Power quality requirements can vary dramatically among industries and applications. For instance, what is suitable for a corporate office is different than what a manufacturing facility can withstand. At times, deploying an industrial-grade uninterruptible power system (UPS) will provide optimal protection over a traditional model. This is often the case in markets such as oil and gas, mining, military, nuclear, marine, water/wastewater and power generation/transmission/distribution, among others.
Consider 10 ways industrial models differ from standard UPSs:
- They are ideal for harsh environments. Environmental conditions will often mandate the use of an industrial-grade UPS, which delivers heavy-duty protection to safeguard equipment against minute load fluctuations. Manufactured using robust components, batteries, plastics and enclosures, industrial models operate reliably in demanding settings.
- They safeguard industrial cycles. Industrial-grade UPSs are ideal for manufacturing environments, where core process infrastructure is at risk if power fails. For example, consider the ramifications if an outage knocks out power at a plastics manufacturing facility: not only would the liquid plastic in the pipes harden and ruin the entire production cycle, but it would also necessitate a labor-intensive and time-consuming cleanup.
- They can operate in extreme temperatures. Traditional office-grade UPSs are not designed to operate for sustained periods of time outside of the 0°C to 40°C temperature range. By contrast, an industrial UPS is designed to perform across a broad temperature range, often from -20°C to 55°C or beyond.
- They tend to last longer. Industrial UPS systems generally provide a lifespan of 20 to 30 years. In addition, because they usually include a long-term support contract, the units can be successfully refurbished.
- They will probably occupy more space. Due to features such as rugged enclosures, filtering and other factors, an industrial UPS is typically larger than a commercial UPS with comparable power ratings.
- Their design is often customized. Industrial UPS systems are not only more durable and engineered with a complex structural design, they are often customized according to a customer’s specific onsite requirements. For example, some facilities require NEMA-rated enclosures due to airborne contaminants, while others may opt for conformal coating of UPS components due to humidity or pollution. Still others desire additional battery banks to facilitate extra runtime.
- They may have specific maintenance needs. Most industrial UPS systems include a comprehensive service program that supports the maintenance needs of the equipment for the entire lifecycle. This helps sustain and extend both the lifespan of the manufacturing equipment and the UPS. These plans may also take into account non-standard parts that have been modified or customized for the specific UPS.
- They require special batteries. While most traditional UPSs rely on valve regulated lead acid (VRLA) batteries, their strict temperature limitations cannot withstand most industrial environments. To avoid frequent battery replacements, higher maintenance costs and reliability issues, an industrial UPS should include new technology VRLA batteries that offer a 10- to 12-year service life at 25°C, and four years at 50°C.
- Their lead time may be longer. While standard UPS delivery schedules tend to be relatively short, the lead time of an industrial UPS is typically longer due to the unique specifications of each customer and aligning with a client’s project schedule when needed.
- They deliver vital safety protection. Imagine a mining outage where ventilation or degassing devices were to fail. An industrial UPS can withstand the environmental conditions and supply critical backup power while the mine is evacuated, safeguarding the miners from lack of oxygen or sudden explosion.
While poor power quality can wreak havoc across every industry, in certain applications there are more substantial threats to system uptime, potential downtime costs, and issues such as personnel safety. Protection is vital in today’s industrial environments, especially those that face extreme temperature conditions. Fortunately, an industrial-grade UPS offers a highly reliable solution to safeguard systems, personnel and operations.