Electrical Review - December 2016

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Informing the electrical industry for over 140 years

December 2016 Volume 249 | No 12 www.electricalreview.co.uk

Lighting Getting it right with LED emergency lighting

Roundtable report Lighting up today and tomorrow

Technology to market Solutions meet medical centre’s demanding expectations





NEWS Focus on environmental power

ARC FLASH/ELECTRICAL SAFETY Maintaining your ‘skilled person’ status

LIGHTING ROUNDTABLE Lighting up today and tomorrow



GOSSAGE Gossage:gossip

BUILDING SERVICES Brexit means uncertainty for technical standards

What effect will Brexit have on our sector in the next five years on technical standards

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24 LIGHTING Getting it right with LED emergency lighting

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EDGE COMPUTING Edge computing and the need for decentralised data

EMERGENCY POWER Overcoming the challenges posed by the Triad season

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4 | NEWS

Expanded production capabilities Rittal is expanding its production capabilities and building what it says is the world’s most advanced production plant for compact enclosures in Haiger, Germany, with completion scheduled for 2018. Total capital expenditure will amount to 250 million euros, making it the largest single investment in the company’s history. State-of-the-art infrastructure and digitisation will underpin highly-efficient production, logistics and communications processes. There will be corresponding upgrades to two other plants in the region, and the construction of a further plant for large stainless-steel enclosures. The 24,000 m² Haiger facility will manufacture 9,000 enclosures a day from 300 standard types, in accordance with each customer’s specific needs. Materials will be transported across the plant by means of automated guided vehicles (AGVs), dispensing with human operators. Intelligent systems, with machine-learning abilities will be deployed to continuously increase system availability, and to predictively order spare parts, reducing the likelihood of unplanned downtime due to wear and tear. It is hoped fully automated control systems, for example in the paint shop, will minimise energy consumption, costs and environmental impact.

Make an electric check part of your routine this winter NICEIC and Elecsa are urging householders to think electrics when they carry out their checks on the elderly this winter. Proportionately, older people suffer more fatal and non-fatal injuries from electrically-related house fires than the rest of the population. People over 65 are particularly at risk because they often live in old or poor-quality housing that contains faulty electrics or old appliances. Yet, research by NICEIC and Elecsa has revealed although many people will be looking in on an elderly relative or neighbour this winter, the one thing that could be getting overlooked is a quick check on the state of the electrics. NICEIC and Elecsa’s technical development manager, Darren Staniforth, said: “While up to 50% of people will be making regular calls on a relative or neighbour this winter, less than 20% of those would think to take a quick check of the electrics to make sure everything is ok. “With people over 65 statistically more likely to be involved in a fire caused by faulty electrics this is obviously concerning. “During the colder months the elderly are more likely to be plugging in electrical appliances such as heaters or electric blankets, many of which could be old and potentially dangerous. “They could also be plugging these appliances into an electric supply around the home that might not have been checked in decades or perhaps never at all. “We want to encourage those looking out for an older relative or neighbour to have a quick check of the home and make sure there is nothing there that could potentially lead to something awful occurring.”

Research carried out by NICEIC and Elecsa revealed: • 50% of us hold the opinion the elderly are more at risk from the electrical dangers in our homes. • 75% have never helped their relative to have their home safety checked by an electrician. • 80% have never been concerned by the safety of the electrical appliances in their elderly family member’s home. As Staniforth added: “Our research shows that the Great British public do a great deal of work looking out for the elderly in winter time. “The lack of concern over electrical safety is not one about not caring, but generally a lack of knowledge about what to look out for.” NICEIC and Elecsa have produced a checklist, of what to look out for to reduce the risk of an electrical fault. This quick visual check includes: • Ensuring plug sockets are not damaged or scorched. Any scorch marks around a socket are an indication something is not right and that you should call a registered electrician to investigate further. • Checking any leads or cables are not damaged or frayed • Checking lights are working correctly and there is no signs of visible damage • Checking sockets are not overloaded or too many extension leads are in use. • Check the main fusebox (consumer unit) has RCD protection fitted. An RCD (Residual Current Device) will trip should it detect an overload in the circuit. Staniforth added: “A registered electrician will be able to rectify any faults or carry out an Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR) which will identify any potential issues that could lead to further problems.”

w: www.spec-ltd.com e: enquiries@spec-ltd.com t: 01924 871 558 SPEC Ltd has recently expanded its services to meet the individual needs and demands of the customer to become a national company with regional presence. With a proven track record of successfully working with many service users from small businesses to large Blue chip multinationals both UK and overseas. Established as a total substation service provider, in the role of control, installation, cabling, operation and maintenance of mains 415/11000/33000 & now 66000 and 132,000 v power networks. To date SPEC Ltd operate and maintain over 2,500 HV connected sites nationwide from its 6 strategic regional offices in Gateshead, Lancaster, Wakefield, Birmingham, Oxford and Aldershot.

Electrical Review | December 2016

Head Office Unit 5 Eagle Point, Telford Way, 41 Industrial Estate, Wakefield, WF2 OXW Fax: +44 (0) 1924 871559

NEWS | 5

Bsria calls for clarity in Brexit article 50 ruling Bsria has commented after uncertainty was cast on the timetable for Brexit after the prime minister’s government lost a High Court case challenging its right to trigger Article 50 without a vote in Parliament. Parliament alone has the power to activate Brexit, a High Court judge has ruled. Government said it would appeal at the Supreme Court and was still committed to generating Article 50 by March. The EU’s other 27 members have said negotiations about the terms of the UK’s exit – due to last two years – cannot begin until Article 50 has been invoked. Julia Evans, chief executive, Bsria, said:

“Back on Thursday 23 June, the country voted and the decision was ‘out’. Today’s High Court ruling now adds a high level of uncertainty and ambiguity into the Brexit proceedings. What industry needs is clear leadership to bring economic confidence and stability forthwith as a plan of action. “We do not want months and months of parliamentary obstacles ahead. Bsria is calling for a clear Brexit timetable not layers of legal hurdles. “Much economic indecision had already been evident in the build up to the referendum which was detrimental to our industry. We do not need more.”

Winners of fire and security awards announced Two industry champions have been recognised by the Fire & Security Association (FSA) during this year’s IFSEC Security and Fire Excellence Awards in London. Chris Watts of Wavelength Associates won the Ian Marsh Fire Award for his devotion to industry best practice, training and safety for all, in particular his contribution to emergency lighting standards. Andy Gilmore of AAI Security scooped the Peter Greenwood Security Award for serving the industry for over 25 years, in which he defended technical standards while upholding the installer’s perspective. Head of the FSA Steve Martin commented: “Many congratulations to both Chris Watts and Andy Gilmore on being recognised by the FSA for their services to the fire, emergency and security industry over many years. We are delighted the FSA Awards are now being presented during IFSEC’s Security and Fire Excellence Awards – the industry’s leading annual awards gala - and look forward to continuing this partnership next year.” The FSA consists of member-firms of the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) and Scottish electrical trade body Select. The FSA awards are supported by industry bodies including the National Security Inspectorate (NSI), the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB), the Fire Protection Association (FPA) and British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE).

Focus on environmental power with new role Siemens has appointed George Giles to a newly created role as head of environmental power to strengthen the company’s offering in this market across all divisions of Siemens in the UK & Ireland. Giles, who previously headed up Environmental Power and Oil and Gas across Siemens’ Process Industries and Drives and Digital Factory divisions, will lead a team focusing on developing sustainable and decentralised power generation solutions. The appointment is reflective of a wider change across the business to look at new ways to decarbonise and decentralise energy generation for its customers across industry. The new team will concentrate

on creating a more cohesive approach to environmental power plants using the company’s current solutions portfolio, consisting of Energy from Waste, Biomass and Anaerobic Digestion. George Giles said: “To have sole focus on this market allows us to concentrate on what is right for UK industry. Siemens already has a wide portfolio in environmental power, however, this new structure will allow us to answer our customers’ demands for a more simplified and integrated solution which will help projects be delivered and commissioned on time as well as with significantly reducing operating costs.

“There is a current shift towards more sustainable and decentralised power generation and to be leading a team looking to redefine how we generate our power is something I’m really looking forward to.” Mike Houghton, managing director, Process Industries & Drives, Siemens UK and Ireland said: “We welcome George to his new role. His blend of experience, drive and strategic expertise makes him the ideal candidate to lead the team during an exciting period as we look to work ever closer with our valued customers and help to drive real change in the environmental power sector.” www.electricalreview.co.uk

6 | NEWS

Parents must encourage pre-teens to love science and maths Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) sectors are struggling to attract school leavers and the industries are seeking solutions to their ongoing skill gaps. During research by MathWorks, STEM professionals were asked whether students are being targeted too late to develop a love of STEM subjects? The response was affirmative; half of respondents believe students need to be encouraged towards these sectors much younger than is conventional: at primary school. When asked to consider their own experiences; 40% said they were inspired to love the subjects by their families and 19% knew they wanted to follow a STEM profession by the time they were 10 years old; 46% had made the decision by 16. Questions then turned to who should do the encouraging. While, typically, this is expected to be the responsibility of the education system, a third of those surveyed claim that school encouragement wasn’t important in their decision to enter into their chosen occupation. And, despite half saying that the teaching of STEM related subjects has improved since they were in school, 38% argue schools aren’t producing people with the skills that society needs. Most respondents agreed the emphasis for turning out future STEM professionals shouldn’t be placed on educators alone and that families and the industry should take on a greater responsibility. Of those questioned, 60% fostered their love of STEM outside of the classroom, having enjoyed extra-curricular activities like the Science Museum with their family. In terms of what the STEM industry could do, nearly two-thirds (63%) said employers should be hosting school visits – while 56% also believe they should be funding projects at schools.

Electrical Review | December 2016

Manufacturing Technologies Association appoints new committee chair and board member The Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) has appointed a new chair for its Exhibition Committee, which oversees the organisation of MACH, a UK manufacturing technologies event. Chris Pockett, head of communications at global engineering company Renishaw, a committee member for eight years, was appointed chair of the Exhibition Committee due to his extensive knowledge and experience of international trade shows and event management. The new position also sees Pockett join the Board of the MTA where he will contribute his additional knowledge of communications and international marketing. The MTA is a trade association that represents the UK’s engineering-based manufacturing sector including companies involved in machine tools, cutting tools, metrology and CAD/CAM software. It is also the organiser of

the biennial MACH exhibition manufacturing technologies event, which is being held from April 9-13, 2018, at the NEC in Birmingham. The Exhibition Committee consists of MTA staff and industry representatives from exhibiting member companies of the association and is responsible for overseeing decisions concerning the exhibition. Pockett brings a wealth of experience of global exhibitions from his role as head of communications at Renishaw. He was involved with Renishaw’s first stand in China in 1993 and has organised and taken part in trade shows across all continents. He has been an MTA Exhibition Committee member since 2008, serving the association through a number of MACH events. As part of his new role, Pockett will be responsible for overseeing MACH 2018, the first event to be located in the NEC’s newer Atrium halls.


GOSSAGE Not a Polish rhapsody Listening to the fragrant new energy minister, the ex-Tesco director Baroness (“call me Lucy”) Neville-Rolfe waxing eloquent about the glowing future for shale gas in the United Kingdom, made me wonder about whether she ever talked to her former company’s people running supermarkets in Poland. Were she to do so, she might learn how similar hyperbole about the prospects for gas fracking in Poland has proved so vacuous. Back in 2011, the then Polish prime minister Donald Tusk, now elevated to be the president of the European Council, announced that international geologists had concluded that just two countries in Europe had substantial potential to produce large quantities of shale gas. These were Poland, with a colossal 768 billion cubic metres potential, and the UK, with around half that potential. Determined to get ahead in facilitating international exploration, Tusk swiftly altered no less than nine existing environmental and other laws relating to licensing and taxation. In poured a whole set of global energy majors, including Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Total. A great fanfare was made, and the Polish government started rubbing its collective hands in anticipation of increased tax revenue from massive shale gas production. Only it didn’t happen like that. Very quietly, one by one each conceded defeat in search of shale gas riches. It seems, despite all this help from the government, nobody could make an economic case for staying. By last spring, they had all packed up exploration, and left. Perhaps smaller local firms might do better? It appears not. I gather that the last two Polish state-run firms working on shale, PGNiG and PKN Orlen, have now given up on shale gas exploration anywhere in the country. “Discussions and projects related to shale gas is a closed issue for us”, admitted PKN Orlen CEO Miroslaw Kochalski. Piotr Wozniak, CEO of PGN iG, echoed: “Shale gas as such has failed.” Of course, I am sure that the UK Minister has never yet heard such melancholy words from UK would-be frackers like Caudrilla or Ineos Fluor. At least, not while the taxpayer is prepared to underwrite practically all their costs. But as the guardian of the UK taxpayers’ interests, I rather hope that the noble Baroness will take time to learn from the cautionary lessons from Poland regarding the true economics of shale fracking.

Catching the bird of paradise Much celebration by the greenies that, for a few precious hours, the British mainland’s supply of power came more from renewable electricity sources than from conventional fossil fuels of coal and natural gas. This in turn prompted much ribald laughter from Central America. Where the state of Costa Rica takes such environmentally benign supply sources entirely for granted. Over the past year renewable energy sources have accounted for 99% of that country’s electricity. According to the Costa Rican Electricity Institute, 285 out of the last 365 days were powered exclusively by electricity generated by hydro electricity, and a combination of wind, solar and geothermal energy. For 121 days running, all electricity has been both fossil and nuclear free. Costa Rica has long been celebrated as being the largest nation on earth to eschew the expense of keeping a standing army. Let alone an air-force or, despite an extensive shoreline, a navy. Law and order is entirely a matter for the police force. Somehow this peaceful, and prosperous, republic is unconcerned about ever being able to “punch above our weight”, to coin a phrase much beloved on British diplomats. That it is also clearly leading the way towards that much-coveted nirvana of a non-carbon world is simply yet another feather in Costa Rica’s cap.

A tax by any other name When the last Labour government introduced the Climate Change Levy back in 1999, then chancellor Gordon Brown strongly emphasised this business energy tax would never be levied upon any electricity generated from legitimate renewable sources. It was intended to “stimulate”, as an overt incentive for businesses to purchase fuels which did not damage the climate. At that time I did caution renewables generators against assuming all future chancellors would necessarily feel themselves bound by such a statement. My cynicism proved accurate, when last year the (thankfully also now former) chancellor, the egregious George Osborne, suddenly decided to withdraw this exemption to the climate change levy for renewable electricity with less than one month’s notice. The company Infinis, which operates 121 landfill gas sites and 16 onshore wind farms across the UK, determined to appeal the case. Its challenge was on the basis there was a legitimate expectation by operators the exemption would continue, that the decision breached the EU proportionality principle and violated the claimant’s rights under article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Sadly the Appeal Court rejected the case on all three grounds. It was satisfied the government had given no indication the exemption would continue. “In the absence of any precise assurance, it was always inherently foreseeable that there was the possibility of an immediate withdrawal,” it said. The exemption was “part of a fiscal regime and, like all fiscal regimes, subject to change in the discretion of the government of the day and parliament in the light of current economic conditions”. Infinis obviously thought a promise given explicitly by one administration might be binding on its successor. The fact this proved to be naïve meant sadly the learned judges dismissed the proportionality argument out of hand, arguing “a mere change of income for individuals or companies because of a change in the tax regime cannot be regarded as something which indicates disproportionality in a tax measure adopted by a state”. And so they also made short shrift of the human rights aspect of the case, concurring with the High Court this would only arise if the previous claims on legitimate expectation or proportionality were successful. The truth is, Treasury ministers can do what they like, when they like, to alter previous commitments. It has long been the case, and Infinis should have appreciated those who give with one hand can all too easily take away with the other. Personally I just wish the government would have the honesty to drop the now entirely bogus name Climate Change Levy. And call it what it is – a Business Energy Tax. A BET that only works one way. www.electricalreview.co.uk




he IET Wiring Regulations has recently removed the term “competentâ€? person from the deďŹ nitions within the standard. The term now used is “skilledâ€? person, which speciďŹ es the need for adequate education, training and practical skills appropriate to the nature of the work being undertaken. Immediate thoughts go towards how a new entrant into the industry gains the level of skills needed to work in an electrical role. Perhaps more importantly we should be looking at how an existing skilled person maintains the level of skills needed to remain safe in the workplace.

At what point should the awareness hit that skills are lacking to the point that danger will exist? It’s commonly know the UK has an “ageingâ€? workforce, with much reliance being made of the skills held by people who did their original trade training many years previous. Although it is fair to say many of our skilled workers have an extremely good understanding of how their trade has moved on over the years, there are many more that still work to the standards that they ďŹ rst met when they entered the trade. Having stood in front of so many groups of electrical skilled people to update their knowledge of BS7671 and in particular their understanding of the procedures required for inspecting and testing a completed installation, it is clear Electrical Review | December 2016

Alan Riley, director of training at Electrical Safety UK

that keeping up with trade skills is not high on many people’s agenda. When asked the question, who in the group makes ‘design decisions’ in relation to an electrical installation, many of those attending training will respond with “not me�. But then, when asked if they are responsible for the selection of cable sizing or accessory type it becomes clear little consideration is given to such decisions. Now you could say with years of experience an electrical installer does not need to calculate out every decision or base a selection choice on a pre-determined risk assessment of the site. But when the Installer does not see the reasoning for these choices having

importance, then it is clear that complacency is playing a big part on the quality of their work. They may get through hundreds of installs with reliance on their gut instinct of what is needed to satisfy the requirements, but times have changed. Sadly, the foresight to ensure a workforce remains up to date with the developments in their trade only tends to occur following the intervention of an outside agency. This could be through licensing authority control or an insurance company request. At worst it could be through intervention by the HSE. Of course on the other hand it may be that new technology drives the need for enhancing our skills. The revolution that is taking place in the lighting industry for example, with the creation of affordable and practical LED solutions which is opening up a whole range of opportunities for installers to consider. Those that are smart will clearly see the beneďŹ ts of understanding the ‘tech’ behind the modern control systems, giving their business the edge over rival competitors when it comes to complex installs. Why on earth would you wait to open the door of your house to turn on the lights on a dark night when you could easily turn them on from the comfort of your car seat using your mobile! Who decides when additional training is needed? As we know, it’s the employer’s responsibility to ensure the employees have the ability to carry their work in a safe manner. It’s also the employee’s responsibility to inform their employer if they feel they cannot. But at what point should the awareness hit that skills are lacking to the point that danger will exist. We assume the riskier the task the greater the need for caution. But often it can be the simplest of things that create the most


danger. Electricians use test instruments. Test instruments provide readings. These readings tell us if an installation is safe. A favourite question to ask is, before pressing the button, what value should you expect to get once the button is pressed? Many simply press, read, records with very little understanding of the relevance of the value being taken. Experience tells you what value to expect but training explains why that value is acceptable, or not as the case may be.

We should be looking at how an existing skilled person maintains the level of skills needed to remain safe in the workplace

TRAINING MUST ENGAGE WITH THE ATTENDEES TO BE EFFECTIVE For any training course to be effective it has to engage with the attendees. Courses that focus on regulations and procedures do pose a challenge in this area. To meet commercial constraints

many of the popular electrical regulatory training courses are woefully short on delivery time so the luxury of having time to break away from the flow of the course is extremely difficult. However, railroading

through with regulation after regulation is a sure fired recipe for causing the concentration to drift, certainly after the complimentary mid-day buffet has been consumed and the afternoon session plods on. What is needed is the right balance between informative, subjective provision of information and carefully constructed breakout sessions or other non-theoretical based interludes which provide a pause in the monotony but keep the training momentum going. The construction of a carefully planned training delivery is key to keeping the training audience enthused whilst the message goes across. The importance of selecting training providers with sufficient experience of training delivery should always be foremost in the selection process when choosing a provider.



Full automation of control panel production has become a reality Sometimes an innovation comes along that transforms business practices, greatly enhances FXVWRPHU VHUYLFH DQG VLJQLĂ€FDQWO\ LPSURYHV WKH working environment for employees. Automation within panel building is one such advance and, thanks to it, mechanisation truly has become a ‘win, win’ for panel builders and their customers. Paul Metcalfe, Rittal’s industrial and outdoor enclosures product manager, explains


ll this is supported by feedback from companies now using Rittal’s Automation Systems for the manufacture of their control panels. Not only do the products within the range speed up the production process, the machining is highly accurate, the system frees up engineers to work on other projects, and the resulting working practices are safer for everyone.

RITTAL PERFOREX The Rittal Perforex is a machining centre for the preparation of enclosures, mounting plates and doors. All the mechanical processing steps in the preparation of enclosures for population – including drilling, thread cutting, and milling of cut-outs – which are so time-consuming, cost-intensive, and error prone, can be accomplished in a single work step. The accuracy and repeatability the machine attains far surpasses any manual machining, and delivers the ďŹ nal panel in a fraction of the time. It is a fast, precise and reliable process. Programming a job into the machining centre takes just minutes, and is either on the basis of simple, component-oriented

Electrical Review | December 2016

workshop programming, or using imported CAD data from Rittal’s software system Eplan. Once done, engineers are free to work on other tasks, maximising team efďŹ ciency and business output. Furthermore, any programme setting can be saved for future, identical jobs, speeding up work-ow even more. In fact, so efďŹ cient is the process that panel builders are able to take on new business with the spare capacity Perforex has created. By acting as sub-contractors, they can take on work from other panel building businesses to create an extra income stream. What’s more, automation makes workshops safer, cleaner and quieter spaces to work in. The Perforex machining centre has its own integrated vacuum so there is no longer any swarf that needs to be cleared up. And it is signiďŹ cantly quieter than using manual tools. The advantages of automating machining processes are clearly numerous for any panel builder not least the ability to quickly


turn around high quality panels for clients. Not surprisingly, this is being clearly reflected in the growing interest in Perforex and the rising number of enquiries from customers. But there are other options for automation which are also increasing in popularity.

HANDLING AND ERGONOMICS The Assemblex and MH 500 are automation tools which help with handling and ergonomics in the manufacture of mounting plates and panels. The panels can be worked as if on a table top, with a fully adjustable height and tilt. Once complete, they can then be slid fully populated into the enclosure. The strain can also be taken out of lifting – the MH 500, for example, is a multifunctional lifting tool, which makes transportation and lifting operations in the workshop much easier. It allows ergonomic handling with one-person assembly – for example, when installing heavy mounting plates or equipment in the enclosure. The extensive range of accessories means that the MH 500 can be used for a variety of applications, including manoeuvring enclosures, fitting chiller units or fitting populated mounting plates.

SECAREX This cutting centre tool cuts cable ducts, cable duct covers and support rails to length quickly and with the minimum of fuss. Gone is the need to spend time measuring and cutting, along with complicated handling – the Secarex is convenient to use and cuts to length quickly, precisely and reliably. Data can be inputted from various CAD systems or taken from the Perforex workshop programming. The cutting centre improves quality, minimises cutting waste, lowers costs and essentially accelerates the whole process.

ATHEX The Athex terminal block assembly machine helps to improve efficiency in the enclosure manufacturing process. The timeconsuming assembly of each individual terminal by hand is taken

over by a precise component mounting-arm. By importing the relevant CAD data, you define which terminals are placed where, enabling the system to handle terminals from all manufacturers. The machine’s high production speed, in conjunction with minimal downtime and maintenance thanks to its generous magazine capacity, ensures significantly enhanced flexibility and productivity.

AUTOMATED WIRING The Averex wiring centre automatically makes connections between devices while ensuring all standards and safety requirements are met. It’s a huge time-saving advance – potentially reducing the number of working hours per enclosure by an astonishing 15 hours. Essentially, Averex has a huge role to play in wiring enclosure mounting plates. The system cuts the wires to the correct length before stripping and crimping them with wire ferrules. It then feeds the wires through the cable duct and attaches them to components such as terminal blocks, contactors and motor circuit breakers. On average, it takes around 180 seconds to complete this wiring process manually – Averex finishes the same task in approximately 40 seconds. What’s more, the system is exceptionally reliable using laser technology to identify the parts and to check their dimensions against the assembly tolerances. Its patented machine head can be rotated 270 degrees and includes cable routing, cutting, stripping and crimping units, torque-controlled screwing and a tool changer that can hold up to six tools. In addition to screw connections, terminal blocks with push-in connections can also be used with this system. Data from Eplan, along with information on components and their respective locations on the mounting plate, is used to check the manually assembled mounting plate before the components are wired up automatically and autonomously. The result is a significantly faster system of wiring that would otherwise be performed by hand. Additional features, such as push-in connections and automatic wire-changing and labelling further increase the degree of automation that can be achieved.



Brexit means uncertainty for technical standards 7KH HFRQRPLF DQG SROLWLFDO EDFNGURS IDFLQJ EXLOGLQJ VHUYLFHV HQJLQHHULQJ ÀUPV has become much more uncertain since June’s landmark vote for the UK leave the European Union. Jim O’Neil, ECA technical director, explains


The British Standards Institute (BSI) says that approximately one-quarter of European standards are developed following requests from the European Commission. The remainder are created to meet other

lthough the International Monetary Fund still expects the UK to have the fastest growing economy among the G7 this year (a 1.8% GDP increase), the global economics body predicts this will fall sharply in 2017 (to just 1.1%). Furthermore, with sterling recently hitting a 31-year-low against the US dollar, this is likely to have a material impact on the cost of importing materials in the UK from abroad. Of course, things could conceivably change, either way, in the months ahead. Depending on whether the UK seeks a ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ type of Brexit, there is also considerable uncertainty about how the UK will be able to work with technical regulations and standards.

REGULATIONS, DECISIONS AND DIRECTIVES At present the EU has various powers to develop three different types of legislation which affect UK businesses, specifically: • Regulations – similar to national laws, but they are directly applicable across all EU member states. • Decisions – deal only with a specific issue, or particular organisations and/or people. • Directives – setting out general rules and requirements, to be transferred into domestic law by individual member states, as appropriate. Various EU Regulations and Decisions are directly incorporated into UK law without further legislation by the UK parliament, while some (or parts) have been voluntarily brought into UK law. Directives, on the other hand, have been implemented by UK law and they will continue to be part of UK law, immediately post-Brexit. What happens then will be influenced by the UK’s ability and wish to change former EU laws, for example due to an EU negotiated trade agreement. Electrical Review | Decemeber 2016

market needs, and include test methods, specifications for products and services, and guidance on good practice.


Jim O’Neil, ECA technical director

TECHNICAL STANDARDS Despite the confounding example of at least one key British Standard being commonly referred to as ‘Regulations’ (notably BS7671), standards are not the same as regulations. The House of Commons Library says that the standards used within the European Single Market follow World Trade Organisation definitions which differentiate between mandatory technical regulations and voluntary standards. There are four types of standards used within the UK, which contractors and installers may be familiar with, specifically: • ISO – Internationally agreed standards • IEC – International Electro-technical commission (internationally agreed standards applicable in the electrotechnical sector) • BS EN – The British version of (Euro Norm) harmonised European (CEN/ CENELEC) standards • BS – A British standard – e.g. BS 7671 (widely referred to as the ‘Wiring Regulations’)

Standards across Europe are determined by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) and its electrotechnical sub-body CENELEC, both of which are separate organisations from the EU. Like all EU member-states and other countries that are part of the European Single Market, the UK is a full member of CEN and CENELEC. A relevant ISO or IEC standard trumps a European standard. The two European standards bodies above are believed to have created some 19,000 standards, which consequently led to the withdrawal of around 160,000 conflicting national standards, according to the BSI. The CBI stated in November 2013 that over half of their member-companies (52%) said they had directly benefitted from common EU standards, with only 15% stating they had a negative impact. Fortunately CENELEC standards are becoming more and more absorbed into IEC standards.

STANDARDS POST-BREXIT Following Brexit, UK businesses are still likely to be subject to harmonised European standards, unless the UK also leaves CEN and CENELEC. Membership of both organisations will likely depend on the UK’s intended relationship with the EU, post-Brexit. The BSI expects the UK to automatically remain CEN and CENELEC members should there be a ‘soft’ Brexit (e.g. joining the European Free


Trade Association). Should the government decide on a ‘hard’ Brexit (e.g. relying on World Trade Organisation rules), then UK membership of CEN and CENELEC would depend on the other members agreeing to change rules in the interests of Britain. Given that membership of both standards committees is reliant on member-states adopting identical standards to each other, the UK would probably need to adopt all European standards on a voluntary basis, to retain its CEN and CENELEC membership.

LOSS OF INFLUENCE Regardless of future arrangement postBrexit, UK businesses seeking to export to the EU will still need to comply with many product standards determined by Brussels (potentially in a similar manner to Switzerland). It’s worth noting of course that the UK does already have certain opt-outs to technical standards, with the most wellknown being electrical plugs and sockets – hence the need for the use of travel adaptors

when using UK electronic equipment in mainland Europe (and vice-versa). However, this British capacity to shape and influence new or developing technical regulations could reduce post-Brexit, without the UK having a seat at the table and voting rights in the EU institutions.

THE ECA’S BREXIT SURVEY Despite the above issues, when recently asked for their views on Brexit by the ECA, firms across the building services engineering industry had a broadly positive outlook. In terms of the impact on technical standards, three-quarters of respondents (75%) said they believed Brexit would have a positive or neutral impact on the sector. While over two-thirds (67%) said that Brexit would bring about positive change or have no impact on technical innovation. However, among the largest businesses with turnover over £20 million per year (and perhaps more likely to export goods and services) the results were mixed, with Brexit equally predicted to have both positive and negative implications for technical standards and innovation.

‘HARD’ OR ‘SOFT’ BREXIT To provide some assurances to businesses, the UK government has pledged to move across all existing EU regulations and laws into UK law, via legislation based on a ‘Great Repeal Bill’. This is planned to come into effect immediately after Brexit, which may be by March 2019. However, the UK government is currently taking a tough stance against freedom of movement (one of the four EU ‘freedoms’, alongside goods, services and capital). This could well lead to a ‘hard’ Brexit, with limited access to the EU Single Market (e.g. outside of the EFTA) and the UK exiting both CEN and CENELEC. Even with a ‘soft’ Brexit, the UK would probably move to a Norway-style situation whereby Parliament is required to implement many European technical regulations and standards, but with diminishing influence over what goes into them. The ECA will continue to seek an outcome which minimises disruption to business, and ensures the UK maintains some of the highest levels of technical standards and regulations across the globe.

What effect will Brexit have on our sector in the next five years on technical innovation (e.g. R&D on energy efficiency) No change Slightly positive Very positive Slightly negative Don’t know Very negative

What effect will Brexit have on our sector in the next five years on technical standards No change Slightly positive Very positive Don’t know Slightly negative Very negative

Electrical Review | Decemeber 2016

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Edge computing and the need for decentralised data According to Ofcom, the number of UK adults owning a smart device KDV VLJQLĂ€FDQWO\ ULVHQ LQ WKH SDVW \HDU IXHOOHG E\ WKH LQFUHDVHG XVH RI WDEOHWV DQG VPDUWSKRQHV 'U 3HWHU .RFK 93 VROXWLRQV IRU (PHUVRQ 1HWZRUN 3RZHU LQ (XURSH 0LGGOH (DVW DQG $IULFD H[SODLQV


he explosion of data from mobile devices has caused huge strain on current data management and storage systems, causing many to crack under the pressure. With an estimated 2.5 million terabytes of data created daily, 90 percent of which were generated in the past two years, this is unsurprising. Companies are increasingly looking at cloud computing to store, manage and distribute their data and to keep operations agile. But the high volume of data being centralised through cloud systems in many cases still isn’t delivering a fast enough service. To combat this organisations are moving computing power away from the core data centre, and deploying it at the edges of the network – a process known as ‘edge computing’. This structure is putting performance IT and networking infrastructure closer to where customers’ digital interactions are taking place, resulting in better operational connectivity and enabling devices to access far more data-intensive content, especially to mobile users.

THE BENEFITS OF EDGE COMPUTING For those consumer-facing businesses operating on the edge of the network, edge computing can provide a number of advantages. First, when data security is paramount, nothing can replace having this data contained in-house where a company can have total control over the security procedures, rather than in a centralised data centre. In some industries, there may also be legislation which speciďŹ es the security around and use of customer data, requiring an in-house data centre to be compliant. Pressures on bandwidth and latency for key client interactions can make Electrical Review | Decemeber 2016

businesses want their computing power to be closer, as well as if they require devices to be autonomous, for example IoT-connected machines which would work more effectively having a local source of computing power. Ultimately edge computing improves response times and availability for customers. End users expect to be able to quickly access their data from a variety of devices and locations at any time and edge computing enables this.

SHOPS EMBRACING THE EDGE The retail sector is one industry that would particularly beneďŹ t from edge computing. The retail landscape is rapidly changing; a few years ago bricks and mortar retail stores were stand-alone environments, but this is no longer the case. A retail store is now a complex IT environment, made up of a myriad of devices such as PC-based POS terminals, handhelds, RFID readers, manger works stations, local hosts and local database servers. This expanding array of devices at the edge plays a critical role in enhancing the customer experience but brings its own set of challenges. Moreover, it all needs to continually operate at peak efďŹ ciency. Relying on a central data centre to support all of these devices is not enough. A comprehensive IT management infrastructure in which all the resources can be managed, regardless of where or what those resources are, is key and edge computing could become a useful part of this.

GETTING THE EDGE ON INDUSTRY 4.0 In manufacturing, the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the game for IT requirements. Manufacturing IT systems are already complex today, and this complexity is only likely to increase in the future. A new

Dr Peter Koch, VP solutions, Emerson Network Power

generation of “smartâ€? ďŹ eld devices is coming, and this will spread technical innovations away from centralised IT data centres and closer to the production systems that have traditionally been the network edge for IT. Such devices might include wireless devices, RFID readers and tags. Not only will there be more computing power available at the edge, there will be a lot more data generated there. As these devices proliferate, the amount of information owing across networks will need careful management to keep up response times and routing this information through local networks is one solution. These are not the only industries that would appreciate the advantages of incorporating edge computing into existing IT systems. Sectors with highly sensitive customer information such as ďŹ nance or healthcare would beneďŹ t from the security and accessibility of the edge computing approach. After all, no-one can bear delays in accessing their savings or vital health records.

EDGE COMPUTING AND THE INTERNET OF THINGS – A PERFECT MATCH The success of the IoT is dependent on edge computing – without local data processing power, connected devices will not reach their full potential. Edge computing will be instrumental in creating a future where IoT is mainstream in smart homes, smart cities and industry. However, this doesn’t mean an all or nothing approach. Data centres will continue to provide most of computing, but they will more and more be supported by facilities on the edge of the network, providing rapid information for fast data processing for IoT networks and low latency applications for consumers.

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Testing options for panel builders For panel builders, having the right test equipment conveniently to hand can save a lot of time, money and frustration. But what is the right test equipment? As Simon Wood of Megger explains, a good multimeter is an excellent starting point, but it shouldn’t be seen as the complete solution to panel builders’ testing requirements – there are many other options worth considering


et’s be honest, if you’re a panel builder, a good digital multimeter is likely to be the most important and most frequently used item in your test kit. These instruments are versatile, relatively inexpensive and there’s a wide range of readily available models. When choosing a multimeter, however, it is important to take a little care, and not to be bamboozled by a long list of “features” that will never be used or by prices that are so low they’re barely believable. The important things to look for when choosing multimeters and, indeed, other types of instrument, are not always the most obvious. Most modern products will have an impressive specification with all of the ranges panel builders are likely to need. Most, at least if they’re from a reputable supplier, will also offer acceptable accuracy, but things like the safety rating (CAT rating) may not be quite so prominently featured in the data sheet. The CAT rating, which is defined by IEC61010, is related to transients – such as those generated by faults, switching events or even lightening strikes – that the instrument may experience while measurements are being made. The nearer the measurements are made to the source of supply, the larger these transients are likely to be, and this is taken into account in the CAT rating. If an instrument with an inadequate CAT rating is in use when a transient occurs, the instrument could, under worst-case conditions, explode with a consequent risk of injury or worse to the user. An instrument with a CAT IV rating is suitable for use in all locations, even close to the source of supply, whereas an instrument with a CAT III rating should Electrical Review | December 2016

only be used in locations downstream of the main switchboard in an electrical installation. CAT II instruments are suitable for use only at final circuit outlets. The CAT rating should always be accompanied by a voltage, which is the maximum RMS phase-to-earth voltage of the system on which the instrument is suitable for use. This means, for example, that instruments with a 300 V rating can be used on single-phase systems up to 300 V and three-phase systems up to 520 V, which covers the majority of UK requirements. CAT II instruments are unsuitable for use by panel builders and, while CAT III instruments will be suitable in most cases, the best option is to choose a multimeter with a CAT IV 300 V rating or better, as this can be used anywhere on an electrical

system, without having to determine whether the test is being performed close to the source of supply every time a measurement is made. Another important factor that’s unlikely to get much attention in instrument data sheets is robust construction. Very few users deliberately mistreat their instruments, but the truth is that they do get dropped and shaken about in the back of vehicles. Before buying a new instrument, therefore, it’s well worth checking the build quality and, if necessary, asking the manufacturer direct about its ability to take rough treatment – a guarded reply should, perhaps, be taken as a warning! A final point worth checking, particularly in relation to multimeters, is whether ac measurements are true RMS. In the past, when almost all of the voltage and current waveforms encountered by panel builders were sinusoidal – or at least close to sinusoidal – true RMS measurements weren’t all that important. Today, however, inverter drives, switch mode power supplies and all manner of other equipment can heavily distort waveforms, which means readings from instruments that don’t use true RMS measurement may be very misleading. As we’ve already said, a good multimeter is the mainstay of every panel builder’s test kit, but even the best of multimeters can’t do everything. Insulation resistance testing,


for example, needs to be performed at a much higher voltage than a multimeter can generate, so a separate insulation tester is likely to be essential although, as we shall see later, some panel builders may find that a modern multifunction tester (MFT) is an even better alternative. A good insulation tester will offer testing at 250 V, 500 V and 1,000 V, with most also providing continuity testing at a defined current, in line with the IET Wiring Regulations. Safety features are important, and the tester should protect itself and the user, as well as providing a warning, if it is accidentally connected to a live

circuit, irrespective of whether insulation or continuity testing is being performed. Many insulation testers provide additional functions, such as ac voltage measurements up to 600 V, and resistance measurements up to around 1 MΩ. These extra functions are unlikely to be deal breakers, but they can be very useful timesavers. While a multimeter and an insulation resistance tester will cover most of a panel builder’s testing requirements, there’s one area where they fall short: the measurement of currents. Certainly, most multimeters have current ranges but often these only go up to 10 A or so. And there’s another

big disadvantage – with a multimeter, the circuit has to be broken to make a current measurement, which is often inconvenient and sometimes hazardous. The alternative is to use a clamp meter. This is simply clamped around the conductor carrying the current it is required to measure, with no disconnection necessary. Models suitable for panel builders will read current up to, say, 400 A and, as with insulation testers, many have additional functions. A typical specification for a top-of-the-range clamp meter might, for example, include ac and dc voltage measurement up to 600 V, resistance measurement up to 20 MΩ, and fastacting continuity buzzer. In many cases, an instrument of this type makes a separate multimeter unnecessary. A final option that will be attractive for some panel builders is a multifunction tester (MFT). While primarily designed for use by electrical contractors, the latest models provide many features that are of interest to panel builders and they will, of course, be ideal for those panel builders who also carry out on-site installation work. All MFTs have provision for performing insulation and continuity tests, which are directly applicable to panel building and, in addition, they also provide for loop impedance and RCD testing, as required by the IET Wiring Regulations. The best of the latest generation models, however, have much more to offer, including phase rotation checking for three-phase systems, facilities for testing three-phase RCDs and even the option of measuring earth electrode resistances, which is an increasingly common requirement in micro-generation projects and during the installation of electric vehicle recharging points. Some models also include true RMS voltage measurement as well as frequency. There’s little doubt that the multimeter is and will remain the instrument of choice for the majority of the testing carried out by panel builders but, as this article has explained, multimeters can’t do everything and there are many cases when another type of instrument would be a better choice. The most important advice, however, is always to choose instruments from a reputable supplier, and to look for safety and durability as well as a good specification and a competitive price. www.electricalreview.co.uk


Lighting up today and tomorrow Electrical Review hosted a roundtable debate among lighting designers and consultants in partnership with Hager. It was arranged to facilitate wide-ranging discussions around some of the current challenges facing lighting installation and design, from ‘spec busting’ to issues around commissioning, and some of the key trends for the future including, the evolution and growth of LED technology and interconnectivity across lighting and broader building management systems


here was a general feeling that the marketplace has to be far more educated about the concept of ‘value engineering’ and be prepared to look at the bigger picture rather than solely at cost. Indeed, the discussion highlighted that the industry needs to continually strive to promote the overall benefits of a full lifecycle perspective that takes into account warranties and the cost of total installation, so a return on investment can be calculated over the long-term. A member of the discussion commented: “If you’re value engineering, you are adding value to the product and the service that is being offered. So, a product with a 10 year lifespan with a three year payback, will give you a return on investment over the remaining 7 years.” The consensus was there remains a continual struggle to convince all parties as to the wider value to be gained from a

Electrical Review | December 2016

long-term, holistic view of a lighting project. It is problematic, as one observer cited: “My clients are not interested in the pay back. They want the building up and running as quickly as possible and they’ll go for the cheapest fittings to do the job.” Likewise, a tendency to stick with the norm prevails. Projects are frequently demanding new lighting systems to integrate with existing ones, even though it is not always the best solution, and this mind-set can often be seen when dealing with large facilities management departments that do not want to move away from familiar systems. Such decisions mean many projects are missing out on new and additional system benefits, but clients prefer to remain with the familiar install systems they trust. The participants also articulated a general feeling of frustration that, in many cases, highly appropriate, benefitdriven lighting systems can be designed and put together, but these are then compromised by a cheaper alternative at


installation. While acknowledging the real world reality where cost is a primary motivating factor, there was a belief that projects are missing out on many benefits by taking a shortterm, cost-driven approach and thereby ensuring ‘spec-busting’ remains a tangible challenge. Education also remains key. Value engineering needs to be understood through the supply chain so contractors and end users alike are more prepared to accept the recommendations and expertise on offer when they employ consultants. In essence, value engineering in the eyes of one attendee can be summarised as: “Adding value for the same cost, the cost of the project doesn’t change…but you add in a lot more value. Stopping the client from spec busting and going down the cheaper avenue is fundamental.”

DIFFICULTIES OF COMMISSIONING SYSTEMS Linked heavily to the challenges associated with ‘spec busting’, the understanding and appreciation of value engineering, is that of commissioning different systems. It was agreed contractors are sometimes reluctant to spend costly time and valuable resources learning about different lighting systems and will understandably often select those they are familiar with. However, when it comes to commissioning, this can cause issues. Maintenance engineers can struggle to make sense of the system that has been individually specified, installed and connected. The lack of emphasis on training and absence of a holistic overview is compromising projects, especially when the incentive is to simply get the system working as quickly as possible. The answer perhaps lies in the advent of more simplified lighting systems to take the pressure off engineers to learn about multiple systems. Every specifier prefers a different system so, installers can be lost amongst a wide range of solutions and end up with systems not fully commissioned or just put to function. Simple systems that can be easily commissioned and tested would be beneficial and, in the opinion of those at the roundtable debate, be a real selling point, reversing the long running trend where buildings have incorrectly commissioned lighting systems properly because no one knows how to set them up.

TRENDS FOR THE FUTURE EVOLUTION OF LED The evolution and growing impact of LED is recognised through its rapid expansion over the last three years. There was a belief that with LED product pricing falling in line with other fittings, has helped standardise its selection for many more installations. Its growing popularity is also fuelled by sustainability and performance efficiency messages. As one attendee commented: “The way LED is sold, the way LED is manufactured and the way LED is packaged now is massively different to just two years ago.” Evolving LED technology has seen massive improvements in performance and capability, with product robustness cited as evidence that current solutions are far superior to those initially launched to the marketplace. This is supported with solid test data missing five years ago, but now available to prove the

worth and long-term characteristics of LED solutions. This growth and popularity is forecast to continue.

IMPORTANCE OF DATA AND HOW TO INTERROGATE IT There was general consensus that data is at the heart of the next big industry breakthrough. Based upon intelligent systems to collect and provide data covering all aspects of the system’s performance, the panel challenged building and facilities managers with taking the next step and using the available data provided from systems to inform strategic decision-making. This may be impacted by resourcing issues or a reluctance to take the next step, but it was seen as essential for end users to drive the greatest benefits from their lighting systems. Data can provide valuable insight such as whether a light fitting is working properly or efficiently. However, in facilities management, where the average job value is key to winning and keeping contracts, it is about managing the estate as effectively as possible. This often involves dealing with multiple products requiring support and gives rise to concerns from managers around data consistency.

INTERCONNECTIVITY A move towards increased connectivity between user and lighting control systems was identified as a key trend. Cloudbased technology will inspire further moves towards IP connectivity throughout a building as a gradual replacement for large amounts of cabling to support a lighting circuit. Examples given of where better interconnectivity is already in place and is driving benefits included, a 60% decrease in energy use thanks to use of embedded system controls at one site, and the ability of wireless technology to provide full fault reporting and energy monitoring across an entire estate. The influence of KNX as an open protocol was also discussed and its ability to link KNX products together despite differing manufacturing origins was praised. However, due to its lack of specification in the UK, we are still catching up as far as acceptance is concerned, when compared with mainland Europe. In summary, participants were in agreement on five key topics: • The need to further promote the value of long-term thinking and not just short-term cost saving for lighting system specification. • To aid electrical contractors in working more seamlessly with a myriad of systems, more simplified solutions are required allowing individuals to build their confidence and experience. • LED is set to continue its rapid recent growth as new generation technology further supports its performance and sustainability credentials. •The importance of gathering and interrogating lighting system data to optimise performance and system understanding will help to deliver true added value and benefits. • Interconnectivity is gaining a stronger foothold on a daily basis. The promotion of lighting systems that can link and communicate with other building management technology to provide a holistic viewpoint of building performance and potential, will become a critical factor for the industry over the coming years. www.electricalreview.co.uk




he beneďŹ ts of LED lighting are now well established and it’s fair to say LEDs are the light source of ďŹ rst choice for the majority of commercial and industrial applications. However, in many cases the focus is very much on the general lighting of the space(s), with less emphasis on the emergency lighting alongside it. There are a number of reasons for emergency lighting often being treated as a ‘second class citizen’. For instance, emergency lighting is typically only around 10-15% of the building’s lighting, and many lighting speciďŹ ers are content to leave the emergency lighting design to the electrical contractor. Of course, there is also the question of cost and many building operators may be tempted to go for the cheapest option that will enable them to comply with the regulations. This is a shortsighted approach that fails to take account of the lifetime costs of such a system. A properly designed scheme using the right products will prove considerably more cost-effective over the lifetime of the installation. This latter issue may require lighting speciďŹ ers to modify their approach if the end client is to receive best value. For example, early LED emergency lighting ďŹ xtures often delivered a light output of around 50 lm, delivering a compliant emergency lighting solution with spacings of around 6 m at typical ceiling heights. Indeed, this is still a technically and commercially viable solution. As LED technology has improved there has certainly been an increase in lumen output. Improvements in semiconductor technology now provide a range of luminous ux from modules offering <100 lms up an in excess of 300 lumens. With the right Electrical Review | December 2016

charging regime such as Markwell’s Smart Charge the overall power levels can be reduced to <1W thereby providing unparralleld levels of system efďŹ cacy. However, an increase in luminous ux will not necessarily give a proportionally linear increase in emergency lighting spacings. It is essential to factor the optical performance in the design. Failing to do to can actually result in more luminaires being speciďŹ ed with an increase in costs for the overall project. It is also important to be aware of the constraints imposed by the thermal characteristics of LED circuits. Even with a carefully designed LED lamphead, it will still have an optimum performance point. Going beyond this may result in unnecessary power consumption and an inefďŹ cient product that may require more or larger batteries, or offer no extra beneďŹ ts in terms of output or performance. The answer, then, is to make use of luminaires with tailored optics to ensure optimum distribution and maximise spacings, resulting in a lower cost of ownership per square metre. In achieving this, it may also be useful to model the space in which the emergency lighting is to be installed. For instance, the lighting designer may ďŹ nd that initial estimations based on generic spacing tables exceed the emergency light levels required. With careful positioning and use of appropriate lamphead/ optic arrangements it may then be feasible to further optimise the spacings to reduce costs whilst ensuring the scheme is safe, compliant and designed to the application. By focusing on application requirements, other factors, such as the way the emergency lighting scheme is powered, maintained and operated, play a much more vital role. This will ultimately result


requirements for compliance and how best the scheme should be designed and maintained throughout the life of the installation. This understanding will make it easier to identify the types of lampheads and optics that are best suited to each space.


in a system being far more beneficial than if the lumen output was the sole focus. A key advantage of higher lumen output is the opportunity to reduce the size of emergency luminaires. Smaller emergency luminaires have less visual impact on the space and make it easier for the lighting designer to address sensitive aesthetic requirements. The ideal situation is that the emergency lighting is only noticed when it is required – namely, when in emergency operation. And this applies to both conversions and stand-alone emergency luminaires. Lower lumen packages tailored for emergency lighting schemes are able to make use of lower power control gear, smaller lampheads, smaller drivers and smaller batteries. Here, the choice of battery is also important and battery technology is an area of significant challenge. Recent high profile failures of certain battery chemistries have shown that the wrong selection of battery can have a very serious impact on the safety of the system. Each battery has its own benefits and drawbacks, whilst the temperature and environment in which the emergency lighting is housed has an impact on battery performance and lifespan. Currently, nickel cadmium (NiCd) and nickel metal hydride (NiMH) are the only two types of battery approved for emergency lighting but other technologies (e.g. lithium ion) will become accepted when appropriate safety measures have been put in place. As with any other type of lighting design, it is clearly important to understand the application and any factors that may impinge on the design of the emergency lighting system. These include local standards, mounting heights, escape routes and any areas of risk. To that end, a risk assessment will help in determining the

Over and above all other considerations is the safety role of the emergency lighting system and its ongoing effectiveness in protecting the inhabitants of the building. Yet there have been a number of cases where emergency lighting has been neglected or the maintenance requirements have not been fully understood by the individual who is responsible. Implementing automatic test systems and intuitive emergency control platforms helps engineers and end users to ensure the entire emergency lighting system is operating as intended and is compliant. Such addressable systems help to ensure compliance with BS EN 62034:2006 ‘Automatic test systems for battery powered emergency escape lighting’. To that end, DALI is the key to addressable communication but it’s important to remember DALI is simply a protocol – it needs a suitable interface if it is to be meaningful to the building operator. Such an interface should be intuitive and simple to use, with live system status information for instant information. Emergency lighting controls that notify users of potential issues or problems that need further investigation all aid in demystifying the processes required to ensure good practice and maintain a simple approach to monitoring a small or large scale scheme. As the connectivity of lighting systems improves and makes them part of the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) there are opportunities to integrate the monitoring and testing of emergency lighting with other ‘smart’ aspects of the building’s systems. The low power requirements of LED light sources (compared to traditional sources) means that both general and emergency lighting can be powered via category cable without the need for separate power and communication cabling. Consequently, understanding the range of options available and selecting emergency lighting systems that work in harmony with general lighting, will help to instil confidence in those that are tasked with maintenance and operation. The result is a system that is monitored and checked regularly and properly.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE Operation of emergency lighting on an IoT platform opens the door to many further refinements, using a combination of hardware and software integrated into emergency lighting products to enable a range of features and upgrades. Such IoT platforms will include features such as retinal response, extensive battery protection, diagnostics and wireless communications via Bluetooth or visible light communication (VLC). The ability to synchronise data with cloud storage for access from any location will also become standard. Moreover, such platforms are inherently upgradable to take advantage of newer technologies as they become available. Systems that take advantage of this opportunity are already entering the market, so specifiers need to be sure they are up to speed with the latest developments and take advantage of them when appropriate. www.electricalreview.co.uk

26 | UPS

Crucial considerations when running generators with UPS systems To prevent loss of service, data and damage to sensitive IT and communications equipment, causes most businesses of any size to now rely on clean, continuous SRZHU IURP DQ XQLQWHUUXSWLEOH SRZHU VXSSO\ 836 $ FRUUHFWO\ VSHFLÀHG 836 IURP D reputable supplier will provide this protection during short-term power disturbances DQG EODFNRXWV EXW LV QRW GHVLJQHG WR GHOLYHU EDFNXS SRZHU LQGHÀQLWHO\ ,I D business’s IT must remain online rather than shutting down gracefully during an extended blackout, a generator will be needed to complement the UPS. In this article, Alan Luscombe, director at Uninterruptible Power Supplies, a Kohler company, discusses the factors to be considered when adding a generator to a UPS system


hile UPSs today provide excellent protection from utility mains transients and short-term blackouts, they’re not a complete solution for applications that must remain online 24/7, without interruption. A power outage that exceeds the battery autonomy is always possible, yet a system shutdown, even if managed gracefully, is not acceptable. Additionally, running the application from the UPS battery is pointless if there is no power for the air conditioning system that cools it. The solution is to complement the UPS with a generator that starts up if the battery autonomy is threatened, then runs indeďŹ nitely if necessary. The UPS bridges the power gap between the mains failing, and the generator starting up and reaching synchronisation. It also cleans all power, whether from the mains or the generator. A number of factors apply when planning a generator installation; these relate to maintenance and fuelling, compatibility with the UPS and power system, correct generator sizing, and physical integration into the target environment. All must be taken into account to ensure a generator/UPS pair that truly guarantees uninterrupted availability, even during extended power outages.

GENERATOR CHARACTERISTICS AND CARE A generator comprises a fuel supply, an engine and an alternator. The fuel can be gas or diesel, although gas-powered generators are used mainly for combined heat and power (CHP) applications. Diesel, used for both base load and standby applications, is the usual complement to UPS systems. Generator engines resemble those found in large trucks, and have the same maintenance requirements. An adequate fuel supply should always be available, together with a healthy battery for reliable starting. Regular maintenance is essential, with frequent checks on oil and coolant levels. The alternator converts the engine’s mechanical power into an Electrical Review | December 2016

AC electrical supply, usually at either 230 V (single-phase) or 400 V (three-phase) levels; these levels depend on how the alternator is wound. Output voltage amplitude and stability are controlled by an Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR), while its frequency – usually 50 Hz in the UK – is set by the engine speed. The speed/ frequency relationship usually depends on the alternator design; typically an alternator speed of 1500 rpm equates to a 50 Hz

Engine speed and output frequency are controlled by a governor output frequency. Engine speed and output frequency are controlled by a governor which regulates the amount of fuel reaching the engine. More fuel means higher engine speed and electrical output frequency. Simple, mechanical governors based on springs and spinning weights are available as a low-cost way of fuel supply regulation, however they lack the fast response and frequency regulation stability essential for use with UPS systems. Instead, generators intended for use with UPS systems almost always rely on electronic governors, which operate by counting the teeth on the alternator ywheel and regulating the fuel accordingly. They are highly responsive and offer very stable engine speed regulation.

COMPATIBILITY WITH UPS SYSTEMS Achieving tight engine speed control is critical in these applications, as it allows synchronisation between the UPS and the generator. Synchronisation problems between the UPS and the

UPS | 27

utility mains supply are rare, because utility companies’ generators are huge, so their inertia can absorb any sudden increase in load. By contrast a small local generator subjected to the same load change will slow down until the governor compensates. Overall, the generator’s frequency range may be too wide for the UPS to accept. In the worst case, synchronisation may not be possible, either because the frequency is out of limits or because its rate of change (slew rate) is too fast for the UPS to follow without endangering the load. If this happens, most UPS systems will flag an alarm to warn the operator that if a fault occurs the load will not be transferred from the UPS to the raw generator feed. These problems can be prevented by ensuring the generator manufacturer is aware of their product’s intended use with UPSs, and fully testing it during commissioning. As mentioned, the use of electronic governors will minimise or completely eliminate potential problems. Generators also need to be prepared in other ways for their standby power source role. They must always be ready to start on demand, as mains power failures are unpredictable. Accordingly they must always be kept warm, have a fully-charged battery and sufficient fuel. They must be aware of mains failure and restoration status so that they can start and stop as appropriate. This status information is usually supplied by signals from an Automatic Mains Failure (AMF) panel as shown in Fig.2. This shows arrangements not only for detection, but also for switching to the generator and back during mains failure and restoration. Nuisance starts every time the mains is disturbed must be avoided, so the AMF signal is usually set to operate only after

an extended mains failure time; delays of 2 s to 10 s are typical. Stopping the generator and switching the UPS back to mains as soon as supply is restored must equally be avoided, as the underlying fault may not have been cleared. Accordingly, most AMF controlled generators continue running for at least two minutes after detecting that mains has been restored. If a mains failure is detected, there is an inevitable time delay before the generator can be started up and synchronised. The UPS covers this by powering the critical load from its battery, then switching to generator power when available. It also uses generator power to recharge the depleted battery. Similarly, the UPS uses battery power to maintain uninterrupted supply during transfer back to mains, then uses the mains power to recharge its batteries again. Planners should also consider how to switch the neutral conductor during mains changeovers. 4-pole switching is normal in the UK, as short interruptions in the neutral plane are accepted, due to today’s proliferation of on-site generators. The solution finally chosen depends on the requirements of both the UPS and other connected loads, and on local electricity supply regulations. Generator sizing as well as compatibility is important. For example, the generator should usually accommodate air www.electricalreview.co.uk

28 | UPS

conditioning, emergency lighting, alarm and communications as without these services, the UPS load and its operators will be at risk of damage or injury. As a very approximate ‘rule of thumb’ generators should be sized to: • 1.5 x the nominal UPS capacity for the transformerless UPS systems usually found in today’s data centres and IT rooms • 3.0 x the nominal air conditioning running capacity Capacities of other loads to be protected can be found from the manufacturers’ specifications, or by measuring using a current clamp. The UPS and generator manufacturers should be consulted for more accurate sizing advice before finally committing to purchase. In some applications generators are run continuously. In others, though, they are a standby resource that only runs occasionally. This reduced demand and stress allows a ‘standby’ rating, which is typically 10% higher than the ‘continuous’ rating. However, when used for power protection, generators can be started up at any time and for any duration. Because of this unpredictable demand, choosing the more conservative ‘continuous’ rating is recommended.

ENSURING ENVIRONMENTAL ACCEPTABILITY While ensuring the generator is UPS-compatible and fit for its load, other measures are essential to ensure its environmental acceptability. Fuel oil storage, for example is subject to legal regulation under most circumstances in most parts of the UK, with a requirement for double-bunding to prevent oil/fuel escaping into the water environment. A standby generator typically sits on a double-bunded base tank containing fuel for between eight and 24 hours’ runtime. Electrical Review | December 2016

Because generators may start and continue running at night as well as by day, acoustic housings with suitable noise attenuation ratings should be used to avoid unacceptable disturbance to the workplace or adjacent properties. Generators also produce considerable heat, and usually use air cooling to remove it. Accordingly, sufficient cooling air should always be available, ideally by siting the generator outdoors in a weatherproof, acoustic enclosure. Correct management of exhaust fumes is also essential, with care taken to ensure safe limiting and venting. Specialist advice is needed if exhaust pipes pass through, or are attached to a building. Co-operation with several authorities is necessary; this includes obtaining local authority planning permission, informing the local fire officer of on-site fuel storage and advising the local electricity utility company of the generator’s installation. When enterprises depend on an always-available IT and communications resource for 24/7 online transaction processing, using a generator’s indefinite backup capability to complement the UPS’s immediate protection role becomes essential.

CONCLUSION In this article we have reviewed the factors needed for a successful generator/UPS pair. These cover setting up the generator correctly, designing in compatibility with the UPS, sizing it correctly for its application and ensuring its suitability for its physical environment. To be absolutely sure the complete power protection installation will perform as expected without compromise, partnering with a well-established supplier offering extensive experience of installing UPS systems, generators and integrated power systems is highly recommended.





s we move into winter, we enter the ‘Triad season’: a four-month period between November and February, during which the National Grid identiďŹ es three halfhour periods when electricity demand in the UK is at its highest. It is important to note that Triads must be at least ten days apart, to avoid all three instances falling in consecutive hours on the same day, which could otherwise occur during a particularly cold period of weather. Once identiďŹ ed, the National Grid looks at the amount of energy used by each local electricity network operator and calculates each operator’s average peak demand for that winter. This data then informs a ‘capacity charge’ levied against the network operator, which covers National Grid’s costs in ensuring the availability of this peak amount of electricity to the operator. These will, in turn, impose a capacity charge on each electricity supplier they provide to, who will then try and recover these costs by increasing prices for customers. The Triad charging system is a tool that has been in place since the early 1990s, speciďŹ cally targeted at large industrial and commercial users of electricity. While there is no way of predicting when a Triad will occur, history has taught us that they often take place on a Monday to Thursday, during periods of particularly cold weather, between 5-7pm, when industrial demand and the domestic teatime period coincide.

Electrical Review | December 2016

As the season approaches, it is important to ask, ‘How conďŹ dent am I in my backup power?’ What are the likely repercussions if a standby generator failed to activate correctly? To illustrate this point and to reiterate why a reliable backup power system is so critical, especially when companies are already conďŹ dent in their electricity infrastructure, it’s worth examining a recent example of system failure. In August this year there was a stark example of why backup power and regular system checks can save even the biggest customers headaches, when what started as a minor problem at a data centre grounded one of the world’s biggest commercial airline eets. On Monday 8 August 2016 an uninterrupted power source switch at Delta Airlines’ main data centre suffered a small electrical ďŹ re. This caused knock-on problems that cut power to the entire facility. The company says it managed to stabilise the power quickly, but several critical systems didn’t switch over to the backups. In the wake of the incident Delta also found that around 300 of its 7,000 servers were not actually conďŹ gured to run on backup power. Engineers eventually managed to get the data centre running again, but while it was down every single Delta plane across the world was grounded. Hundreds of ights were cancelled or massively delayed. Between compensation, lost revenue and the damage to its reputation, the incident will likely cost Delta tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars. Of course, it’s easy to point ďŹ ngers in the wake of an incident like this and say what should have been done, but backup power is something that is easy for companies – especially those operating their data infrastructure internally like Delta – to put off. This requirement is exacerbated further still during the winter months, when the Triad season is underway, meaning that for mission critical applications, it’s a timely reminder to consider all the options available to ensure data resilience.

THE THREAT OF BROWNOUTS AND BLACKOUTS The increased demand for electricity during the Triad season can mean that brownouts – a drop in voltage in an electrical power system – or blackouts are a very real possibility. While other


commercial sites might be able to cope with an unexpected brownout, data centres cannot afford to be without power for even a moment because so many people depend on their services, whatever the time of day. Indeed, some commercial sites may choose, during the Triad season, to even take their systems offline during these ‘peak’ times when energy demand is likely to be at its greatest. This, however, is not an option for data centres. The threat of a blackout, taking a data centre’s systems offline for an unknown length of time, would be a worst-case scenario for any business. As a result, the importance of having a trusted, reliable and proven backup power system in place cannot be overlooked.

THE MEASURE OF UPTIME The Uptime Institute has, for many years recommended that standby gensets should be rated for continuous operation in order to ensure power availability and data centre resilience in the event of a mains outage, stating that: ‘Engine generators for Tier III and IV sites shall not have a limitation on consecutive hours of operation when loaded to ‘N’ demand.’ With the Triad season approaching, this issue becomes even more pressing. However, while this provides the necessary assurances of power continuity, it can also be a costly approach. Not only is equipment specified with a higher rating than necessary under normal operating conditions, it can result in the installation of larger units that take up more valuable data space and may require more frequent servicing and maintenance. At the same time, operators will want to ensure that they comply with the Uptime Institute’s recommendations and the ISO 8528-1 standard in order to achieve the required Tier rating; so

deliberate oversizing of gensets has been a routine approach. Thanks to some work Caterpillar has undertaken with the Uptime Institute, Finning can now advise that the standard Cat standby and mission critical ratings exceed the parameters referenced in the ISO 8528-1 standard. ISO 8528-1 imposes a runtime limit of 200 hours a year on emergency standby ratings. Cat ratings have a maximum

Some commercial sites may choose, during the Triad season, to take systems offline during peak time expected usage of 500 hours per year, plus ensuring output is available for the duration of the outage. This means that a Cat standby or mission critical generator set will provide uninterrupted power for the duration of an outage related to failure of the local utility source – meaning that customers can specify a smaller, more compact genset that is sized closer to the load and still retain the same power resilience that they would get from a larger unit rated for continuous operation. Finning has established itself a strong reputation for supply reliable, highly efficient and proven mission critical power solutions for the data centre market. As the sole Cat dealer in the UK and Ireland, the company offers an extensive range of diesel and gas-powered generator sets, supported by industryleading knowledge, expertise and service support.



Solutions meet medical centre’s demanding expectations When the North Estonia Medical Centre’s engineers embarked on a major refurbishment programme for its C-Block, they knew that the electrical distribution system had to offer uncompromised reliability. Safety, protection, economy and ease of maintenance were also critical considerations. Accordingly, they turned to Eaton; partly due to the trust in the company built up over many years, but also because Eaton had the technology QHHGHG E\ WKH FHQWUH WR IXOÀO WKHLU YLVLRQ RI LWV RSHUDWLQJ HQYLURQPHQW

from ophthalmology and obstetrics. Over recent years the centre has been going through massive reconstruction and expansion to become the most modern hospital in the Baltic region; the project is now two-thirds completed. One phase involved rebuilding a substation which accepts a medium voltage power input and provides a low voltage supply to other parts of the site. Another was a new ER (Emergency Room) block called X-Block; an innovative diagnostics and active treatment complex, where the hospital’s most technology-dependent treatments are administered. The most recent and largest phase concerns the renovation of the centre’s C-Block – premises that house clinical units, logistics and a waste centre as well as other staff and technical facilities.



he North Estonia Medical Centre is one of the top health care providers in the country. A patient-centred institution committed to professionalism, innovation and teamwork, the Medical centre has more than 3,500 people – doctors, nurses, caregivers and specialists – working for the good of patients. Over 500 of them are doctors and at any given time, 100 medical residents are also based at the hospital. The hospital consists of seven clinics and 31 specialist centres. Similarly to European university hospitals, the North Estonia Medical Centre offers medical care in all specialist fields apart

Electrical Review | December 2016

While most enterprises today depend heavily on a reliable electricity supply to ensure their success and ultimately their survival, this dependency takes on an extra dimension for the centre. Its 100% digital environment contains many types of sensitive medical equipment, X-ray machines, large numbers of laboratories with specialist equipment, and refrigerators holding medicines. Clearly, loss of power to such devices simply cannot be tolerated. Sergei Kedrov, Electrical Development Engineer for the centre, was well aware of these considerations as he planned the electrical distribution system for the C-Block. He felt that confidence in the supplier was absolutely essential. Agreeing on an electrical distribution system that met their expectations on paper was of course essential, but a vital question was whether the solution actually delivered would live up to its reliability and performance as promised. Meanwhile, the centre had further clear requirements for the C-Block; while being reliable and safe for everyday hospital work, the system had to be highly cost-effective to operate. This meant low maintenance costs and high energy efficiency. Maintenance should be easy to manage, while builtin intelligence and communications capabilities should allow ready access to system status, and rapid diagnosis of actual and potential fault conditions.


RELIABLE, SAFE AND EASY TO MAINTAIN The centre’s Electrical Development department turned to Eaton for a solution, partly because of the protection, efficiency and intelligence capabilities of their distribution, backup and switchgear components, but also through the essentially consulting role that Eaton had fulfilled over several years during the earlier projects. Eaton offered candid advice on technical approaches to take as well as which installers to use, which the centre valued for its element of impartiality. “Eaton’s proposals have always been the best fit for the requirement, rather than the cheapest or easiest for them to sell”, commented Kedrov, “while their knowledge of installers and their track records have been equally useful”. The electrical distribution system is a complete multi-level hierarchy extending from Power Xpert FMX medium voltage switchgear systems, which are based on environmentally-friendly SF6 free technology, through various levels of low voltage panels for floors and departments, down to consumer units located close to points of use around the Block. Backup for the medical and IT equipment is provided by a pair of Power Xpert 9395 uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, while emergency lighting is supported by an Eaton system based on CEAG technology including a centralised battery and comprehensive monitoring functionality. Ultimate backup is available from a pair of large-scale generators. The main 9395 UPS system, which protects the medical equipment, has six units, with enough spare capacity to provide at least n+1 redundancy. Another 9395 UPS unit protects the server used for the Block’s IT system. UPS battery service life, at the centre’s request, is warranted for an extended period of at least 12 years. In the event of a power failure, battery autonomy is for 30 minutes, compared with a more usual 10 to 15 minutes of protection. In addition to the backup systems, reliability is enhanced by redundancy throughout the system. The main FMX medium voltage system configuration comprises 6 + 6 panels, while a second FMX installation with 3 + 3 panels in a separate room supports the generators. The low voltage distribution units also have electrical redundancy, with physical separation and firewalls used in key areas. Safety and protection, as well as reliability, are viewed by the centre as critical issues. Accordingly, Eaton’s advanced safety technology is employed throughout the system. The low voltage distribution units are built by Elrato, a leading Estonian panel builder that has worked with Eaton since 2005. These panels contain Eaton’s switchgear and Arcon arc fault detection and quenching systems. The fully-assembled panels are tested by Eaton in their laboratories and verified to meet their standards. The Arcon system detects the light and increased current from an arc flash, and reacts by initiating a three-phase short circuit diverting the energy that would have otherwise fed the arc. The incoming circuit-breaker immediately disconnects the affected busbar section from the mains supply. Thus, the arc can be stopped before it has a chance to develop and cause injury or damage switchgear equipment. The entire process from detection to quenching is completed in less than 2 ms. Troubleshooting and maintenance is made easier and lower-cost

for the centre through Eaton’s intelligence and communications capabilities at both low voltage distribution and consumer unit levels. The NZM series circuit breakers used in the low voltage distribution panels all have SWD NZM communications modules; these connect the breakers to the SmartWire-DT intelligent wiring system. This allows the centre’s staff to monitor the breakers‘ status in terms of alarm, errors, load currents, overload warning, trip signals and causes in real time. A second SmartWire-DT system has been installed into all ventilation and climate control boards, so any motor protective device trip or switching device malfunction is identified immediately. For both systems, all events are stored in log files, so problems can be immediately flagged and their causes and locations rapidly identified. The SmartWire-DT system was chosen as it significantly reduces the wiring complexity within control panels. This simplifies design, installation and commissioning – saving time and money while giving a better overview of system status. Communication with critical consumer units is similarly facilitated. These are fitted with xEffect digital miniature circuit

Safety and protection are viewed as critical issues breakers. By constantly monitoring their throughput current, xEffect devices can proactively report on abnormal levels. System status is also instantly visible through tri-coloured LEDs. Problem areas can be identified, and troubleshooting performed, before a failure occurs. This eases system maintenance, and significantly increases power availability for the system’s critical load.

AN INSTALLATION THAT FULFILS THE CENTRE’S EXPECTATIONS In designing their electrical distribution system, the centre’s team faced a demanding set of challenges; extreme reliability, protection and safety were absolutely essential, together with easy maintenance and low capital and operating costs. Eaton’s technology and support ensured that they achieved this. Carefullybalanced advice led to appropriate equipment specification and the right installers for a cost-effective installation, designed to maximise uptime and reliability. Safety, protection, and easy, reduced-cost maintenance are enabled by Eaton’s advanced technologies, such as Arcon, SmartWire-DT, xEffect as well as its maintenance-free and thanks to no use of SF6 gas environmentally-friendly range of medium voltage switchgear. “Our relationship with Eaton has been built up over the history of the three major projects we have worked on together – the X-Block, the Substation and now the C-Block” commented Sergei Kedrov, “and we know that we can trust them in terms of both what they recommend and what they deliver. Their systems have proven to be reliable, cost-effective and in compliance with our expectations. We are now looking at possibilities for clinics in other North Estonian locations, and will be inviting Eaton to offer their proposals for these as well.” www.electricalreview.co.uk


Back up generator starting made easy Kevin Girard, electrochemical design manager for Saft, explains the advantages of nickel technology batteries for mission critical generator starting applications and how they have been taken to the next level in the cutting edge SPX design. As the world’s most powerful industrial nickel technology battery, the SPX ensures high reliability, long cranking times at both high and low temperatures, and a calendar life of over 20 years


atteries are used to provide the starting current for the engines used in generator systems, fire pumps and other critical applications. They are therefore essential for the correct functioning of the system and may also have to handle some pre-start loads, such as heaters or lubricating oil pumps. In some cases the batteries are called into action on a daily basis, for example to start generators to support unreliable grids in the developing world. In other applications they might only be called into action once or twice a year, such as when starting backup generators to maintain continuity of supply for a hospital or industrial process when there is an interruption to the main power supply. Whatever the application, when called on the battery must perform its duty without fail. The requirements of these critical systems are much more stringent than the simple case of starting an engine in a vehicle and, given the potential consequences of a failure, both in terms of financial losses or even loss of life, it is surprising how little emphasis is placed on the correct choice of battery for starting standby generator sets and firepumps. The engines used are mostly diesel engines but some are gas-fueled. They can range in size up to 110 litres capacities, such as huge V-20 gensets and are designed to give high reliability and long life. The most fundamental change in gensets over the past 15 years has been rapid growth in power. Since 2000, the largest gensets have grown from 2 to 4 MW, with little additional space allocated to starting batteries. It is important that alongside all the other essential components the starter battery should be able to support its life-critical or mission-critical requirements.

STARTING CYCLE The starting cycle for an engine consists of three distinct sections. The first part of the cycle is the initial effort to break the engine from a stalled condition.This breakaway (or inrush) is the most critical part of the cycle as it requires the highest discharge current and falls to the lowest battery voltage. The current at this stage can range from a few hundred amps for a small engine to more than 6,000 A for the first second. Once breakaway has been achieved the engine moves to a cranking or rolling cycle where it is turning but has not yet started. During this cranking cycle the voltage, current and engine speed remains relatively constant. Finally ignition starts, the current falls rapidly and the voltage rises as the battery recovers.

The starting batteries need to have sufficient energy to achieve breakaway and maintain the manufacturer’s recommended threshold speed throughout the cranking period. Typical cranking periods range from 30 seconds up to four minutes, and at the minimum prescribed site temperature. The current required from the battery and the size of the battery depends on many factors in addition to the size of engine being started. These include the number of starter motors being used (usually 1 to 3), the oil viscosity being used, the battery temperature and the number of repeated cycles required before the engine starts. For really large applications multiple battery strings can be connected in parallel.

Typical cranking periods range from 30 seconds up to four minutes There are a number of International Standards which specify the number and duration of start attempts the battery/starter should be capable of achieving and the temperature at which this should be achievable. Starting batteries are available in two main types, nickel technology and lead-acid. Automotive-grade lead-acid batteries www.electricalreview.co.uk


A maintenance contractor checks diesel generators © Christian Delbert

are generally fitted for starting duties by generator set manufacturers because of their low purchase cost. However, the major cause of unreliability of standby generators is the use of this type of battery for starting. The automotive/truck battery features a thin pasted plate construction, designed to provide high starting currents at a minimum cost. It has been developed for the stop/start conditions of vehicles with a life expectancy of 2-4 years under non-critical conditions. These batteries are not designed for a standby role in which the battery must remain for long periods on float charge. They are unable to hold a charge for much longer than a month and, if a separate charger is not used, the system must be run regularly to ensure that the battery is maintained in a charged condition, a routine which is wasteful of fuel and can be overlooked. Regarding lead-acid batteries, the only practical option for starting applications is an automotive/truck battery. Higher quality lead-acid batteries used in standby industrial applications are more reliable and have a longer life, but their plates are thicker and, having a much lower performance, are unsuitable for starting applications. Thus the choice for engine starting remains between nickel technology and lead-acid automotive/ truck batteries.

NICKEL TECHNOLOGY FOR COMPLETE RELIABILITY The main advantages of nickel technology batteries include: Electrical Review | December 2016

• No ‘sudden death’ failure - even a well-maintained truck battery will typically fail unexpectedly and catastrophically during breakaway, while nickel technology starting capability degrades slowly and predictably. • No frequent battery replacements – nickel technology life is much longer than for truck batteries, with even the best quality lead-acid battery requiring replacement after 10 years at 25° C, while a nickel battery is expected to last more than 20 years. Lead-acid batteries are also very sensitive to temperature, with a relatively small increase in ambient temperature reducing life to less than 5 years, while nickel batteries are much less affected by high temperatures. • Engine starting batteries must provide very high currents on a reliable basis and nickel batteries not only have a high performance, they are much more reliable than lead-acid. • Nickel batteries have the capability to operate over a very wide temperature range with particularly good low temperature discharge performance. At –20°C they still provide more than 90 percent of their rated capacity, where lead-acid batteries struggle at low temperatures and their performance is dramatically affected below 0° C. • At temperatures above +20° the SPX cranking performance curve is effectively the same as lead-acid. When the cost of repeated replacements and unexpected failure is factored in, nickel- batteries are the most cost-effective option for engine starting.


SPX OFFERS HIGH POWER IN A COMPACT FOOTPRINT The main driver for the development of the SPX was to deliver extra high starting power for less Ah capacity. This is especially critical where larger packaged gensets are deployed with no increase in the available space for the starter battery. The SPX design provides twice the starting power for the same Ah capacity compared to a lead-acid battery and delivers very high currents of up to 20 times the battery’s nominal capacity. This makes it possible to create a battery that meets the required starting duty with a lower capacity and a lower cost, representing distinct advantages over lead-acid. In addition, SPX’s sintered positive and compact PBE negative electrode design enable it to maintain high performance levels throughout its life, even when partially discharged. To understand the specific advantages offered by the new SPX, in a typical cold conditions starting case (requiring 240 seconds of cranking at -18°C) an SPX rated at a nominal 165 Ah (at the 5 hour rate) can replace an SPH rated at 190 Ah. This means that the footprint can be reduced by 10 percent. In addition, the SPX delivers an additional 10 percent for a cranking time beyond 240 seconds. There is no limitation to the number of SPX batteries that can be configured in parallel, so they can be used to start even the largest engines. SPX batteries are a straightforward replacement for lead-acid batteries – they can use the same charging system. And since they can perform well with a lower capacity they will be smaller than the batteries they are replacing, so space is generally not an issue. The only consideration is that the different dimensions might require an alteration to the battery box.

SPX GUARANTEES SECURE AND RELIABLE STARTING Saft has a long track record in the development of nickel batteries for starting applications based on sintered/PBE technology that offers low maintenance and long service life within a slim, lightweight package. This design was perfected in Saft’s SPH range that has established an unrivalled track record for starting performance across an extensive global installed base. Saft has now taken starting batteries to the next level with the new SPX design, which is certified to IEC 60623 ‘X’ extra-high power. The SPX, delivers the most amperes per Ah capacity of any comparable battery – ranging from 316 A for 30 seconds for the 25 Ah capacity SPX 316 to 3330 A for 30 seconds for the 315 Ah capacity SPX 3330 - ensuring that any generator will start in all conditions. Moreover, thanks to its reduced footprint, the SPX enables smaller installations and lower environmental impact. SPX batteries have been developed for reliability in all conditions. They can operate normally over a range of temperatures from -20°C to + 50°C and can withstand extremes of -50°C to +70°C for short periods. They can also remain in storage for many years before commissioning without affecting subsequent performance. Furthermore, due to the general reliability of mains power supplies, the maintenance of generator batteries is often neglected. When installed at room temperature SPX batteries require almost no maintenance for the first 10 years - while

still ensuring that, when required, they will deliver the high power that guarantees the generator will start. This can be a critical consideration for plant in remote areas, especially in the developing world, where transportation costs can make maintenance a costly exercise. When it does take place, SPX maintenance comprises a once in a lifetime topping up with distilled water. This is in contrast to lead-acid batteries that require frequent maintenance inspections to ensure that they are working correctly.

SPX OFFERS A LONG LIFE, UP TO 5 TIMES THAT OF LEAD-ACID BATTERIES The SPX design offers a calendar life of over 20 years of calendar life – depending on the specific application. This is around 5 times the life expectancy of an equivalent lead-acid starter battery. The SPX battery range delivers maximum starting capacity throughout its life. Even when the battery is not fully charged, the starting power is almost 100 percent. This makes SPX ideal for extended starting sequences where the engine might need cranking for up to 240 seconds. After a starting sequence the SPX offers fast recharging up to 85 percent capacity, depending on available recharge current. So in most cases where the engine will have started in a matter of seconds, the battery will have recharged in only a few minutes.

The corrosion which takes place in a lead-acid battery can lead to sudden and total failure SPX ENSURES NO CORROSION OR CORROSIVE FUMES The corrosion which takes place in a lead-acid battery can lead to sudden and total failure. In SPX batteries there is no risk of corrosion , nor can corrosive gases be formed, therefore they will not fail open-circuit. All load-bearing parts such as pole bolts and the plate structure are made of steel, while cell containers, separators and vents are made of polypropylene. The alkaline electrolyte preserves the steel components and only acts as a medium for the transfer of ions. SPX holds a large electrolyte reservoir that, together with its robust construction gives the battery its capability to function even in harsh conditions. It will not age prematurely and will deliver reliable service for 20 years or more.

SPX SIZING CALCULATIONS ARE MADE EASY SPX sizing calculations can be quickly made with BaSics, Saft’s easy-to-use battery sizing software. After inputting performance criteria, BaSics establishes the cranking current/battery size for the specific engine starting application. SPX’s high current capability often means that a lower capacity battery is suitable, giving a lower total cost. www.electricalreview.co.uk

38 | PRODUCTS ACHIEVE ROBUST EMC PERFORMANCE WITHOUT EXTERNAL COMPONENTS Allegro MicroSystems Europe has announced a new package option for its A119x/A119x-F (A1190, A1192, and A1193) family of twowire, unipolar, Hall-effect switches, which can be trimmed by the user at end-of-line to optimise magnetic switch-point accuracy in the application. The A119x and A119x-F are produced on the Allegro advanced BiCMOS wafer fabrication process, which implements a patented highfrequency, 4-phase, chopper stabilisation technique. This technique achieves magnetic stability over the full operating temperature range, and eliminates offsets inherent in devices with a single Hall element that are exposed to harsh application environments.

Allegro MicroSystems Europe +33 (0) 4 50512359 www.allegromicro.com

MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION As part of its continuous development and growth, Martindale Electric is pleased to announce it has relocated to new larger premises, which will enable the company to further enhance its service to customers. Bringing together sales, marketing, manufacturing, product development and training together under one roof, the new building also provides new calibration, repair and training facilities which will enable Martindale Electric to provide even higher levels of customer service, whilst continuing to build on its leading position in safe isolation and electrical safety. Located less than 100m from its current location, the new modern building occupies a prominent position at the head of Imperial Way, Watford and offers easy access to the M25 and M1.

Martindale Electric • 01923 441717 www.martindale-electric.co.uk

Electrical Review | December 2016

IMPROVED ZOOM CAPABILITY Security products supplier, ESP, continues to develop its HDView CCTV range to bring products with enhanced performance to market and the latest addition is a new 720P high definition Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) camera which offers improved x18 optical zoom capability and features a more stylish design. PTZ cameras are equipped with a motorised mechanism that facilitates remote control of the camera’s lens, allowing large areas to be covered with a single camera. This mechanism offers a full pan, tilt and zoom operation, whilst enabling a 360 degree rotation function and zoom lens to deliver exceptional image quality, making them ideally suited for commercial applications where detailed surveillance is required.

ESP • 01527 515150 www.espuk.com

LATEST LED LIGHTING AND THE IOT AT LUXLIVE Fulham, a supplier of lighting components and electronics, is making its debut at LuxLive this year with its latest LED lighting products for OEMs, distributors and lighting professionals. Amongst the Fulham products on display on Stand C16 will be the LumoSeries LED drivers, HotSpot Plus LED and emergency lighting drivers. Mark Needham, Fulham’s european vice president for sales commented, “This is an exciting time for Fulham as we expand our presence in Europe. From our base in the Netherlands and with new distributors being appointed around Europe, we are able to offer the lighting market some of the best LED equipment available for lighting luminaire manufacturers. As well as our extensive range of LED and emergency lighting drivers, we have also partnered with Control Network Solutions (CNS) to deliver world-class IoT smart lighting solutions based on DALI platforms which allow even greater control of power and lumen outputs from LED lighting and for optimum life.”

Fulham • +31 72 572 3000 www.fulham.com



Harting has reaffirmed the recent UK launch of its Han-Modular Switch US4 connector as a strategic part of its Industry 4.0 portfolio. This connector is designed to save control cabinet space, reduce wiring and improve distributed networking, specifically in support of Industry 4.0 modernisation programmes. Howard Forryan, product market specialist at Harting, said; “One of the key Industry 4.0 principles is the ‘smart factory’ which is focused on enhanced interoperability and flexibility, cell modularisation, miniaturisation and increased decentralisation. However, many established manufacturers face barriers of physical space. This clever connector design helps save space by integrating multiple components and connections into a single unit.”

Lighting and wiring accessories manufacturer, Scolmore Group, has added to its popular Inceptor range of integrated LED Downlights, with a non-fire-rated version that provides contractors with a high-quality, cost-saving LED solution for lighting projects. The new Inceptor Pico Fixed Integrated LED Downlight is being positioned as the ideal alternative for those applications where there isn’t the requirement for a fire-rated fitting and therefore, no need to incur the additional expense that a fire-rated model commands. With contractors keen to keep overall costs of a project as cost-effective as possible, but without compromising on quality and performance, Inceptor Pico ticks all the right boxes, producing an excellent light output for the power utilised.

Harting • 01604 827500 www.harting.co.uk

Scolmore • 01827 63454 www.scolmore.com


Contact the sales team 0207 933 8974 Lighting






Visit us on Stand R20 at DCW

Datacentre Testing... No Problem Rack Mounted 2kw Single Phase

Server Emulators and Heat Load for Commissioning and Integrated Systems Testing

Rack Mounted 3.5 or 3.75kw Single Phase

O Temporary Racks and Power Distribution O Temporary Blanking O Temperature and Humidity Data Loggers O Fully installed and managed or rental only

20MW Heat Load Available for rent

Floor Standing –3-Phase & Single Phase 2, 3, 9, 15 & 22kw

www.heatload.co.uk | +44 (0)1243 575106 OLH[SVHK JV \R PZ H [YHKPUN UHTL VM 4HÄ 4\ZORPSH 3[K