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Understanding UPS system failure and how to mitigate the risks associated with this crucial equipment

30th April 2024


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By Sarika Andee, Marketing Leader: Field Service at Schneider Electric

Research shows that 64% of costly breakdowns on manufacturing s­ites are caused by f­ires, w­ith 24% of those f­ires bei­ng attr­ibuted to electr­ical product and component fa­ilures. It all begins with understanding the potential risks present on-site and establishing an operational strategy to effectively manage installed assets.

UPS’s form an integral part of one’s operations, with the expectation of achieving maximum uptime and efficiency. It is essential to perform regular maintenance on this critical equipment to identify potential risks and develop an operational strategy to manage assets. 

Common causes of UPS failure

There are several common causes of UPS failure that operators should be aware of and protect against before they result in costly downtime:

Battery failure: The lifespan and overall health of battery systems depend on the chemicals they contain, manufacturing conditions and material quality. Additionally, environmental conditions including temperature, dust, humidity and other factors can impact the performance of batteries. Batteries are designed to last if only operated within the designed electrical parameters of charging voltage and current.

Monitoring installed batteries is key due to the risk factors and the lifespan of the materials used in them. Environmental conditions such as room temperature, dust, or poor quality of utility power can have a significant impact on battery lifespan. Neglecting these factors can potentially lead to serious operational breakdowns.

Ageing components: UPS systems comprise a range of parts that require periodic replacement. These parts include AC capacitors, DC capacitors, fans, and power supply boards. Proper management of spare parts is crucial for the reliable operation of UPS systems.

Failing to identify aged spare parts, neglecting timely replacements, using non-original components, or seeking unauthorised support during replacements can have severe consequences.

Improper maintenance: UPS systems necessitate a robust maintenance plan to ensure operational safety and business continuity. Neglecting proper and comprehensive maintenance exposes UPSs to risks and accelerates the ageing process of their components.

UPS maintenance plans thus play a vital role in not just ensuring operational efficiency, but also in supporting cost savings and mitigating financial risks of operational facilities. By carefully analysing maintenance reports and gaining a clear understanding of operational needs, organisations can proactively take predictive actions.

Environmental Factors: UPS systems are designed to operate within certain environmental conditions. Any significant and prolonged alteration in these conditions can accelerate the ageing process of UPS units and give rise to unexpected failures.

It is important to have the UPS maintained periodically by qualified and trained field experts who know which major parts and components need to be proactively checked inside the product.

UPS maintenance plans

Schneider Electric’s Advantage Services Plans and are designed and developed to address the risks of UPS failure and support business continuity.

These plans are comprehensive service offers that provide end-users with best-in-class service at cost-effective prices. End-users can choose between various plan options, according to the degree of site criticality, needs, physical infrastructure architecture and budgetary constraints.

All Advantage Services Plans include proactive maintenance services designed to increase uptime by preventing problems before they occur. Any plan can be customised by adding options or upgrades.

By understanding the risks associated with each risk factor, facility operators can proactively implement measures to safeguard the reliability and lifespan of their UPS systems. By doing so, they can ensure operational efficiency and continuity, while achieving cost savings and mitigating potential financial risks.


Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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