Energy Efficiency

Data Center Busbar Systems integrate Smart Metering

The Minkels B.V. subsidiary of Legrand Group, has launched a new solution within its VariconPower® power distribution product range. The modular Busbar Systems with Smart Tap-Off Boxes offer seamless integration with Cold Corridors®, providing flexible configuration options for customer-specific Cold Corridor layouts in data centers. The integrated Busbar System covers data center power distribution options varying from 160A to 1000A. The system is suitable for both large and medium sized data center environments. The solution, originally developed by Minkels’ parent organization Legrand.

The accompanying Smart Tap-Off Boxes offer users the option of flexibly laying out a power grid in the data center. "Unlike many other systems on the market, this Busbar System is entirely modular and specifically designed for data centers," said Jules Sommers, Product Manager at Minkels. "That's not only at the rack level, but also at the Cold Corridor level. Integrated with Cold Corridor systems, this gives users the option of connecting up a server rack or expanding rack clusters with a busbar at any desired position, at the time the real requirement is known and specified to the specific needs at that time. That flexibility plus the compatibility with Cold Corridors is important if they want to be able to respond to dynamic and evolving power requirements in the data center."

Minkels has developed an innovative Smart Meter for the Busbar System for accurate monitoring of the energy consumption. The Smart Meter is compatible with VariconPower rack PDUs, Varicontrol-C cable distribution panel measurement and supported by the Energy Monitoring software appliance. The intelligent measurement system can be extended by users with additional functionality such as temperature readout and circuit breaker status readout, including alerts. The Smart Meter can be integrated into a Tap-Off Box, or placed externally.

"The advantage of this Smart Meter is that the electronics and the power distribution can be kept entirely separate," said Sommers. "That not only makes the Tap-Off Box more compact, it also has benefits for maintenance and replacement. When a Smart Meter is placed outside the Tap-Off Box, it results in more compact Tap-off Boxes and allows for maintenance and replacement without disconnecting the power so the continuity of the data center remains assured."

Minkels will be demonstrating its integrated Busbar System with the Smart Tap-Off Boxes for the first time at the Data Centre World Conference and Expo in London, which is being held on 26 and 27 February 2014. The new Busbar System plus Smart Tap-Off Boxes is being offered by the data center manufacturer as a new modular layer on top of the Next Generation Cold Corridor® that was launched last year. Key features of this Cold Corridor solution are not only that it is energy-efficient, but also that it is modular.

"Many of the busbar systems on the market are pre-installed," said Sommers. "They are general solutions that are extremely difficult to change once they're in place. Minkels wanted above all to launch a flexible system that takes account of dynamic datacenter requirements, in line with the existing product range and the Next Generation Cold Corridor that was introduced last year."

In order to obtain a clear picture of data center power distribution needs in practice, Minkels organized a 'busbar forum discussion' in which data center managers and designers discussed the market's current wish lists and requirements. Minkels' product designers used this information when coming up with the final design.

"Our initial idea that busbar and tap-off box configurations should preferably be entirely flexible and scalable was confirmed in the forum discussion with experts from the field," said Sommers. "Modularity therefore became a key feature of the newly launched busbars and smart tap-off boxes. It offers users the flexibility to arrange their power distribution infrastructure as they go, changing it in the meantime, expanding it or making adjustments later."

Minkels Busbar Systems with Smart Tap-Off Boxes can be delivered worldwide immediately, as standalone solutions or as optional modules with the Minkels Next Generation Cold Corridor. The Smart Meters are expected to be brought to the market in Q2 2014.

Minkels B.V. , Legrand Group
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