Applications of UPS- Uninterruptible Power Supply in Control Systems

A UPS uninterruptible power supply is a device with two main functions-

It is an emergency power system that provides a backup energy source during utility power failures. Depending on the outage span, a UPS can keep a system running long enough till utilities or generators come online, or it can give sufficient time to shut down the system properly and avoid data loss.

It protects against power surges and falls that could damage sensitive electronic hardware.

Nowadays, most computers are equipped with solid-state drives (SSDs), which are virtually free of any moving parts and can better resist power failures. Other devices and IT infrastructure have become more robust, and boot times have been considerably reduced. However, even with these progressions, UPSs remain an essential solution that offers reliability and further improves a business’s continuity. 

UPS- uninterruptible power supplies are far more present in industrial automation systems than many realize. Any control panel with a well-designed power protection structure will include an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) as its key component. Server rooms, industrial PCs, mobile applications, and others may further include a UPS. Features such as overall dimensions, power capacity, and switching time vary depending on the application. 

UPS- uninterruptible power supply in control systems

Uninterruptible power supplies in control systems can take on various dimensions depending on the type of subsystem. 

Data centers and server rooms

Data centers and server rooms, which play an important role within many advanced automated system infrastructures, are where integrating UPS units is most common and well-studied. These areas use either multi-mode or double conversion, the goal is to keep critical servers operating throughout a power outage. Depending on the power failure duration and UPS size, the backup power might not be sufficient to keep the system active. In this case, the UPS provides at least enough time for a soft system shutdown, which helps avoid data loss and prepares for a smooth restart. One key component of UPSs in these applications is switching time. Due to some data transactions happening within milliseconds, switching time requires to be smaller or imperceptible to avoid interrupting the process. This is a feature that many UPS manufacturers are focusing on developing. 

UPS in control panels 

A control panel contains particular control devices in an automated system such as PLCs, HMI’s, motion drives, safety sensors, network switches, among many others. Even with decentralized systems, the power source for the embedded control hardware comes from the main panel. These control devices require a 24 Volt DC power input and, typically, they additionally consist of sensitive components and microprocessors. Due to this, good power supply quality is essential to avoid downtime caused by interruptions or hardware damage. A 24V DC UPS can manage voltage fluctuations, frequency distortions. These short outages and provide a clean and secure supply to the control system. With its backup battery pack, a DC UPS designed for an industrial environment will be more resistant to harsh external circumstances. 

PLCs and physical servers

On the other hand, for PLC-controlled systems and any physical servers, integrating a UPS could be more complicated, and the benefits are not well understood. The difficulty is when movements and processes involving high energy consumption. In this case, designing a UPS with backup power that can last the entire duration of a power outage might not be reasonable or cost-effective. There is still the advantage of using the backup power to prevent and shut down systems less abruptly. Using conveyance systems as an example, a UPS can detect a loss of input power and prepare the control system to stop following a smooth ramp-down transition. This can help avoid breakdowns and collisions and thus has safety repercussions. 

From the more simple embedded control systems to the server racks in a server room, all parts of the system should be equipped with UPS infrastructure to achieve higher system reliability. Right Power Technology, founded in 2000, as a pioneer in developing and manufacturing advanced UPS uninterrupted power supply in Malaysia, Right Power Technology now has the enviable distinction of being a significant player in the industry, education, and commercial fields. Visit our official website to see the best UPS suited to your requirements.