowances must be made for cabling, especially as most medium to large systems require bottom cable entry. If the UPS is on a solid floor, it must either be placed on a steel plinth, or trenches must be cut to bring in the input and output AC cables, and the battery DC cables, under the UPS for connection. Space must be allowed for a 90°cable bend radius.

Purpose-built computer rooms usually have raised floors to allow network and power cabling, and sometimes as a means for underfloor cooling. However, the UPS cabinet weight, especially if it contains batteries, usually means that the system must be positioned on a steel stand that rests on the load-bearing sub-floor. The stand height is adjustable, to accommodate any sub-floor unevenness, and to ensure the stand top aligns with the raised floor surface.

Naturally, the UPS’s size affects these considerations. A modular rackmount-type UPS of between 20 and 250 kVA is designed for installation into dedicated computer rooms or plant rooms, while a small UPS rated at below 20 kVA can be transported more easily, and installed in a normal office location provided any generated noise and heat does not adversely impact the location’s environment.

Whatever the UPS’s size, it is well worth consulting your UPS supplier on these matters as part of the purchasing process.

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