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Because of rapid growth in digitization, electrical contractors need to be prepared to apply the appropriate level of power protection to smart assets that might be spread far and wide throughout buildings and infrastructure, according to the latest webcast on secure power trends, now available here.
The webcast titled, “The Importance of Secure Power Systems for Industry & Infrastructure in a Digitized Economy,”was recently presented by Manish Gokhale, APC by Schneider Electric’s general manager and business development manager for the India, Srilanka, and Bangladesh markets. Gokhale highlighted the rapid shift toward digitized or “smart” equipment in industry, the need to protect the information flow from these assets, and the educational resources that electrical contractors have at their disposal to help meet the resulting challenges.
Digitization is closely related to the Internet of Things (IoT) trend, for which growth projections vary, but which Gartner estimates will reach 26 billion connected devices by 2020, while Cisco Systems predicts the IoT will number 50 billion things by 2020. Any way you slice it, concluded Gokhale, the shift toward smart, connected equipment is massive, and is one that electrical contractors must help companies adjust to.
“Commercial buildings, hospitals, factories, water treatment plants, data centers, you name it—everything is connected,” said Gokhale. “The buildings have become smart … the electrical grids have become smarter,” he said. “What we are watching today is the very rapid digitization of industry and infrastructure.”
In response, said Gokhale, electrical contractors face multiple challenges in helping to ensure that equipment and infrastructure is well protected. The primary challenge, he said, it to avoid downtime.
In some food industry factories, Gokhale said, if a power outage is allowed to stop a production process, it may mean the plant must scrap a whole batch of half-processed goods and start the production run all over again.
To protect against such vulnerabilities, there is a need to apply power protection solutions such as uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units that are appropriate for the equipment or process control systems in question, said Gokhale. At the same time, there is the need to make power protection gear as energy efficient as possible, which involves properly sizing the units to load profiles and criticality level.
Gokhale encouraged contractors to tap the various online resources that Schneider Electric offers such as white papers, Energy University, trade off tools such as a power usage effectiveness calculator, as well as other resources available via Schneider Electric’s Web page for consultants, designers, engineers, and contractors.
These online resources can help a contractor’s staff with education, or particular tools can be used for tasks such as determining which UPS product is most appropriate for a project, said Gokhale.
With digitized assets that sit outside a data center environment, said Gokhale, it’s important to “right size” the level of power protection. This can be tricky for environments which have motors with high initial “inrush” current requirements, but a much lower profile for normal operation. In such cases, added Gokhale, a load study might be needed to determine the optimal power protection solution.
Schneider Electric’s online resources and its people and services are there to help contractors answer key questions and increase their level of knowledge, said Gokhale, although ultimately, contractors need to reach out and tap these resources to be better prepared for digitization. “What capabilities do I, as an electrical contractor or consultant, need to build to become a leader in this field,” he concluded.
Contractors interested in finding out more about becoming a Schneider Electric partner can visit APC Partner Central.