Perhaps you’ve seen photos of uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units meant for industrial environments, or have seen one up close in person. One of the first things that makes these UPSs look different than most other UPSs is that an “industrial” UPS often has an industrial grey color for its enclosure or may be a unique color like green or red. Additionally, it is often equipped with analog instruments.
An industrial UPS, due to ruggedized enclosures, filtering, and other factors, also tends to be larger than commercial UPSs with similar power ratings. By “commercial” UPSs, I’m referring to products that primarily grew out of the data center market. While some commercial UPSs are excellent for facility and light industrial use, there is a need to understand the characteristics of a true industrial UPS.
Yes, from the outside, an industrial UPS looks different in terms of instrumentation, human machine interface and relative size. However, there is much more that sets an industrial UPS apart, starting with the application needs, which drive the characteristics found both on the inside and the outside of an industrial UPS.
Let’s start with the industry needs and applications that drive the differences. These needs are usually connected to the ability to withstand and perform in harsh conditions that may be hot, wet, or humid; to withstand dust or water splash in places like factories or mines; and to be certified for use in higher seismic activity zones.
The conditions are found in vertical industries such as oil & gas, chemical plants, power generation, nuclear power generation, mining, and manufacturing sectors such as steel or cement production where equipment needs power protection but the conditions are harsh. For example, in the oil & gas industry, gas pipelines have compression and decompression points with sensitive equipment which needs a reliable, secure power supply. Or, an offshore oil platform might have equipment that needs a UPS for power reliability, but is exposed to the elements.
Keep in mind, however, that even in sectors like oil & gas, there are facilities such as refineries or exploration technology centers which have data centers or large server rooms that need high quality, appropriately sized commercial UPS for power reliability. So while industrial UPS is important in certain industry sectors, that sector also uses a broader range of UPS products. Schneider Electric offers a full range of UPS solutions, from UPS for data centers and office buildings, to UPSs suitable for light industrial settings, and true industrial UPS units, most of which are offered under Schneider Electric’s Gutor technology solutions.
Some of the features and requirements common to a true industrial UPS include:
- The ability to withstand dust and water splash. This comes in part from rugged enclosures with special filtration and sealing features, which are certified to meet standards from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), such as NEMA 12.
- Special colors or a minimum cabinet wall thickness. Customers in sectors like oil & gas often have specific enclosure requirements in a request for proposal (RFP) related to color or enclosure characteristics.
- UPS that are rated for use in high activity seismic zones. Such products are thoroughly tested to withstand vibrations.
- Ruggedness also comes from the “inside” of the unit. Industrial UPS solutions typically have components such as power modules selected to perform well at higher ambient temperature.
- Customer RFP requirements having to do with components, such astin-lining for copper materials to prevent corrosion, coated printed circuit boards, also for corrosion prevention, or having bar codes or other identification on components.
- Generally, RFPs for UPSs for industrial settings get very specific about documentation. The customer may want a detailed bill of material (BOM) for the customized UPS, and in some industries, such as nuclear power, each major component typically needs its own quality documentation.
Such requirements mean that industrial UPSs typically are engineer to order or configure to order solutions built to match the specifications of RFPs.
If as a power protection solution provider, you come across such RFPs with these industrial requirements, please know that Schneider Electric’s UPSs with Gutor technology specialize in meeting these needs. In other more light duty settings such as many factories with less harsh conditions, there may be overlap between Gutor technology solutions and other UPSs from Schneider Electric. If you are an owner/operator or contractor, have confidence that we have a solution for what you need, from the data center, to light industrial, to the harshest environments.
With industries that involve harsh conditions such as oil & gas and mining increasingly using digitized equipment that needs reliable power, the need for industrial UPS is stronger than ever.
To learn more about Schneider Electric’s UPS products, this Web page offers more information. For details on GUTOR technology offerings, take a look at this Web page, or ask to speak with a representative involved with industrial UPS solutions.