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Trends In UPS Technology

For more than two decades, uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) have been providing critical power protection for organizations, saving them from unnecessary downtime and millions of dollars in financial losses due to power problems that cause lost/corrupted data, damaged equipment and significant interruptions to business continuity.
Organizations in many unique vertical markets require UPS technology for the protection of costly equipment and valuable data for the reduction of unnecessary downtime. For example, today's healthcare delivery system involves a complex array of medical computerized information databases and instru-
mentation as well as electronically stored patient records. These microprocessor-based computers are extremely sensitive to power anomalies such as brownouts, blackouts, spikes and line noises. UPS devices resolve utility power problems and supply continuous power to all downstream equipment, ensuring that patient records and patient safety are never compromised.

As UPSs have become integral to countless businesses, healthcare organizations and government enterprises, increased pressure to ensure 100 percent uptime and to cost-effectively manage space is forcing today's electrical contractors, IT professionals and facility managers to seriously evaluate the types of UPS systems they use. Additionally, challenges associated with rising utility costs and evolving data center trends, such as blade-server technology, are driving IT and facility managers to require greater power density and higher power efficiency. These next-generation power requirements have inspired recent developments in UPS technology that include improved battery management, advancements in power density and footprint, as well as robust software offerings and monitoring services.

Battery Management

Documentation by Eaton's Powerware UPS field service providers has shown that for over a 5-year period, 80 percent of UPS malfunctions were caused by battery failure. Advancements in battery management continue to improve the battery life of UPS systems. Advancements such as Eaton Powerware's Advanced Battery Management (ABM) Technology uses sophisticated sensing circuitry and a 3-stage charging technique that significantly extends the useful service life of UPS batteries while optimizing battery recharge time. The same technology also provides up to 60 days' notice of the end of useful battery service life to allow end-users ample time to hot-swap batteries.

Scalable Architecture and Flexibility for Growth

So that IT managers can more cost-effectively manage space, many modern UPSs are characterized by scalable architecture that provides "pay-as-you-grow" flexibility. For example, Eaton's Powerware 9390 features a double-conversion design that completely isolates output power from all input power anomalies and delivers perfect sine-wave output. The system enables customers to "pay as they grow" by supporting loads from 40 kVA to 160 kVA in a base configuration. Up to eight UPS modules can be paralleled for capacity and redundancy, providing total power capacity of 1280 kVA. This flexibility enables IT managers and specifying engineers to address present power needs and accommodate future power requirements.

Power Density

UPS manufacturers are aligning their product strategies with market demand by combining increased power factors (a measure of apparent power versus real power) with a reduction in the UPS size, enabling the devices to protect more equipment in less space. A prime example is Eaton's Powerware 5125 6000VA --this system's unique design enables protection of 30 percent more equipment in 40 percent less space.

Software and Services