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Integrated real-time monitoring systems


Johannesburg, 08 Jul 2020
Read time 4min 00sec

Imagine not being able to physically inspect your power supply infrastructure to proactively fix problems. Or not being allowed to have staff on hand to deal with power interruptions that disrupt your business. With COVID-19 and lockdown, these scenarios became reality. As we figure out a new normal, remote capabilities are moving from nice-to-have to non-negotiable in the quest to keep businesses running smoothly.

“Social distancing is changing our workplaces, as is the threat of temporary closures when staff contract COVID-19,” says Rory Reid, sales and marketing Manager for Master Power Technologies (MPT), a leading supplier of backup power solutions for data centres, and the manufacturing, construction, mining, financial services and telecoms industries. “Given the challenging operating environment brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, uptime matters more than ever,” he says. “Remote monitoring ensures optimal functioning of electrical equipment and pre-empts potential supply interruptions, while keeping human intervention to the absolute minimum.”

Reid speaks from experience. MPT’s in-house R&D team first conceived its remote monitoring solution more than a decade ago and has, over the years, expanded and refined its capabilities by anticipating customer requirements and employing cutting-edge technology.

“Our backup power solutions combine the most trusted brands in UPSes, generator sets, fuel systems and battery and energy management processes,” says Reid, “but even the best systems and equipment fail. Continuous monitoring allows proactive and corrective maintenance; remote monitoring introduces the kind of flexibility that an unpredictable world demands.”

The heart of MPT’s remote monitoring offering is the Master Power Universal Controller (UC). Developed fully in-house, the UC is a range of application-specific hardware and software that controls and monitors all components of a backup power solution. It provides real-time hardware and software monitoring, and takes intelligent, automatic action – without human intervention – to address issues that could cripple essential functions, such as components at risk of failing.

MPT’s team of experienced and skilled technical experts monitor customer systems from the company’s 24/7/365 network operating centre. If necessary, they follow a set of standard operating procedures to address a problem in response to an alarm. These include the deployment of site assistance before escalation reaches critical points. Be it breakdown support or routine maintenance, response time is excellent given that MPT owns and operates workshops that keep stock of frequently used spares.

Reid points out that informed decision-making is a major benefit of MPT’s remote monitoring solution. “Our customers have the benefit of real-time system performance information that can be accessed on smart devices at any time, as well as longer term trends that become evident when analysing the equipment log,” says Reid. “Our solution is also system agnostic – we can integrate with whatever backup power supply solution a customer has.”

With the UC as backbone, MPT has developed several product applications to improve and expand its remote monitoring capability:

  • Triple change-over controls monitor the source of power to the site and, in the event of failure, select and start an alternative source. For example, should utility power be interrupted, the triple change-over will select the generator as power source and start it. When utility power returns, the triple change-over switches off the generator. The system can operate and control up to two generators, thus providing for critically important redundancy.
  • The remote management system monitors all alarms and the status of secure power equipment in critical areas such as data centres. This includes environmental monitoring of indicators such as humidity and temperature, as well as detection of water leaks and intrusions.
  • BattSure monitors the status of UPS batteries, which is vital for a site’s uninterrupted power supply and safety. It sounds a warning when pre-set values are exceeded and takes action to prevent reduced battery life or premature replacement. BattSure also monitors the battery hydrogen discharge levels in a room, raises alarms and deploys corrective actions to safely ventilate the area.

“Uncertainty is the enemy of resource optimisation and operational efficiency,” says Reid. “COVID-19 is reminding us of this every day. Remote monitoring removes system uncertainty by providing real-time transparency of equipment status, allowing leaders to make critical decisions, even when their teams are not at work. We work with companies to minimise support requirements using automated and remote technologies to keep business running smoothly.” 

Master Power Technologies

Established in 1999 by well-known aerobatics pilot and aircraft enthusiast Menno Parsons, Master Power Technologies specialises in the supply, installation and after sales servicing of a comprehensive range of secure power solutions. Aimed at the manufacturing, mining and telecommunications industries, as well as data centres and other operations where uptime is ciritical, Master Power’s solutions include modular data space solutions, UPS and generator systems, battery management, automated monitoring, and control and energy management systems.

As an independently owned total power solutions provider, we are proud to have celebrated a number of firsts over the past 21 years.

Editorial contacts
Head of Sales, marketing & Social Media Marizaan Van Rooyen (062) 915 7174 marizaan@kva.co.za
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