Protecting the UK’s Critical Junctions

Aug 12, 2015 | UPS & Standby Power

Siemens, a global engineering and technology services company, has been active in the UK for over 170 years providing solutions to help tackle the UK’s major road and traffic challenges. In this instance, Siemens identified that many of the UK’s critical junctions were unprotected and without backup power, increasing the risk of accidents, congestion, and subsequently creating a lack of access for the emergency services. Choosing to partner with Harland Simon UPS, the UK’s specialist power solutions provider, a UPS solution dedicated to traffic control systems is being proactively offered to an important market with specific requirements. 

Identifying the critical locations

A critical junction is identified as an area in need of backup power, including traffic joining a motorway or accessing town centres and any large junction that, if the signals were to stop working, would create congestion or make the junction less safe.  

Keith Manston, head of product management at Siemens, explains how each authority is responsible for identifying its own critical junctions. “Some instances arise whereby a local authority decides to add a UPS to an existing junction. However, predominantly it is a new or completely changed junction where the UPS is designed in from the beginning, which is then built to meet the specific requirements of that authority.”

Partnering with a UPS specialist

Keith continues, “Prior to working with Harland Simon UPS, we found that often when we had the need to talk to a UPS supplier, the solutions available were not really suited to traffic environments; they were either more suited to offices, physically take up too much space, or not designed to cope with fluctuating outside conditions such as varying temperatures and weather.

“We wanted to find a UPS solution that we could offer proactively to local authorities and be confident it would meet any requirement they had and be a dedicated solution for traffic control systems.”

After designing a UPS solution set up precisely to work in terms of power loading and response times, Harland Simon UPS created a prototype UPS for Siemens to trial. “Initially, we didn’t know if the UPS would meet the market’s requirements, so we took a prototype solution to a traffic exhibition for a trial,” Keith continued. “The UPS we decided to use is a Line Interactive type that isn’t constantly in use, which works well with our system. The customer response was excellent, so from this the prototype was developed into a product that could be easily installed at the critical junctions identified by the authorities. We’re so pleased with the UPS that we now promote it at all of our own events.”

In partnership with Harland Simon UPS, Siemens has already implemented 20 UPS systems into critical junctions within eight months, and has significant plans to increase this number in the upcoming year.

The UPS solution uses a standard Siemens grey traffic controller cabinet, so that it matches with the controller, which it is to power. However with additional orders placed in the last few months for black cabinet UPS systems, Keith explained how Siemens was keen to avoid having too many variations of the design, yet understood the importance placed on ‘street furniture’ by many authorities. “We decided to expand the range of UPS systems from Harland Simon to include black traffic controller cabinets too, as we found that some authorities prefer the equipment and poles to be black rather than grey in order to match accompanying street furniture; as we expected, Harland Simon UPS was more than happy to accommodate this. For us, this really shows that the UPS is becoming a more common specification alongside a traffic controller, which should contribute towards a wider adoption of the solution in the future.”

A crystal clear solution

According to Keith, an additional benefit of the solution provided by Harland Simon UPS was the inclusion of Lead Crystal battery technology within the UPS. A greener and far more cost effective alternative to other battery technologies on the market, Lead Crystal batteries carry numerous benefits such as longer life spans, wide temperature tolerance, and being safer and friendlier for the environment.

“The inclusion of Lead Crystal batteries within the UPS systems was a big factor for us, and allowed us to sell the UPS as a logical solution. In the past, we have found that many batteries are unable to deal with the environmental conditions, such as heating and cooling, but we quickly found that Lead Crystal batteries are able to tolerate temperature ranges without any added special features, which is a huge benefit for us. As we’re dealing with such integral parts of the UK’s traffic infrastructure, it’s imperative for us to be dealing with efficient and reliable technology that we can trust, which is exactly what the Lead Crystal battery within the UPS provides.”

Andy Parfitt, sales director, Harland Simon UPS concluded, “It’s great to see that the importance of placing form-fit-function UPS systems at critical junctions is being more widely recognised, and consequently more widely adopted. Having the right UPS designed to meet specific requirements in the right place is essential to ensure that both local and national infrastructures run smoothly.

“We worked closely with Siemens throughout the complex design stage and during the agreed timescale in order to maintain brand consistency and make the system compatible with it’s existing cabinets. As a result, the modular framework, UPS and battery trays could be supplied in kit form and built in such a way to keep the configuration footprint to a minimum according to council requirements, as well as to ensure quick and easy assembly of the product onsite.”