Some failures are more significant than others. Forgetting to take out the trash has fewer negative consequences than failing to remember to pick up your child after soccer practice.

In the world of mission critical facilities, failures due to a power disturbance can be very costly and often result in the loss of data, immediate and future revenue, and/or customer satisfaction.

No one can predict when power outages are going to occur, but when they do happen, UPS systems are expected to keep everything up and running until a longer term energy source can support the mission critical load.

The very purpose of these products is to not malfunction when the input power source has failed, so reliability is key. 

The fear of failure is the reason that some facility designers and operators are apprehensive to adopt new designs and technologies. What these individuals fail to realize is that the most common UPS technology used — batteries that provide energy storage — is the leading culprit in data center outages. According to a 2013 survey of data center operators, UPS battery failure was the root cause in 55% of data center outages.

Similarly, a recent independent study from risk assessment firm MTechnology, Inc., comparing flywheel UPS systems with their conventional battery counterparts found that flywheel UPS have greater reliability, reducing the risk of failure by 80% during short outages and 21% in outages lasting longer than 10 seconds.

Simple physics will tell you that once an object is in motion, it will remain so until disrupted, and modern advancements make it easier to detect and repair potential disruptions before they occur. Conversely, conventional UPS products using batteries for energy storage are a higher risk as battery failures are inherently challenging to detect and predict even with routine maintenance and repair.

Put another way, don’t be so quick to dismiss something new or different. You might just find that a fresh, forward thinking approach to electrical design will improve your infrastructure reliability.