As the world becomes more electric, data centers need to scale up their operations to support the demand for reliable internet and cloud services. When people want to use the internet to catch up on news, browse social media or shop for goods and services, they expect the sites they visit and apps they use to be functional. Data centers provide that functionality, so they must keep running at all times.
Like other businesses, data centers rely on energy from local electricity grids to power their operations, but they must have a backup plan if grid energy is disrupted. Furthermore, this backup plan needs to be able to activate at the instant there is a disruption to ensure uninterrupted service. Battery power can serve as important fortification for data centers’ constant performance.
A Critical Backup
Hanley Energy was contracted to deliver 12 large skids for a data center customer, in collaboration with Logstrup Ireland and DAVENHAM switchgear. Skids are large metal frames that, in this case, hold the Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) and switchboards for the facility. The skids are about eight meters long and two meters wide and can store two megawatts of power.
In addition to holding the UPS and switchboard in place, Hanley Energy’s skids needed to connect the installed components to one another so they could operate as a single system. Once the skid is connected to the electrical network, it charges the UPS on the skids and powers the facility. If grid energy is disrupted, the skid’s switchboards automatically draw power from the UPS so the data center can continue to operate uninterrupted.
Hanley Energy prefabricated the skids, meaning they built each structure in its entirety at their facility before delivering it to the customer. The custom-built skids for Hanley Energy’s customer sat unusually low to the ground. Because of this, Hanley Energy quickly realized that the cables they usually used to create the connections between components would not fit under the skids. For this design, Hanley needed 56 different connections all specifically calibrated to ensure uninterrupted power service.
Hanley Energy needed a solution that offered flexible design options without decreasing the current carrying capacity provided by cables. Logstrup Ireland advised Hanley Energy to try nVent ERIFLEX products. Hanley Energy realized that nVent ERIFLEX Flexibar Advanced was the perfect fit to solve their space issue.
The Right Fit
Flexibar Advanced is made of multiple layers of thin copper, so it can fit in small spaces and be bent into tight corners without sacrificing current capacity. The insulation in Flexibar Advanced is made of the high-temperature, low-smoke, halogen-free and flame-retardant materials required by Hanley Energy’s customer for the safety of employees and protection of the datacenter. Additionally, the customizability of Flexibar Advanced reduced the number of hotspots in the skid’s power distribution system, making the entire system safer, and improving the aesthetic of the skid since the connections are tidy and hidden.
nVent engineers worked with Hanley Energy on the skid layout and designed all the Flexibar connections. nVent provided customized lengths, up to 10 meters long, of Flexibar Advanced based on the design connections. nVent also provided training and tools to Hanley Energy engineers so that they would be able to connect everything on site.
Flexibar Advanced offered the design flexibility Hanley Energy needed, and the final result was balanced better than the original cable solution. In addition, nVent was able to help this project come together quickly. From start to finish—including designing a solution, manufacturing custom-cut product and delivering the product for install at Hanley Energy’s facility—the project took just eight weeks. Between all the skids, nVent manufactured 360 pieces of custom Flexibar lengths for Hanley Energy.
“With the nVent ERIFLEX Flexibar Advanced solution in place, our skids are able to fulfill their main function—ensuring ongoing connectivity for important data centers,” said M. Aidan Fee, Hanley Energy project manager.
With data centers fully operational, Hanley Energy’s customer can rest assured their business can continue uninterrupted, and everyday people can rely on access to the websites and apps powered by the data center.