Any organisation or business that uses an uninterruptible power source (UPS) wants to make sure that their mission-critical equipment has the right protection from power-related aberrations, round-the-clock. A properly ventilated and installed UPS can function reliably and securely for over 15 years. However, often more energy and time is spent in determining which UPS to purchase than in choosing a suitable service program.
In our opinion, however, both factors are critical. Thus, since the potential threat to profitability and standing is significant, it is evident that investment in a customised service and maintenance program will probably be repaid several times over. But to fulfill this crucial function, we can begin by assessing the most frequent causes of UPS failures, and then reveal how service programs address and help avoid these.
Why UPS Installations Fail
Bad batteries are accountable for typically 20 percent of UPS failures. Premature failures may be disastrously surprising if users are exclusively relying on manufacturer specifications of battery life. But, real-world performance entails both cycling & operating at elevated temperatures.
Battery life is generally decreased by 50 percent for each 10°C increase in the system’s operating temperature. While limited battery life is inescapable, expert maintenance and service processes can prevent this aspect from inducing a UPS failure.
Some UPS issues can be avoided by visual inspection through preventative maintenance visits. Battery self-tests must be carried out every 30 to 60 days, with more specialized tests every six months, and impedance testing. The battery must be updated after 80% of its theoretical life, and a monitoring system must be used to catch unexpected problems early. Some other important facts:
- UPS’ usually contain 12 or more electrolytic capacitors, that will age at a level affected by electrical and heat pressures.
- As for batteries, the lifetime rating is only a guide and cannot be used for accurate planning, while capacitor failure will often push the UPS into bypass mode.
- Other causes of failure comprise lightning damage, vibration, and blocked air filters resulting in corrosion, enter power filters inducing cable and choke overheating, and contact failures because of deposit build-up.
Fans can also cause an unwanted switch to be interrupted if they overheat; their service life depends on the quality and the electrical and mechanical specifications. They must be inspected visually during preventive maintenance and replaced after three to four years. The same process needs to be carried out again between seven and nine years to ensure that a high MTBF is maintained.
Specifying an Effective Service Strategy
Aspects of an efficient maintenance program:
- Effective, trained technicians and engineers should be accessible 24/7, and located close enough to guarantee arrival on-site within contractually agreed-upon reaction times.
- This staff should have quick access to comprehensive local spare parts stock, and much more in-depth technical assistance if needed.
- The service needs to be well-managed, both to ensure their efficiency, and to keep accurate financial control. The tasks include keeping valid monthly support documents and substitute planning with a budget and estimated time factors.
- Fulfilling the scheduled part replacement cycles, once approved is vital.
Properly-planned scheduled preventative maintenance visits annually are dependent upon the power system topology. Single-stage installations can be safely supported with an annual service visit, while three-phase systems need six-monthly visits. The technicians should be accessible during or outside regular working hours, or even in the evenings in case you need emergency repairs or servicing of the UPS installation.
If you want to know anything more about any of our custom UPS products and services, don’t hesitate to contact us at KaRaTec Power Supply Pty. You can give us a call at 612 9808 1127 or use this contact us form and we will respond within the shortest possible time to help you with the guidance and information you need.
Thanks for reading,
Karatec Power Supply Pty
612 9808 1127