CWHK Awards 2018: Cooling systems advance

Ben Tam, business development manager of Schneider Electric Hong Kong

Award: DATA CENTER COOLING SYSTEMS

Winner: Schneider Electric Uniflair LE

Data center environments are getting complex with diverse requirements. Cooling is one as it consumes about 40% of energy in a data center. An efficient cooling system with a low cost of ownership is what most data center operators are demanding.

“Keeping up with increasing heat densities while reducing operating costs is a major challenge for local data centers,” said Ben Tam, business development manager of Schneider Electric Hong Kong.

Addressing diverse needs

Tam said the company’s room air conditioner Uniflair LE meets this challenge by providing energy efficiency, reliability, and flexibility at a low cost.

Schneider Electric Uniflair LE received the most votes in the data center cooling systems category in this year’s Computerworld Hong Kong Awards.

The product is integrated with components like electronically commutated (EC) fans, tandem compressors, electronic expansion valves (EEVs), and automatic floor pressurization system (AFPS), reducing “30% of annual energy consumption.”

To address capex optimization demand, the product has a compact footprint and uses a modular cooling infrastructure. “The compact dimensions of Uniflair units reduce operating and management costs while providing high-level modularity and flexibility,” he said.

The cooling infrastructure can be implemented over time and adapts to new load conditions. This reduces capex expenditures and provides deferred investment throughout the life of the data centers.

Reliability is of crucial importance in data center operations. According to Tam, Uniflair is designed to maintain temperature and humidity within extremely tight tolerances. It features

an ultracapacitor that can back up the cooling controller for two minutes during outages, providing reliable energy storage without interruption.

In addition, Uniflair can monitor all components and environmental parameters, provide a precise and clear display of any malfunctions or abnormal operating conditions and management of emergency conditions.

Uniflair provides a range of configurations. It can be set up in different data center environments, with or without raised floor by in-unit and under-floor EC fans. It is designed to work with various building management systems for ensuring full compatibility.

Colocation companies are the key customers of Uniflair LE. Other customers include enterprises across different industries, which have diverse requirements in their unique data center environments.

Growth potential in edge data centers

Going greener and addressing the growing IoT market are the development roadmap or major plans of Schneider Electric. Tam said the company is going to develop greener products like cooling equipment with variable-speed drive (VSD) compressor and free cooling features.

On the IoT front, the demand for edge data centers and colocation centers is on the rise. They require high density computing and cooling systems that can provide higher energy efficiency at lower cost. Schneider Electric will continue to enhance its products to address the evolving cooling requirements. “We will focus our resources on improving modularity, flexibility, availability, higher density operations, and energy efficiency as product enhancements,” he said.

To read about the winners of this year’s CWHK Awards 2018, click here to download a copy of the magazine’s second quarter print issue.