As part of the fourth industrial revolution, manufacturers are transforming their traditional manufacturing environments into versatile, highly automated smart factories that can churn out products quicker and with higher efficiency than before.
Unsurprisingly, this typically entails the installation of new digital systems, often backed by a plethora of Internet of Things (IoT) devices to monitor and track various metrics in real-time. Whether filling soft drink cans or packaging expensive pharmaceuticals, an avalanche of data pertaining to raw materials inventory, machinery status or production status is captured at every moment.
The role of an industrial UPS
Unsurprisingly, losing power can be disastrous in a smart manufacturing environment. For instance, a high-speed machine might risk damage from an abrupt stop, while products that are midway through the production cycle might have to be irrecoverable and must be discarded.
Yet the partial or complete loss of data might be worse – as device calibration and digital counters are set awry. Moreover, some industries such as the pharmaceutical and food industry impose strict requirements for the tracing of production flow from start to finish – and which will obviously be jeopardised in a power outage.
To protect both machinery and their precious load of data, smart factories of the future need protection against outages and power fluctuations. This is where industrial UPS protection that can keep heavy machinery running comes into the picture.
And because the power grid is not immune to disturbances that culminate in power spikes and jitters that can damage the sensitive electronics of these industrial machines, the presence of an industrial UPS can also pre-empt such problems by channelling only “clean” power to them.
Single-phase or 3-phase
An industry UPS can help keep business-critical equipment and applications up and running in a harsh operating environment such as a factory. But what are some categories of industrial UPS systems to consider?
For a start, a smaller, single-phase UPS is good for lighter loads, such as PLC (programmable logic controller) or IoT component to protect valuable data. It might also offer some minutes of runtime to smaller machinery for them to shut down gracefully rather than jerking to a halt.
Larger devices will require 3-phase industrial UPSs, however, which provide consistently “clean” power to protect heavy-duty hardware such as high-speed machines. These higher-end UPS systems are powerful enough and designed to keep these machines functional should the power go out.
Finally, UPS devices are also increasingly fitted with built-in network communication or cloud-control capabilities for remote management. They can hence sound an alert in the event of a critical situation or when maintenance is required. The latter is more important than it sounds – organisations don’t want to be blindsided when a UPS system fails to perform due to a problematic device or battery that has reached its end-of-life.
Of course, the specific needs will vary depending on the exact mix of machinery and the amount of power they consume. To learn more, you can check out some of the EcoStruxure Plant & Machine solutions from Schneider Electric here.