UPS - The Key Role of Back-up Battery Testing & Maintenance For Reliable Power Supply

By Chris Dodds on 16th July, 2015

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UPS - The Key Role of Back-up Battery Testing & Maintenance For Reliable Power Supply

As the rail industry looks to integrate its data management systems to improve reliability, standby battery solutions provider BCL Power thinks it can help.

Brett Communications Ltd (BCL Power) was established in 1994 as a telecoms battery service company.

Today, the company offers complete end-to-end solutions for UPS (uninterruptable power supply) batteries and critical standby power equipment, including battery testing and maintenance services.

The core of BCL’s customer base comes from telecoms divisions of a number of sectors including banking, education, government authorities and NHS trusts.

However, with significant success as a supplier of Midtronics Stationary Power battery management solutions, BCL is now looking towards the rail industry as a potential opportunity for future growth.

James Abbey, Director at BCL, explains that there is a lack of awareness towards the importance of ensuring regular testing and maintenance of batteries.

“We have seen a real problem where people have had services on their UPS’s but not an actual service or test on the batteries,” he says. “The importance of regular battery maintenance is really simple because it is the key component within a battery back-up system.

If you don’t have them tested regularly, then you don’t know the condition of them. And if you don’t know the condition of them, you don’t know if they’re going to work when they are needed.

Therefore, it is important that the client can get accurate and efficient information about the systems, so they can be preventative rather than reactive, and that’s where we come in.”

In delivering these solutions, BCL Power excels within the industry with its supplier relationships.

Midtronics“We are a UK distributor for Midtronics Stationary Power equipment,” explains James. “This really gives us an edge over our competitors because we not only provide the battery management service, but also the tools themselves.”

One of the problems across all sectors is that there is currently a lack of integration between the way companies test with one device and monitor with another, resulting in multiple streams of data, which then have to be analysed separately. “All Midtronics Stationary Power equipment reports into one system.

This means that it is possible to get the data back to the clients quickly and efficiently,” adds James. Often replacing a battery system can set a company back between £500 and £10,000: “With this management system in place it allows company’s to predict failure and therefore budget effectively for new battery systems.”

Battery Testing & UPS Maintenance From BCL Power & Midtronics

It is with this solution that BCL Power proposes its services to the rail industry.

“Currently, the rail industry will have a monitoring system from one company that focuses on remote batteries at switching sites and telephone exchanges. In addition to this the guys who go out to the field will likely be testing batteries with a different system.

Then all this data is extracted and analysed by someone else who can then make a decision on whether the batteries need changing or if they are okay.

With the Midtronics Stationary Power equipment, there is a central server, which can collate all information from all sites, whether it be from engineer tests or from monitoring remote sites, which can cut down on service visits.

This will then allow management teams in the rail industry to predict when the batteries will need changing more accurately, rather than waiting for a test to say that they’ve already failed. So again in the rail industry it allows them to be proactive rather than reactive.”

Focusing on the rail industry is a smart and reactive move by the BCL Power team considering a current push within the industry to integrate data management with operations in order to improve reliability and therefore customer satisfaction.

Midtronics Celltron Advantage - Modular Battery Analysis System

Having recently sold Midtronics testers to Network Rail through a third party, BCL sees the potential for its management systems to also be put in place to help drive maintenance efficiencies throughout the rail network.

“As a nation we are putting more pressure on the power grid and this brings its challenges. So people are becoming more reliant on back-up battery solutions,” comments James who sees big opportunity in the future.

“Going forward it is worth companies investing in a good battery management programme. For instance, if stations and signalling applications are relying on standby battery power in case of a power cut, how do they know they will work every time.”

As far as BCL’s own future is concerned, the company is very much focused on expanding its product offering as its target markets become increasingly aware of the importance of battery management.

“Over the next 12 months, we are looking at having a hosted service. So if clients haven’t got the employees to manage the data, we can provide a secure management service where we collect the information remotely and can highlight problems for them.

We can then inform them of the best way to proceed. Beyond that we are looking to expand into providing cyber power security as well – this will make us even more unique within the market,” James concludes. With a unique position in the market and a strong product and service offering, BCL Power is well placed in an economy where future power sources are uncertain.

With power such a critical part of maintaining reliability within the rail industry and across all sectors, the company proposes a sensible solution to making sure this reliability is maintained.

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