Reduction of Power Outage Risk Using a Reliable Critical Power System

Technological infrastructure is of the utmost importance within society. During an emergency, backup power provides the means for many organizations to function, such as research establishments and hospitals. The predicted 80% increase in global power requirement within the next 20 years means that many businesses and data centers have also decided to introduce critical power systems, enabling the protection of equipment and providing a source of power during a blackout.

Effective, dynamic and dependable electrical connectors are required in order to ensure that these power systems are completely failsafe.

Power outages for most of the western world are just a nuisance – at worst resulting in a lost piece of work or a missed TV show. However, for some industries, loss of power is much more consequential and can result in drastic ramifications.

USA By Night | Credit: capitanoproductions

USA By Night | Credit: capitanoproductions

Power Outages Cause Significant Disruption

Recent research has indicated that loss of power for 1 hour could result in a third of businesses losing more than $50,000, with larger corporations losing as much as $6.5 million.1 For example, British Airways was affected by a critical loss of power within a data center in May 2017–resulting in over 800 flight cancelations and costing the company over £80 million.2,3 As countries over the globe are continuing to be united by technology, there is an increased pressure upon data centers and servers to be reliable, with even the smallest power loss resulting in huge consequences.

Large corporations and travelers are not the only people who are at risk, however. All communities are reliant upon power to work a whole plethora of machinery, from hospital appliances to waste processing equipment. In many of these applications, a power outage could be life threatening.

Current power grids were initially constructed to manage small amounts of power. However, as the global population increases with power demand, these networks must be modernized. This is particularly shown by the increased frequency and severity of power outages.4

Despite this increase in surges, spikes and blackouts, many businesses are procuring a critical power system which provides protection and power dependability.

Manhattan Skyline after Hurricane Sandy caused Power Outage | Credit: Reggie Lavoie

Manhattan Skyline after Hurricane Sandy caused Power Outage | Credit: Reggie Lavoie

Reliable Connectors for Critical Power Systems

Deviation in power levels are identified and countered by systems called “Critical power systems,” used to supply clean power to equipment during a blackout.1 One of the pivotal components of these systems is the backup power, which provides power throughout the blackout. Generally, this is in the form of a battery-powered AC uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

However, it can also be an emergency generator or DC battery supply. Power conditioning is also favorable, functioning to prevent electrical spikes and surges which could impair connected equipment.5 Furthermore, these systems contain several components which function to detect electrical anomalies, initiate power generation and transmit the produced power to the required regions. Overall, they function to make sure that electricity is always available; maintaining vital systems throughout blackouts and ensuring that hospitals can continue to run.

These systems are mostly big, intricate and costly modular systems. This makes them liable for connection failings, which could result in loss of power for the whole system. Therefore, the durability and effectiveness of these connectors is of paramount importance. These connectors are designed to be mechanically sturdy and resistant to harsh environmental conditions. However, it is also vitally important that they can manage the electrical demands reliably.

Designed for harsh conditions and excessive electrical supply, Stäubli’s single-pole, high-current connectors are ideal for this application.8,7 The proprietary MULTILAM technology allows very minimal contact resistance, which means that high currents of up to 1000 A can be transmitted. This extreme transmission ceiling is far greater than the current variations which are typically encountered by critical power systems.

These connectors are extremely durable under harsh conditions, with heightened ingress protection (IP65, IP68, IP69 according to IEC 60529) and resistance to drastic temperatures, ranging from -40 °C to +120 °C.9 These connectors are also manufactured to contain IP2X touch protection and reinforced class II insulation to ensure the safety of its users. Additionally, mating errors are precluded by both color and mechanical coding options.

Applications within many different fields have shown unequaled efficiency and durability of Stäubli connectors, suggesting that they are the ultimate choice for critical power system applications.

Sources

  1. General Electric - Critical Power Infographic. (2013).
  2. British Airways system outage ’caused by IT worker accidentally switching off power supply’ | The Independent. Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/british-airways-system-outage-it-worker-power-supply-switch-off-accident-flights-delayed-cancelled-a7768581.html. (Accessed: 25th April 2018)
  3. British Airways Owner Says Power Outage Cost 80 Million Pounds - Bloomberg. Bloomberg Markets Available at: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-15/british-airways-owner-says-power-outage-cost-80-million-pounds. (Accessed: 25th April 2018)
  4. Exergy and the City: The Technology and Sociology of Power (Failure). Byrd, H. & Matthewman, S. J. Urban Technol. 21, 85–102 (2014).
  5. Resolving the Hidden Vulnerability in Security Systems | Battery Power Magazine. Available at: http://www.batterypoweronline.com/articles/resolving-the-hidden-vulnerability-in-security-systems/. (Accessed: 26th April 2018)
  6. Supplying mission critical power to data centers. Available at: https://www.electricalreview.co.uk/features/10311-supplying-mission-critical-power-to-data-centers. (Accessed: 26th April 2018)
  7. Round connectors 16BL Ø 16 mm, insulated. Electrical Connectors, S. A. (2018).
  8. IP Enclosure Ratings & Standards, IP66, IP65, IP55 up to IP54. Available at: https://www.rainfordsolutions.com/ip-enclosure-ratings-and-standards. (Accessed: 26th April 2018)

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Stäubli Electrical Connectors.

For more information on this source, please visit Stäubli Electrical Connectors.

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