Schneider Electric has launched rugged micro data centers designed for harsh indoor spaces such as factories.
The EcoStruxure R-Series is rated under the NEMA and IP schemes for protection against dust and moisture, and will be available in North America from December, followed by a European launch next year. Rugged versions were mentioned in 2019's launch of a wall-mounted micro data center.
As the infrastructure industry gears up to place resources at the Edge of the network, close to data sources, there is an increasing realization that micro data centers create a new problem, as they are less shielded from dust, water, and condensation from the environment.
The leading authority on air-conditioning and ventilation, ASHRAE, published a technical bulletin recently, about the protection of Edge facilities, and there are two existing protection rating schemes for environmental protection ratings: NEMA, from the US National Electrical Manufacturers Association, and the European ingress protection (IP) scheme.
The new Schneider Ecostruxure boxes are available in 16U, 24U, and 42U sizes. While Schneider promises they are NEMA and IP rated, the information available so far (PDF) does not specify to which level. For instance, NEMA level 1 and the roughly equivalent IP10, protect against pebbles (particles 50mm in size) and don't cover water, while NEMA4/IP66 protect against dust and jets of water.
“Advanced automation technologies come with significant cost-saving, safety, and productivity benefits, but to reap the benefits, IT must be located closer to the end point — in spaces that weren’t built with IT in mind,” said Jean-Baptiste Plagne, VP offer management, rack & edge systems, Schneider Electric. “To ensure reliability of IT networks on the factory floor, we are introducing the new IP and NEMA rated R-Series EcoStruxure Micro Data Center."
Like other EcoStruxure micro data centers, these are pre-packaged rack systems including power, cooling, security, and remote management. Standard builds can be deployed in unsecured buildings and controlled with limited engineer visits.
DCD has contacted Schneider for more detail on the NEMA and IP level ratings of the new products.