Load Banks In The Data Centre Sector
Data never sleeps
In today’s fast-moving world, we have all become accustomed to instant online access. We do our banking, renew our home insurance and book hospital appointments online. We don’t even print photos anymore, we store them online and think nothing of it.
All around the world, power failure, even for a few minutes, can lead to the loss of highly valuable or even irreplaceable data. Healthcare, banking, insurance and e-commerce are industries which rely heavily on reliable global data storage.
Data Centre outages can lead to decreases in productivity, increases in production time, and an increase in costs – the consequential losses can be immense from both a personal and a financial point of view. For this reason, Data Centres have layers of emergency back-up power.
But what if the back-up systems fail?
Data Centre Commissioning & Heat Load Testing
Load banks can be used for commissioning back-up power systems. All back-up generators and UPS systems are tested by the manufacturer in the factory, however it is critical that they are commissioned accurately and tested in-situ at actual site conditions. The sets will have been transported, they may need to be synchronised on to a common busbar, and it is likely that the cooling fuel and exhaust systems are unique to the Data Centre site, and very different to the factory.
Data Centre servers exude enormous amounts of heat; therefore, the air conditioning system needs to be second to none. Load banks can be used to heat load test the air conditioning systems to ensure they can cope with the heat output of the servers. Rather than use an electric heater a load bank is a better choice for the following reasons.
- Load banks are more compact and can produce more heat using a smaller footprint
- Load banks are highly controllable and can be programmed more accurately than electric heaters
- Multiple load banks can operate in parallel and be controlled using a single remote terminal
Back-up power systems should be tested on a regular basis to ensure that they are primed to do what you need them to do, when you need them to do it. That’s what it’s there for after all.
Using a load bank to simulate power failure under full demand will ensure that the controls and switch panels work as expected in real conditions, and that the automatic transfer switch that regulates the main loads continues to operate in sequence. In addition to this, testing the generator on full load at optimum operating temperature to reduce the chances of “wet stacking” which can cause engine failure.
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WHY USE A LOAD BANK?
Load banks are primarily used for testing electrical power output on diesel generators, gas turbines and UPS systems whilst carrying out commissioning and maintenance work.
The load banks are used for simulating real electrical loads enabling essential setup and commissioning which ensures that all electrical and control parameters are met prior to power generation/back up equipment being energized on line.