New Appointment is Central to Growth of CENTIEL’s Service Offering
CENTIEL UK, has announced it is continuing to grow its service department with the appointment of Will Simmons as external service sales engineer. Will Simmons will now be responsible for continuing the expansion of CENTIEL’s service sales portfolio, focusing on delivering the best solution for CENTIEL’s UK wide customer base….
When’s The Right Time to Invest in a New UPS?
The lifetime of a typical UPS lifetime is usually around ten years. This is because manufacturers are obliged to supply replacement parts for up to ten years after cessation of manufacture.
Therefore, the purchasing of equipment five years before this end date may extend the product’s apparent life to 14 years – after which, capacitors and/or batteries usually require replacing for a second or third time thereby making further investment in aging technology prohibitive…..
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 01420 82031
External Service Sales Engineer, Centiel UK Ltd
Will joined Centiel UK in October 2020 as an External Service Sales Engineer with responsibility for generating new service sales enquiries to grow the UK service portfolio, plus lifecycle replacements and the management of key accounts. Will’s role is key in delivering the best solution for CENTIEL’s UK wide customer base, and demonstrating the Centiel brand as the most innovative UPS manufacturer in the market today.
Far from Routine: Understanding a UPS’ Field Service Report
Far from Routine: Understanding a UPS’ Field Service Report
Planned maintenance visits (PMV) for UPS installations are essential to ensure the system is kept in optimum condition, so if the power fails, the UPS takes over to protect the critical load just as it is designed to do. At CENTIEL, our engineers undertaking PMVs are highly trained and skilled. Their aim is to protect the load and always provide best advice for the customer.
PMVs will see engineers complete a variety of visual checks to identify early warning signs to prevent any potential failures of important components. When AC/DC capacitors crack and leak or overheat it may already be too late. When batteries crack or become swollen they have already caused damage and when fans have failed or seized your load is already at risk. Identifying early warning signs such as aging fans and capacitors and degrading batteries, allow remedial works to be actioned before your system fails. The environment will also be assessed for temperature, airflow, dust and humidity levels, as these can all affect the correct working of the equipment. Engineers will take note of all the important readings and record these in a field service report (FSR).
Prevention is-better than-cure
If you owned a Mercedes would you take it to your local Halfords for a service? Probably not. You would more likely, use the nearest specialist garage, experienced and competent in fixing your particular vehicle. As well as understanding the make and model of your car and its history, they are more likely to have spare parts already in stock and if not, be able to source them quickly.
Yet, there is an endemic industry problem when it comes to UPS maintenance. Contracts for the maintenance of a UPS designed to protect a critical load frequently seem to be covered by the ‘cheapest’ option which involves minimum maintenance, often carried out by engineers who are not specialists in that particular manufacturer’s model of UPS.
We were recently called in to advise a local hospital where the operating theatre needed to undertake £100K worth of operations per day. We reviewed the maintenance contract and found that a ‘cost-effective’ solution had been agreed, and the providers were not specialists in the equipment being used. A few days later, when an emergency did occur, the attending engineer didn’t have the spare parts required to get the system back on-line and we were asked if we could assist. We deployed one of our engineers straightaway to investigate and rectify the situation (typically it always seems to happen s in the middle of the night!) The morale of this short story is that cheapest is most certainly not best, it may appear to reduce the upfront cost of a maintenance contract but at what financial cost long term, or worse patients’ lives potentially put at risk?
The Lifecycle of a UPS: Time to Repair or Replace?
A typical UPS life cycle is generally around ten years, as manufacturers are obliged to supply replacement parts for up to ten years after cessation of manufacture. Therefore, the purchasing of UPS equipment five years before this end date may extend the product’s apparent life cycle to 14 years – after which, capacitors and/or batteries usually require replacing for a second or third time thereby making further investment in aging technology prohibitive.
Surprisingly, replacement batteries can cost 30 to 40% of a brand-new UPS system. The standard five or ten-year design life VRLA type battery will generally require replacing at four or eight years.
Replacing individual faulty battery blocks in strings is not recommended due to the different impedances between old and new and equalisation becomes a problem. Rapid chemical build-up within the new blocks will seriously affect their performance and within weeks they can become significantly ‘aged’; best practice is to replace all batteries at the same time.
Replacement of capacitors, AC and DC, is also a costly exercise and although prices vary depending on the UPS system, can amount to around 5-10% of the cost of a new UPS. Recommended replacement times vary between manufacturer with some advocating changing both at five years. Confirm this with your UPS supplier!
When capacitors fail, they fail spectacularly
Most AC capacitors have a shelf life of five-seven years, while DC capacitors usually need replacing between seven-ten years. Signs of damage to be aware of include leaks, cracks, splits or any drying out which could potentially cause an issue. If/when these signs occur your UPS maintenance engineer will highlight the need to change your caps in their report. Best practice is to change your caps when your UPS maintenance provider advises you to as when capacitors fail, they fail spectacularly. They can catch fire and even explode, damaging other components and present a serious hazard.
Below is a video (created under controlled conditions) which shows just how dangerous it can be when capacitors fail.