Within the last few years, the data center market has shifted, driving the demand for fewer but larger UPS modules and optimized switchboards/switchgear.
“Years ago, a customer would have to deploy two 800kW UPS in parallel to achieve 1,600kW,” John Goosseff, MegaFlex UL global product manager says. “This required additional parallel switchboards, more valuable space in electrical rooms, additional cost of external conduit, and wiring of multiple electrical components.”
ABB’s customers were looking to deploy fewer UPS modules in their electrical one-line diagrams to achieve power ratings of 1,200kW or 1,600kW in small footprints. To meet this need, the company launched the MegaFlex UL, EC&M’s Platinum-award-winning product in the 2023 Product of the Year competition.
The 3-phase, 480V double conversion UPS is flexible system architecture ready and features a monolithic-based topology. It uses 400kW power modules with power availability from 1,200 to 1,600 in one UPS cabinet configuration — offering up to 40% footprint savings, 25% reduced energy consumption kWh over the product lifespan, and a design life of 15 years, according to the company. It also provides easy front and top access, modular sub-assemblies, fast replacement of consumable components, and remote monitoring.
Before ABB launched MegaFlex UL, the company’s largest UPS was rated at 1MW with a footprint of 144 in. wide, using 250kW internal power blocks. ABB’s product management worked with the global R&D engineering teams to develop an even higher-power UPS system in a smaller footprint.
Through an accelerated development cycle, the company introduced the new MegaFlex UL at 1,200kW and 1,600kW ratings in a smaller 130-in.-wide footprint using 400kW internal power blocks. The UPS is designed for critical high-density computing environments.
“The target segment is data center customers including cloud and co-location end-users and system integrators especially critical power container applications where footprint and high-power density is highly valued,” Goosseff says.
Testing and designing
ABB began commissioning MegaFlex UL units to the U.S. market in early 2022 after conducting extensive testing in its UPS Customer Test Center in Richmond, Va.
ABB Swiss and the United States R&D engineering teams collaborated on the design of the product with input from key data center end-users, consultants, and integrators.
“The ultimate goal was to have more power in a smaller enclosure,” Goosseff says. “There is a delicate balance between simplification and still meeting the demands for higher power mission-critical systems with various N+1 redundant system architectures.”
Beyond the optimized footprint and high-power density, the MegaFlex UL has been designed with consumable parts with longer life expectancy and maintenance access to be easily serviced. This design for serviceability extends the consumable parts replacement intervals and reduces time during scheduled maintenance intervals.
“All internal 400kW power blocks have been designed to be fully front-accessible with sliding/removable drawers – reducing mean time to repair,” Goosseff says. “In addition, all consumable life components have been placed at the front section of the UPS with no special tooling to remove or replace.”
Reducing installation time
ABB offers integrated parallel inductors as a standard to help balance bypass currents when paralleling UPS modules for redundancy. These inductors allow design consultants and contractors the flexibility to have cable length variances of up to 25% compared to 10% cable length variances for UPS without the inductors.
The single split shipping cabinet reduces installation time compared to other UPS in this product category. MegaFlex UL yields lower installed costs, faster startups, and commissioning schedules. The MegaFlex design also allows for better heat rejection and simpler cooling, especially when deployed inside critical power containers.
“We have received incredibly positive feedback on the small footprint and high-power density with ease of installation of the MegaFlex UL,” Goosseff says.
For more information, visit electrification.us.abb.com.
DIGITAL TOOLS & SOFTWARE
The EC&M Tradition Endures
Established in 2000, the EC&M Product of the Year competition recognizes excellence in new product development for the electrical industry. Honoring inventiveness in product design, as well as improvements in safety and efficiency, the competition’s two-fold judging and voting process determines the most ground-breaking products of the past year that allow electrical design professionals, installers, and maintenance personnel to perform their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
Products eligible for this year’s competition were those introduced to the market between Jan. 1, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2022. A hand-picked panel of judges ranked the 110 products entered into this year’s contest based on a uniform list of scoring criteria, ultimately selecting 34 category winners for the first phase of the competition. These category winners were then narrowed down to just three finalists through an online poll available to our readers on the EC&M website. EC&M subscribers determined the platinum, gold, and silver award-winning products of the year by casting their votes.
Amy Fischbach is a freelance writer and editor based in Overland Park, Kan. She can be reached at [email protected].