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When planning maintenance budgets, many companies focus solely on what it will take to recover from emergency situations: response time, parts availability and technician coverage. However, with proper predictive UPS maintenance, trending and analysis, an emergency situation would be avoided all together.
Planning for worst-case scenarios and scheduling preventive maintenance to avoid them allows you to keep your Uninterruptible Power Supplies running smoothly over time. More focus applied to predict points of UPS component failure and preventing downtime could be a crucial difference between loss of power to your critical load and a scheduled downtime at your convenience. Ideally, this scheduled downtime should occur under controlled circumstances to maintain guaranteed uptimes. Predictive and preventive maintenance structures have different schedules and benefits:
The use of maintenance data collection and analysis to track and trend performance, predicting end of life of the critical components
The use of the manufacturer's recommended replacements plan to change critical components at the predetermined end of life
(or time and material maintenance)
The reactive or inconvenient response to failures or occasional maintenance at undetermined intervals
Careful consideration should be used when deciding which strategy to prioritize in your maintenance budget and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Often, a combination of preventive and predictive UPS maintenance, with an emphasis on the latter, is recommended.
You may say to yourself, “We already get battery maintenance, what more do we need?"
But, what do you do with the battery data that is collected? Do you look at the report that is provided? Does the service provider offer an end-of-life expectancy with its report? Does it tell you that after four years you need to budget for batteries, and at five years you need to replace them? What extraordinary benefit does your company receive from this service?
While a manufacturer may recommend a 15-year change-out, or at the end of the cycle of its UPS, using predictive maintenance, and relying on your actual usage data, you know if the capacitors can make it to the end of the UPS’ life. This can help you maximize uptime, while delivering a predictable return on your company’s investment.
By extending the cycle between change-outs and trending the performance throughout the life of capacitors and other core UPS components, you gain the advantages of a planned, proactive, cost-saving approach to maintenance.
Careful consideration of the preventive maintenance cycle is important. It can provide guidelines for expected UPS component failure and keeps your system functioning smoothly. Still, if your company is not trending and collecting data in a visible location and analyzing the data along the way, the risk of an emergency maintenance visit is quite possible.
While most service providers support and even promote this level of service, this response is very costly. This cost occurs not only with the unplanned downtime you are experiencing, but also the cost premiums to get a qualified technician to your site as fast as possible, at generally non-contract rates.
In addition, if the service provider is not the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), the availability of OEM-specified new parts also becomes a challenge. Many third-party providers supply after-market or salvaged parts with none or a very limited warranty, which puts your company at risk of another outage. On top of being very costly, this type of failure is also impossible to predict.
Can your organization survive multiple unplanned outages? What can be done to prevent them?
While emergency coverage needs to be a focal point during negotiations of your service contract, the greater emphasis should be on how the service company will reduce the need for emergency response.
Not only following the preventive maintenance cycle, but also monitoring the data points along the way will help you adapt to a customized predictive maintenance schedule that will bring your UPS to its full end of life with less expenses and unplanned outages.
Learn more about Mitsubishi Electric's customizable maintenance programs.