Get ready for Industry 4.0 with the all-rounder DC UPS systems

The growth in use of automated and intelligent production processes with 12 V, 24 V and 48 V applications constantly requires new options to protect against unwanted fluctuations or drops in voltage. The DC UPS systems on the market are subject to changing requirements.

Industry 4.0 is increasingly finding its way into companies' production processes. Connectivity and automation begin in small plants, extending all the way to whole production lines. It's not uncommon for plants of this kind to be in continuous operation so that companies can get maximum benefit out of them. In this case, it is particularly essential to have a guaranteed operational system since unforeseen fluctuations or drops in voltage in the control voltage range could compromise the operation.

This often neglected area is largely responsible for the functionality of the overall plant. This voltage level contains the entire monitoring and control system which impacts the availability of the whole system in the case of a voltage drop. A short voltage drop can lead to anything from a fault in the production process to the shutdown of the entire plant. If no protective measures are put in place, this can lead not only to a shutdown but also to the loss of sensitive data. For any company, this scenario would mean far more than just financial losses.

DC UPS systems – the all-rounders

When starting out with designing the right UPS system to protect your plant, the first point to address is the large energy stores supplying the AC voltage. But the protection of the DC voltage must also be sufficiently safeguarded. A range of demands are already placed on today's DC UPS systems such that an innovative DC UPS system must have a whole selection of monitoring, charging and detection systems to optimally react to each situation. 

Everything at a glance

Equipped with a communication interface, potential-free signal contacts and signal LEDs, UPS systems are best prepared for incorporating into today's Industry 4.0. Condition monitoring can be obtained by connecting it to a control unit or IPC (Industry PC), with the right software and the accompanying visualization,  which allows all voltages and currents to be monitored in real time. With its decoupled USB interface for visualization and parameterization, as well as up to three freely configurable signal contacts, the BLOCK DC UPS module offers an all-round package. The accompanying control software provides an overview of all currents and voltages which are connected to the UPS. This information allows the available signal contacts to be freely configured in line with the plant's requirements.

In order to ensure the proper supply of an industry PC, controlled shutdown must be possible as well as a reliable restart. For this purpose, it is necessary to interrupt the output voltage of the UPS module in a targeted manner in order to provide the IPC with the necessary restart impulse after the shutdown, even if the mains voltage is available again. All BLOCK UPS modules support this function.
The software USV-Control visualizes the operating status of the devices and enables the easy connection to an industry PC.

Choosing the right energy store

In addition to the technical requirements of the charging and control units, there are a few things that should be noted when choosing the right energy store to complete the UPS system. When looking around, it quickly becomes apparent that the most common energy stores such as lithium-ion (conventional lithium-ion cells or lithium iron phosphate), lead batteries (standard lead gel batteries or pure lead batteries) and supercaps (ultracapacitors) are available. The application is crucial in the choice of energy store. Choosing a basic UPS with the right store is easily put together with lead gel batteries or lithium-ion cells. This kind of energy store is available with large capacities and therefore ideal for long buffer times. In combination with integrated intelligence, the lead gel batteries of the PVAF and PVA series by BLOCK of 0.8 Ah to 12 Ah offer a wide range of capacities which allow power outages of between minutes and hours to be bridged depending on load. Depending on technology, at higher temperatures, batteries are subject to limitations with regard to their lifespan, requiring alternative approaches. For example, if the area of application features high temperatures of >40°C or hard-to-access locations, it is worth using supercaps. With a very high lifespan of more than 15 years even at temperatures of >40°C, the capacitive UPS by BLOCK (PC-0424-017-0) offers a resistant and durable UPS system. This eliminates or at least minimizes high maintenance costs.

Maximum lifespan using intelligent battery/charging systems

To get the best out of a UPS system, it should be ensured that the UPS unit and the energy store are able to communicate with one another. Choosing an intelligent charging and control unit such as PC-0524-400-0 in combination with the battery modules of the PVAF or PBAT series makes maximum use of the UPS system. The intelligent system ensures that all information is transferred from the battery modules to the UPS. Not only does this enable a corresponding charging behavior to be set for each operational state to lengthen the life of a battery, but also to be informed in time when the lifespan is nearing its end. By changing the battery module in time, which can for example be carried out as part of routine maintenance, the plant is always protected.

Supply for an industry PC

One of the main reasons for a DC UPS system is to safeguard an industry PC. In this case, not only is it important to ensure that there is sufficient supply but also that the industry PC is properly shut down. The IPC shutdown mode of the BLOCK DC UPS enables the charging and control units (PC-0524-400-0) and the capacitive UPS (PC-0424-017-0) to securely shut down the IPC. If a drop in voltage is detected, after a timed sequence, it waits for the return of supply. If this does not occur, the UPS sends a signal to the IPC with the help of its potential-free signal contacts to shut it down securely. Once the supply returns after the IPC has been shut down, it is powered up with a new signal without needing to be manually restarted. This enables the production process to be restarted seamlessly even after a longer outage.

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