It would not be an exaggeration to state that an emergency power supply system is probably the most critical element of a healthcare system. Together with fuel supply and storage facilities, the system enables all the other hospital installations and equipment that have not sustained direct physical damage to function normally during a failure. As diagnosis and treatment become more dependent on computers, monitors, and other electrical equipment, the need for emergency power supplies continue to grow.

As a specialist provider of UPS service, maintenance, repair and installation solutions, PPSPower works on UPS units in hospital sites across the UK.

Supply and demand

PPSPower is responsible for maintaining many UK hospitals’ UPS, ensuring they are working correctly and up to date with servicing, parts and software. It provides maintenance contracts at the hospitals’ sites and keeps files with information on the units at each specific site. These files tell the team what type of units are on site and where they are located. They also give the engineers an indication of when any ageing parts are required to be replaced or if any software requires to upgrading.

PPSPower offers two types of UPS servicing- intrusive and non-intrusive. Intrusive servicing allows the company to operate switches and bypasses, and importantly allows the engineers to isolate the UPS so they can safely remove the panels and covers and look at the PCBs (and batteries if applicable) for any damaged or failed components.

Non-intrusive servicing means engineers cannot isolate the UPS, so they cannot look at the PCB’s to see any visible damage, meaning they must use dates and readings from the unit to determine what is required.

PPSPower also has the software for Riello units as it is a service partner and reseller of the brand. This allows the team to check the full history of the unit, and perform battery discharge tests (via laptop) on the unit to give accurate readings and show any problems the unit has had, or may incur in the future.

Guaranteeing resilience

On PPSPower’s first visit to a West Yorkshire hospital since taking over the contract recently, the team was able to isolate the UPS to carry out a full intrusive service on the units.

The UPS was fully isolated and powered down using the external bypass switch, which maintained power to the load which is backed by the UPS. With the unit isolated the engineers could test the interior of the UPS, checking the boards for any visible damage, recording board numbers in case any parts required replacement, testing all fuses using a multi-meter to check they worked and hadn’t blown, and carrying out an internal clean of the unit.

Annemarie Wakefield, UPS Technical Manager for PPSPower, said: “Whilst carrying out the service, the engineers discovered from the history files that were downloaded out via the laptop that the previous company that serviced the units had never carried out a full intrusive service on the units, meaning the UPS had never been fully switched off and isolated before.

“We found a faulty capacitor on the filter battery card which would never have been spotted by the previous company. The team recorded the part number, put the unit back together, and attempted to power it back up. The unit would not restart past the pre-charge status (caused from battery card fault) and the hospital was alerted and shown the faulty capacitor.

“None of these faults would have been discovered with a non-intrusive service. The units were supplying the hospital theatres, critical equipment which meant the issue needed resolving as soon as possible.”

Rapid response

PPSPower’s engineers left this unit on bypass, meaning a main supply was still going to the theatres, but if this supply was to fail, there would no back up due to the unit being offline. The service team ordered the parts the same day and they were sent on next day delivery. The engineers arrived on site two days later with replacement parts, which were fitted without any problems.

The unit was powered back up using the correct procedure, then taken out of bypass, and now the hospital had its backup power back for the theatres, within 48 hours of finding the fault.


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