5 Applications that Require Uninterruptible Power Supplies
Just about every part of our daily lives relies on electrical energy, most of which comes from wall power, which taps into the power grid. The AC power from the grid can be accessed by most. While some make great use of the power, others might corrupt it; and many electronics depend on clean, steady, reliable AC power. When the wall power can't supply reliable current, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) can.
UPS systems can vary widely. Consumer-grade units get purchased mainly to provide clean power to home electronics, and medical-grade UPS is installed to provide backup power either when moving patients around or to power the surgical room when mains power goes down so that systems continue to run till the mains power system comes back. Somewhere in the middle sits commercial uninterruptible power supplies, which can protect electronics in an office or industrial unit designed for demanding machinery. In short, the use of UPS systems spans industries and businesses of all types. Learn about the many ways you can use a UPS.
There are also some very advanced UPS systems that are used in industrial processes to ensure continuity and no loss of production.
What Does an Uninterruptible Power Supply Do?
As the name implies, an uninterruptible power system provides steady power even when the usual power source, typically AC power from the grid, is interrupted. It can both stabilize power fluctuations and offer temporary power during complete outages. UPS systems do this by recreating the AC power from a battery bank and an electric converter called an inverter. When needed, the inverter converts the DC power from the battery into stable AC power to feed to the user's system.
AC power losses might occur for just a few seconds or for hours. A well-selected UPS system is designed according to local conditions to supply clean power until the battery bank drains. The battery life might range from a few minutes to half an hour. Depending on the application, this should be enough time to shut down equipment or provide power until emergency systems or generators come online or the power interruption is resolved.
Different types of UPS systems can address different power situations. Standby or offline UPS systems only come online when the incoming power spikes or sags below safe levels and can come with a small delay during switching. Line interactive UPS systems can correct small power fluctuations without using the battery and can help keep the power steady. Lastly, double conversion or online systems continuously deliver stable power without delays in transfer time. These are typically used for mission-critical equipment.
5 Uninterruptible Power Supply Applications
With such an important job, let's look at what a UPS is used for in different settings. Here are some applications of UPS systems.
1. Medical Equipment
Medical facilities are packed with critical equipment. Even small outages can have severe consequences for patient health and safety. Consider life support equipment or machinery used during surgery. Power blackouts pose clear risks, and unstable power can also cause dangerous performance interruptions or damage to the device.
The most common use for a UPS in a medical facility is to sustain diagnostic and life support systems when the patient is being moved from room to room. These smaller UPS systems are mounted at the base of a cart and are light enough to be moved around by a nurse. These carts get docked every night to recharge their batteries.
Medical-grade UPS systems always protect sensitive equipment. They're often necessary to meet industry regulations designed to keep patients safe. Some medical facilities opt for Astrodyne TDI’s UPS system because it can eliminate the need for an isolation transformer in medical systems. Isolation transformers separate the device from the current source, but a UPS function similarly and can help simplify the rest of the system.
2. Data Storage and Computers
IT systems also use a wide range of sensitive and expensive electronics. Blackouts or brownouts can put these complex systems at risk for data loss, security breaches, and equipment damage. Even brief power losses can make IT networks vulnerable, potentially exposing sensitive data. Data centers use UPS systems to protect their reputation and income, and many businesses use them to keep internal data secure and prevent the loss of protected information.
3. Emergency management and law enforcement
Emergency infrastructure must withstand power interruptions. In 911 call centers, police and fire departments, water control facilities and utility companies and so on, UPS systems often play a key role in keeping their communication infrastructure resources up and running during disasters or routine power outages. In short, UPS systems of different styles are everywhere around us.
4. Financial Institutions
Banks, financial tech companies, and other financial organizations use electronics to safeguard the vast majority of funds in circulation. Power outages can make them vulnerable to cybersecurity threats or prevent users from accessing their hard-earned money. UPS systems help financial institutions reliably control digital funds even during power interruptions.
5. Secure Communications Centers
Secure communications centers are often used for surveillance, military operations, and other security applications. These centers have to be up and running 24-7-365. In order to that, a sufficiently sized UPS is needed to ensure no power loss hampers their operations.
7 Reasons to Use a UPS System
The above list reflects many common places where UPS systems are used, but you'll find them in many businesses. Where wall power is choppy or the voltage sometimes dips or goes out entirely, a UPS system can combat associated problems and reduce risk.
Some UPS functions include:
Protecting your equipment: Power surges can destroy your electronics instantly, while voltage fluctuations can stress the system and lead to early repairs or replacements. By providing a steady power stream, you can maximize the value of your equipment and keep it running for as long as possible.
Ensuring optimal performance: Those fluctuations and outages can cause equipment to work unpredictably or cause large-scale downtime. A damaged server might leave systems vulnerable to security breaches or prevent all employees in a company from getting their work done. Critical equipment going down on an assembly line can bring operations to an expensive standstill. UPS systems can protect devices to ensure equipment works as intended and are available for use.
Protecting data: A UPS can also help prevent your data from disappearing or being leaked during a power outage. It can give employees time to save their work and shut down systems securely or stay online until emergency power appears. A few extra minutes of power can make a huge difference for businesses with large amounts of data.
Keeping your reputation intact: Many businesses depend on having a trustworthy image. Power outages and performance issues could hurt your reputation and lead customers to do business elsewhere.
Staying compliant: For some, a UPS is a necessary part of meeting industry or government regulations and avoiding harsh penalties.
Life Support: Emergency room and some medical procedures should be carried out without any interruption however brief. A UPS is a key element of such high-availability systems.
Continuity of service: Banks, airlines, hotels and transportation companies operate 24-7 and need logistics support from their back-end offices. A UPS ensures that their computers and communication systems are up and running without a hitch.
Find the Right UPS for Your Application with Astrodyne TDI
UPS systems protect countless businesses from the adverse effects of power surges and fluctuations. A UPS is an excellent way to safeguard your equipment from mission-critical equipment to straightforward office buildings. Still, every application is different. The quality of your incoming power, the characteristics of your electronics, and the nature of your systems affect whether you need a UPS and which one is right for you.
Astrodyne TDI has decades of experience as an industry leader in power supplies. We carry a wide range of UPS systems, and our experienced team is happy to help assess your needs or even build a custom power supply. Reach out to us today to learn more about UPS systems for your application!