Project: Battery Monitoring and Spare Parts

Situation

UPS RoomA multi campus client of Johnston Technologies was struggling to maintain a normal battery life in their uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

The building was limited on available space, so the decision was made to set the UPS in a condensed room with no central air conditioning availability and located in a parking garage.  Over time, they noticed they were experiencing an unusually high number of batteries failing.

Without any option of relocating the UPS, adjustments were made by inserting two supplemental cooling units in front of the battery cabinets in an effort to reduce the battery temperature closer to the optimum 77 degrees.  Unfortunately, battery problems continued.  They became desperate for an InfraStrategy that would put them ahead of the battery related problems they were experiencing and not leave them reacting to their issues.

Solution

Customers want to be proactive not reactive.  In addition to offering UPS maintenance and service, many of our customer are now monitoring individual batteries and maintaining “hot” battery spares.   This level of preparedness allows them to be proactive to power needs and be able to quickly repair any issues.  This InfraStrategy would need to include a battery monitoring system, a spare parts kit for their UPS, and on-site spare batteries for emergency replacements.

Beginning with the UPS spare parts kit, the customer chose to purchase the most comprehensive third level of spare parts kits for their unit.  This parts kit would allow for immediate replacement of approximately 90% of parts in their UPS, greatly reducing their Mean Time to Repair (MTTR).  While their UPS is under a service contract, the spare part that was used to repair the UPS will be replaced at no additional cost and the cannibalized part will be restocked.  This process allows the unit to be fixed while avoiding the time necessary to ship the part.

B.O.S.S. CabinetAfter the spare parts kit was purchased and delivered, the next stage of the InfraStrategy was to include a Battery On-Site Spare (B.O.S.S.) cabinet.  The B.O.S.S. cabinets keep a handful of batteries fully charged and ready for immediate replacement.  Similar to the UPS spare parts kit, a B.O.S.S. cabinet keeps batteries on-site in case of a failure and can greatly reduce the MTTR by eliminating the time needed to ship a new battery to the site.

The third leg of our InfraStrategy was to provide a Cellwatch Battery Monitoring System (BMS) for their UPS and generator batteries.  Of the many benefits to a Cellwatch BMS, the new Thermal Runaway Controller (TRC) was a feature required for UPS rooms with over 100 gallons of battery electrolyte (per NFPA 1 Chapter 52 regulation).  In the event of thermal runaway, Cellwatch would first notify the client and if left unattended for the user defined of time, trip the breaker of the battery string that was experiencing the runaway.

The TRC was just one feature that was valued.  Constant monitoring of the batteries would notify the customer of their individual batteries’ statuses, alarm if a battery is beginning to fail, and help improve the life of the batteries by replacing the failing batteries with fresh batteries from the B.O.S.S cabinet immediately.

Result

If a problem were to occur regarding their batteries, they will be immediately notified via email.  These notifications are not after the battery fails, but when it passes over or under a user defined threshold.  Once notified, they will give Johnston Technologies a call and we will immediately replace the battery with an existing B.O.S.S. cabinet battery before an actual failure occurs.

Our InfraStrategy has put our customer back in the driver’s seat.  They now know the status of every individual battery constantly and are now able to fix most unit part failures and any battery failure immediately.  All of these changes are helping to prolong the life of their UPS and batteries.  They are also now able to make proactive changes and decisions rather than being reactive to the issues after the fact, dramatically increasing critical uptime.

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