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SPECIAL FEATURE

UPS & POWER DISTRIBUTION

UPS - SEPARATING FACTS FROM FICTION Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) are an essential part of many electrical installations, but to some in the industry, they remain something of an underappreciated mystery. Leo Craig, General Manager of Riello UPS, tackles the most common misconceptions electrical contractors have about them. MYTH 1: UPSs are so complicated that it’s too difficult to choose the right one for my customers. At face value, there’s some merit to this argument. UPS are complex electrical equipment with lots of parts and components. And yes, there are so many different manufacturers and models to choose from that – at first glance – it can appear quite daunting. In reality though, selecting the right UPS boils down to two fundamental questions. Firstly, what’s the size of the load you wish to protect? And secondly, what runtime does your customer need – how long must the battery last for in the event of power failure? Obviously, there are other factors to take into account, such as whether a load is critical or non-critical. Using a call centre

as an example, they’d always need their servers, computers, and telephone systems to be online. But other loads, such as printers or desk fans, aren’t as essential. Other points to consider include the installation environment. For instance, will the UPS need to be rack-mounted, or can it be freestanding? What about the system configuration (ie. is there a need for redundancy or providing capacity for future expansion)? But just as customers rely on the vast knowledge and experience of an electrical contractor, you – as electrical contractors – can take similar advantage of the expertise on offer from your UPS supplier. Once those initial load and runtime requirements are established, it’s a pretty straightforward task to tackle all the other issues and narrow down the choice.

Riello’s full product range is complemented by the company’s extensive maintenance plans and speedy response when faults arise

MYTH 2: Uninterruptible power supplies are big, bulky, and inefficient. This might well have been the case 10 or 20 years ago, but it’s definitely not true with modern UPS systems. Technology is constantly improving, meaning that the same power today is delivered using less electricity in a much reduced footprint. Many UPS are now transformerless, which delivers operational efficiency of up to 97%. This is around 5% more efficient than older, transformer based systems, resulting in significant reductions in power consumption. A more recent development is the evolution of modular systems, such as Riello’s award-winning Multi Power (MPW). These UPS are made up of several smaller power modules paralleled together to provide the required capacity and

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