Why Perform Inspections of Electrical Assets in Data Centers?
Imagine a data center that supports a bank or credit card company experiencing an unplanned power outage due to a failure of their internal electrical assets! How about the same scenario at a major airport hub, airline or water treatment plant? Life gets complicated very quickly for those responsible for the facility when this scenario occurs. Is it possible to monitor electrical assets in data centers to determine the health of their electrical assets? Can the reliability team predict when an electrical asset is deteriorating? Absolutely!
One of the most common metrics for measuring efficiency in facilities that host data centers for financial, insurance and telecommunications facilities is a power usage effectiveness (PUE). Electrical distribution system losses account for 12% of the total energy consumed by the data center. In addition, unscheduled downtime in a data center is now estimated to cost over $8,000 per minute – not to mention the reputational damage to the data center company. One method for increasing reliability is to implement condition-based maintenance using infrared windows, ultrasound ports or sensors, voltage detection ports and online temperature monitoring to allow energized electrical maintenance tasks to be completed safely and efficiently. The reliability team can find the early warning signs that an asset is deteriorating and fix it before it completely fails.
Electrical equipment requires periodic inspection and maintenance to maintain normal operations. These inspections are often performed on the assets operating under full load conditions and, for infrared thermography, requires the infrared camera have direct access or direct line of sight to the energized components inside the electrical system. Innovative technology has created products that improve the efficiency of electrical inspections and allow thermal imaging and ultrasound inspections be performed to monitor the health of the electrical asset under full load in a safe and guarded condition. Progressively minded companies today, and especially data centers, want to find electrical assets that are deteriorating and schedule maintenance to fix or replace the asset before a total unplanned failure occurs.
A condition-based maintenance program for electrical assets utilize a category of products called Electrical Maintenance Safety Devices (EMSDs). Common types of EMSDs are Infrared Windows, Ultrasound Ports and Detectors, Wireless Temperature Monitoring Systems and Intelligent Asset Tagging programs. Utilizing these tools within a condition-based maintenance program allows the reliability team to routinely and safely perform inspections, collect data, monitor data over time and determine if an electrical asset is starting to deteriorate. Scheduled downtime to fix the asset versus an unplanned outage results in less impact to the data center and their end user customers.
Data Centers cannot tolerate or afford an internal electrical failure that impacts their end-user customers. They need to reduce the risk of such occurrences and provide consistent and reliable service. Improved operational reliability and productivity can be achieved by implementing a condition-based maintenance program using EMSDs to monitor, maintain and anticipate problems with electrical assets before they actually fail.