To buy direct from a UPS manufacturer or not to buy direct from a UPS manufacturer, that is the question…   However, as manufacturers of quality UPS solutions we do believe there are important advantages to buying direct, here is a snapshot of the top 5…
1 – Manufacturers Quality Assurance

By purchasing a UPS direct, customers know the origin of their solution.  They are assured of the product’s quality and know what they are getting and where it’s come from.  Rather than acquiring a re-badged or resold solution, working directly with a UPS manufacturer guarantees proof of investment.  This can be achieved through witness testing at the factory, where customers can see how their UPS performs before it is installed.

Many people believe by appointing a third party, that the middleman will be able to ‘shop around’ and get the best price.  However, the cheapest solution may not be the most cost effective over the long term.  Inferior solutions made with cheap components fail and the cost of replacement and inefficiencies of poor-quality kit can quickly outweigh any savings on the initial investment.

Where manufacturers of high-quality UPS like CENTIEL, come into their own is by designing right-sized solutions appropriate to customers’ critical loads.  In this way the client gains the best quality solution made with the highest quality components, built to last but at the same time, can reduce running costs due to improved efficiencies.   In addition, the need for replacement parts down the line is reduced too, due to improved quality of equipment.  In this way the overall total cost of ownership (TCO) is minimised.

2 – preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance visits are important to keep your UPS in perfect working order. The term preventative is key here, these visits allow specialist engineers to check your whole power protection solution for signs of wear and tear or even damage. So, what do engineers actually check for during a maintenance visit?

Environmental and conditional factors such as temperature, dust and moisture (ingress), restrictions to access and airflow, which are all external factors which could potentially damage the equipment. They make sure that the UPS is set to perform as it is intended, this includes checking the parameters inside the service menu to see if there are any changes such as firmware updates from the factory’s R&D team.

We advise two preventative maintenance visits per year to safeguard the client’s investment in supporting their critical load. The information obtained during these visits is essential to build up the history of your system and to diagnose any remedial works that may be required. In addition…….when the engineer records current information such as the load profile, this allows us to establish whether the UPS is still correctly sized, plan for the future and even identify system overloading before it happens.  The reverse of this allows us to identify oversized and inefficient systems too.

3 – Manufacturers’ Warranty

UPS implementation is all about mitigating risk.   Buying through a third party may only give you 12 months’ warranty where manufactures like CENTIEL offer 24 months as standard.  This provides two years’ peace of mind and support for new systems.  So, in the event that you need it, you have a fully comprehensive insurance policy which despite the reliability of the systems, is no bad thing considering the level of investment in your UPS.

Understanding your warranty is critical, many warranties are invalidated when proper maintenance visits are not kept up to date or worse, through unqualified people working on UPS equipment.  Unless those carrying out the maintenance are manufacturer trained or have an official partnership you could be putting your warranty and critical load at risk.

4 – Training

Many organisations are terrified of their UPS!   But we believe it’s vital for clients to understand how their systems operate at a functional level and what to look out for.   If clients can see how heavily loaded the UPS is, how the load fluctuates or understand the disturbances to the power supply or any brown outs, this information can help them make informed decisions about future power protection needs.

We like to think that a UPS is not something that is switched on and left until the next maintenance visit!  Therefore, we believe it’s important for organisations to receive basic training in how their UPS works.   It’s site dependent but some have even been trained in first level response so in an emergency they can react immediately and work with our technical support team to diagnose a potential fault prior to an engineer arriving on site.  We help our clients to manage their load in an informed way on an ongoing basis to maximise their UPS’ availability and minimise their costs.

5 – Connectivity

To understand what information the UPS is generating an SNMP card which costs just a few hundred pounds is indispensable.  It gathers information which can be viewed on the network and remotely.  Being able to see data in real time is helpful for preventing issues and monitoring the overall health of the UPS.   Our systems are also enabled with Bluetooth which allows users to connect with a tablet and download a real time report which can be emailed to our technical team who can check on any concerns the client may have.

So, in short, by buying direct from a UPS manufacturer you will get a more bespoke, quality UPS design that is right-sized for your load, reducing TCO.  By ensuring correct maintenance programs are adhered to risks are mitigated.

By Louis McGarry, Sales and Marketing Director, CENTIEL UK Ltd

Article originally featured in Electrical Review Buyers Guide August 2020

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