Industrial edge, power protection among hottest commercial & industrial topics in 2018

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With the end of the year upon us, it’s a good time to reflect on what topics most resonated with blog post readers this year in the commercial and industrial sector. We had one big (relatively) new topic – the industrial edge – along with a strong focus on the role of power protection in an overall business continuity strategy and the role industrial UPSs and electrical contractors play in that effort.

How the industrial edge drives productivity

As companies increasingly digitize operations and adopt Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, they find they need more localized or “edge” computing infrastructure. When edge infrastructure is applied to commercial and industrial companies, such as for Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications, it’s known as the “industrial edge.”

It’s an important trend, and one that can help companies boost productivity, as the post “How Industrial Edge Applications are Driving Much Needed Manufacturing Productivity Gains,” detailed. It explained how IIoT applications and analytics can drive predictive maintenance programs that prevent machine failures and improve Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) metrics. Another example is video analytics, such as to detect defective products on a conveyor belt.

We are in the early stages of the IIoT trend, as our “What is the Industrial Edge” post explained, with only 15% of companies having deployed IoT use cases. That post detailed the story of a manufacturer that upgraded its legacy systems to digital processes and found four success factors emerged: high availability, backup and recovery, power protection and security.

Power protection as a business continuity driver

Those four factors are all inter-related, of course. Power protection, for example, is crucial to high availability, which is a topic we covered repeatedly in 2018.

One example is in the semiconductor industry. The post “Semiconductor Megatrends are Driving the Need for Critical Power Solutions,” detailed how power protection and industrial UPSs are critical to ensuring the semiconductor manufacturing process isn’t derailed by power problems. For semiconductor manufacturers, the issue is not just ensuring power is available, but that it’s good, “clean” power that won’t harm sensitive manufacturing machines. That’s a job only an industrial UPS can handle.

It’s a similar story in the healthcare field, as the post “Why MRI Machine Cooling is Critical to Reliability and Patient Satisfaction” makes clear. A single MRI machine may perform about 6,000 scans per year, at a cost of around $2,600 per scan – so it’s important that the machines don’t go down. Cooling systems are crucial to that effort, but so is clean, reliable power – to keep both the cooling system operating properly as well as the MRI machine itself.

Another post, “Sustainability and Power Stability Determine the Ultimate Success of the World’s Biggest Football Tournament,” details the importance of power protection in producing mega-events, as Russia did in 2018. In addition to stadiums in 11 cities, tournament-related infrastructure included 96 training sites, 26 transport facilities (including 3 airports), 29 utility facilities, 12 power stations, and 27 new hotels. Industrial UPSs and generators were important to ensuring reliable power in all of these facilities – and, hence, to the comfort and protection of athletes and fans.

Electricians play big role in ensuring power protection

While industrial UPSs play an important role in power protection and business continuity, so do the electrical contractors and electricians who are responsible for properly sizing and installing the UPSs.

It’s clear that was a topic that resonated with readers in 2018. The post, “UPS Basics for Electrical Contractors & Specifiers: How to Choose, Configure and Cost-Justify,” was our most popular of the year, viewed more than 11,000 times.

Similarly, the post “Internet of Things Technology Presents Big Opportunities for Electrical Contractors,” focused specifically on how contractors can capitalize on the IIoT trend. It’s a significant opportunity to say the least, given the installed base of IoT devices is expected to exceed 75 billion by 2025, according to Forbes. What’s more, $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions between 2015 and 2020 according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Another post, “It’s All About Business Continuity: How Electricians Can Offer Back Up Power Protection to Commercial Customers,” neatly laid out the various areas of a typical commercial business that can benefit from industrial UPSs. They include safety and security systems, HVAC, point of sale systems and more.

Staying up to speed in 2019

We hope these blog posts helped shed some light on the requirements commercial and industrial companies face in maintaining business continuity, and the important role industrial UPSs play in a comprehensive power protection system. As more companies adopt IIoT applications, we’ll surely see more infrastructure at the industrial edge that requires power protection.

Make sure you stay up to speed by frequently checking our blog and taking advantage of the various resources on our web site, including our Industrial Business Continuity site. Here’s to a productive, successful, outage-free 2019.

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