When the largest pan-African network of interconnected data center faclities, Africa Data Centres, grew its business to include data storage solutions, it required significant upgrades and improvements to expand the capacity of its legacy building in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The enhanced facilities had to meet data center site requirements with supporting power solutions – all of which had to be configured to fit into a very limited space and accommodate a restricted on-site installation time.

Despite time and space constraints, and difficult operating conditions, Eaton delivered a bespoke configurable xModular power system that extended the electrical infrastructure of the facility without interfering with day-to-day operations, providing an innovative ‘plug and play’ solution that is scalable for easy upgrade in the future.

According to Tesh Durvasula, CEO of Africa Data Centres, “Due to the nature of our business, on-site installation time had to be restricted and limited to final assembly and cable connections only.”

To address these prerequisites, Eaton built the modular units off-site with xModular partner, Hitech Gregfor. Then managed the complex logistical project of delivering and rigging the weighty units by road, using specialized trucks and air-suspension loading trailers, and lifting them into place using specially hired 700 T cranes.

“Apart from physical requirements, we expected the solution to offer stability and reliability under all environmental and power supply conditions, in a robust prefabricated structure. Adequate load handling capabilities were essential, as well as ease of operation and maintenance,” Durvasula adds.

The solution was expected to offer a total integration of Eaton products into one system with an approach intended to protect the data center from the repercussions of inconsistent power supply and the ongoing ‘load shedding’, or power blackouts, that South Africa has become accustomed to.

Eaton’s fully integrated turnkey solution included the Power Xpert UX IEC withdrawable medium voltage switchgear, the Eaton Power Xpert 9395P UPS, and Eaton’s Lithium-ion battery combinations.

“As part of the design we installed Eaton’s modular UPS as it is a self-contained system with a patented design, which allows for different types of scalability and better redundancy that may not be provided by a more conventional UPS,” says Armand van Niekerk, data centers segment lead for Africa at Eaton. “It is easy to install, upgrade and reconfigure, saving considerable time and costs for businesses.”

“The air-insulated Power Xpert UX IEC withdrawable medium voltage switchgear offers world-leading vacuum technology in a compact footprint and arc flash classification, making it a safe, reliable, efficient choice as part of this solution.

“Additionally, the Eaton Power Xpert 9395P UPS offers complete isolation of output power from all input power anomalies to deliver 100 percent conditioned, perfect sine-wave output, even during severe power disturbances,” says van Niekerk.

He adds that the Energy Saver System built into the installation improves efficiency levels by 99 percent by placing power modules on standby when double conversion is not required. The system can however switch to double conversion mode in a matter of milliseconds if required.

Other benefits of the tailored modular system include that the Energy Saver System can function continuously at ambient temperatures of up to 40°C without de-rating.

In addition, the UPS is easily scalable, the number of power modules can be specified, and the layout can be chosen to suit the installation. More than 90 percent of the materials used in its manufacture can be recycled, so will significantly reduce their lifetime carbon impact.

“This is an easily adaptable design that can be duplicated and rolled out as a turnkey solution for other partners in the future,” concludes van Niekerk.