emergency power

Protecting emergency power supply system docs

Intellectual property susceptible to human error, server failure and viruses
Thursday, November 24, 2016
By Bhavesh Patel

The new emergency power supply system (EPSS) has been commissioned. The design, factory witness testing, installation and site benchmarking are complete. This state-of-the-art power plant is ready to protect the facility in a power outage.

The intellectual property is also new, complete and correct. The facilities team may still have hard copy O&M manuals, program disks and manufacturer’s cut sheets but it probably also has duplicate soft versions of this material stored on a network hard drive.

Just as paper is subject to loss, aging or damage, intellectual property is susceptible to server failure, viruses and human error. Here are some suggestions for leveraging the power of technology while mastering best practices to protect, preserve and control these vital records:

1. Create revision control program

Changes will occur throughout the system’s lifetime. Programs will be modified, capacity may be increased, control set points may need adjustment and features may be added.

A strict revision control policy is essential; all changes must be documented and all media updated accordingly. Establish a staff position responsible for this process.

2. Retain redundant architecture

Data centre operators maintain mirrored operating systems, data files and facilities. Treat intellectual property related to the EPSS no differently. Establish redundant architecture in house or off site.

For example, web-based services allow facilities staff to see virtual representations of equipment physical location, nameplate and specification data, as well as emergency call lists, drawings, service reports and more. These systems also allow staff members to collaborate online regardless of time or location.

3. Have staff run simulations

As the need for data continues to grow, data centres and their EPSSs are becoming large and complex. Many mission critical operations include simulators as part essential systems. This tool is invaluable for training and allows personnel to simulate scenarios before taking actions that may affect the facility.

Given the enhanced importance of data and the increased complexity of systems, a simulator is becoming a necessity rather than a convenience. Fire departments pre-plan their response to major properties to enhance efficiency and response; data centre staff should run simulations of maintenance and emergency scenarios for the same reason.

4. Stay in touch with system team

Maintain contact with the vendor, contractor and consulting team. The team that designed, engineered, manufactured and commissioned the EPSS remains an important resource for system reliability.

When the maintenance vendor services or repairs the EPSS, have the technical information of record. Don’t relegate this responsibility to an outside entity. It’s the organization’s facility, its system, and the life blood of the company.

5. Keep spare parts inventory

The maintenance vendor may be responsible for supplying these parts but maintaining and auditing a spare parts inventory on site assures control and availability when needed. Restock the spare inventory as parts are used and to maintain fresh inventory.

As systems age, components may become obsolete or scarce. Understand the availability of critical spares and the options available. A spare parts inventory list containing the part description, application, manufacturer, manufacturer’s part number and sources is an important part of documentation.

6. Post system diagram

Post a graphic, one-line diagram of the entire emergency power supply system at the system controls or building operations office and keep it up to date. Use this to get a quick overview of the entire system for routine operations and in case of emergency.

Follow these tips to help preserve all the intellectual property that documents the design, factory-witnessed testing, installation, and site-benchmarking associated with the commissioning of a facility’s EPSS. Maintain up-to-date records for ready access to protect the facility and maximize the efficiency of its operations whenever emergency power comes into play.

The preceding article is reprinted with permission from the ASCO white paper “Commissioning the Emergency Power Supply System.” Bhavesh Patel is vice president, global marketing, ASCO Power Technologies. He can be reached at 800-800-ASCO.

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