We’ve all been there. You’re right in the middle of watching your favourite movie, cooking up a dish of delicious food, or even just enjoying a good book lit by the glow from a nearby lamp when suddenly, the lights flicker and…that’s all, folks! The power’s gone, all is dark, and you’re left hoping your house comes back to life again while your stir-fry still has some sizzle in its wok.
It’s dealing with short-term power outages. It can cause concern if enterprises like power generation and gas distribution are interrupted. Suppose a tiny power blip at a generator station resulted in entire neighbourhoods going offline, or a brown-out meant natural gas didn’t flow to your furnace.
There’s one steadfast piece of equipment standing in the way between us and the above scenario, though, and that’s the ever-reliable UPS. We happen to have the far-reaching expertise of Catch’s own Vice President of Technology, David Grossklaus, here to walk us through things – so let’s take a moment today to explore just how these critically integral systems function.
Five Things to Know About UPS Systems
1. A High-Level Overview
Before we properly dig into the details of UPS systems, it’s helpful to have a high-level understanding of what these systems are and what they’re designed to do.
“UPS stands for Uninterruptible Power Supply,” Grossklaus began summarizing. “A UPS is essentially a piece of equipment that can work to keep critical system components – control systems, data connections, that sort of thing – protected and operational in the event of a power fluctuation or failure.” That sounds simple enough, but of course, there’s a lot more depth and detail to consider when it comes to understanding just how advantageous UPS systems are
2. Continuity of Use – Power or No
“Our world revolves around data and connectivity,” Grossklaus reminded us while discussing UPS systems. “Interruptions in access to needed data and related services can cause many problems hitting everything from operational to commercial needs.
“Critical infrastructure communications requirements can be impacted,” Grossklaus continued. “For example,utilities, banking and health care require a constant communications uplink for information access here in Alberta and further. Suppose we lose connectivity with any of them for even just a few seconds. In that case, critical information is no longer available to the users that need it.” This impacts all of us in so many ways.
When even seconds of downtime means an entire generating station going offline, it’s no wonder there’s so much effort put into keeping things running smoothly – power blip or not! That’s precisely where UPS systems can help to save the day, though. Whether it’s a power loss that just causes the lights to flicker or a blackout that lasts much longer, a UPS can protect against whatever sorts of power interruptions you might find your equipment up against. But, of course, how long that protection lasts depends on the available battery reserve and the operational load on it.
3. Alarms and Predetermined Actions
Beyond just providing power to critical systems, UPS systems can also be designed to take that safeguarding a step further in the event of a power outage or fluctuation.
“There’s an additional element of protection that UPS systems can bring to your equipment,” Grossklaus explained. “Beyond just providing a source of power to keep critical components operational, a UPS can also be built to provide additional defences. Not only can your UPS work to sound an alarm or warning in the event of a power fluctuation, but it can also be designed to execute a series of predetermined actions to shut down the equipment, keeping it safeguarded in the event of a particularly long or protracted power outage.” This functionality can make all the difference in keeping your equipment safe and providing peace of mind that your investment is protected, no matter what sort of storms (figurative or literal!) might be brewing on the horizon.\
4. Protection from Surges and Spikes
Throughout this article, we’ve spoken about how UPS systems can help keep your equipment safe not just from power outages but from fluctuations in general – and for a good reason. That’s because UPS systems don’t just work to keep critical systems operational when the lights go out – they’re built to keep your equipment protected from damaging power surges, too. Similar to how your UPS will swap over to internal power in the event of an outage, it can also recognize big voltage jumps coming in and will make that same quick switch to keep your equipment safe and operational when it might have been toast otherwise
5. Filtered Power is Better Power
Building off our last point, there’s one additional underlying benefit to implementing a UPS system in your next project that often goes overlooked by the industry – but not by David Grossklaus.
“As the conversion process from DC to AC happens, one of the key benefits is that a UPS can refine the quality of the power reaching your equipment. A UPS can greatly filter the power coming in – keeping noise out, helping components last, and ensuring your operation runs smoothly for longer.” Whether you’ve got too much or too little power suddenly coming in, a UPS can mean the difference between a thriving operation and one that’s dead in the water – and Catch Engineering can help bring that peace of mind to your project today.
A big thank-you goes out to David Grossklaus for taking the time to chat with us about UPS systems, power fluctuations, and more. We couldn’t appreciate it more! Are you looking for an engineering partner that goes the extra mile to keep your operation running and your investment protected? Contact us at Catch Engineering today to learn more about how we can bring the Catch Difference to your project or endeavour!