A Major Step To Predictive Capability: UPS Management with Battery Status Monitoring

UPS management concept

If there is one truism IT solution providers understand all too well, it is that it’s hard to manage what you can’t see. If you lack visibility into customers’ environments, the chances of achieving high performance are seriously diminished. Poor visibility also leads to downtime, which translates to a higher number of truck rolls to customer sites for troubleshooting and restoring service. Each time a truck is dispatched, operating costs increase. That’s why there is the heavy emphasis in recent years on visibility and real-time data analytics to track the health of equipment at remote sites. This includes a focus on the monitoring of uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) or UPS Management to prevent unplanned downtime.

Since edge computing environments are expanding, visibility and real-time analytics have never been more important. As customers invest in edge deployments the number of locations for which IT solution providers are responsible is growing exponentially. Keeping those sites operating at peak performance has become an essential part of the services that need to be delivered. Part of keeping these sites up and running includes a solid plan for managing UPSs to prevent unplanned downtime.

But IT solution providers need the right tools for UPS management. For instance, when managing the power infrastructure, wouldn’t it be valuable to track not only the health and performance of uninterruptible power supply units but also the batteries in them? Traditionally, tracking battery status has been mostly a guessing game. If providers don’t guess right, the battery drains earlier than expected, requiring a visit to the site for a replacement. Multiply this several times for each customer, and IT solution providers are looking at a serious impact on operating costs.

Battery Health Monitoring

In a major step to implementing predictive capability, the technology now exists to monitor batteries in many types of UPSs on the market. Data collected from the batteries makes it possible for IT solution providers to better manage battery and UPS lifecycles. They no longer have to rely on guesswork to time replacements.

With this information, providers can calculate a battery’s expected end of life and schedule a replacement accordingly. For instance, a battery currently operating a 75% wear won’t need a replacement for another two and a half years. Replacement is recommended when the threshold of 40% is reached, something that can be forecasted through a UPS Score.

The data is valuable for other aspects of predictive maintenance in addition to battery replacements. For instance, temperature readings may indicate that a site is running hot and needs a cooling system upgrade. The data also shows when a UPS unit itself needs replacement due to age.

A Predictive Approach for UPSs

IT solution providers along with their customers can benefit in multiple ways from this predictive approach to monitoring UPS batteries.

One obvious benefit is a reduction in operating costs. Not only can IT solution providers proactively prevent situations that require truck rolls, they also can consolidate site visits by scheduling battery replacements with other tasks that require an on-site presence.

Another key win is a tighter engagement with customers, which can be achieved by building a managed service around predictive capability for batteries and UPS units. By adding this service, providers can increase visibility and prevent downtime particularly in edge computing sites which may not have dedicated IT staff. Customers gain peace of mind that their operations will stay up and running.

This monitoring capability is available through Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxureTM IT Expert.  Data captured from batteries allows providers to build a UPS Score assessment based on UPS and battery age, temperature, the existence of critical alarms, and phase balancing – in other words, all the factors that contribute to battery decay. Other details include current battery wear status, age, temperature and the cumulative count of discharges (cycles).

The UPS Score is an early step toward a comprehensive predictive maintenance program that depends on improved reliability and data collection to maximize performance at the edge. Find out more about UPS Scores here. Also, learn more about how to expand your offer portfolio by visiting our edge remote management resource site.

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