By Peter Kimmett, Business Development Manager – IT/Telecom, ebm-papst Inc.
With an all-time high demand for rapid deployment of IT and Telecommunications equipment-cooling solutions, sometimes there’s a tendency for equipment manufacturers and integrators to assume all fans are equal and that it’s safe to choose the lowest priced fan for up-front savings. What is overlooked sometimes is the Total Cost of Ownership, where sometimes a product with higher up-front costs ends up costing less to maintain in the long run than a cheaper product. Technical specifications such as power draw / energy savings and L10 (bearing life) data should be reviewed, as well as commercial aspects such as service & support available from the manufacturer. Spotting a deal that’s ‘Too good to be true’ isn’t always easy. Most fan suppliers have many years of experience and their products go through extensive testing prior to production. But, sometimes the tests are based only on samples that are hand built by meticulous engineers in an environment that is tightly controlled, versus having a product made on an assembly line, which can lead to actual data that is inferior to the original estimate. The costs of going the cheap-and-dirty route aren’t always worth the initially attractive prices. Here are some things to consider when choosing a cooling solution:
Low quality equipment = unforeseen failures
- Early and unexpected failures that likely could occur range anywhere from bearings and/or lubricant failures to electronic components being a potential weak spot to improper design and non-automated manufacturing defects.
- The potentially high fallout rates of cooling equipment due to early failures can lead to premature replacements during production or in the field.
Unreliable components = higher replacement costs
- IT/Telecom equipment production builds must order new cooling equipment, which requires additional manufacturing time.
- System tests must be repeated or equipment burn-in needs to be redone. Some of these tests take anywhere from an hour for system level testing to 24 hours for burn-in.
Replacement = re-installation and re-testing
- Almost all IT/Telecommunications equipment is required to run 24/7. Any downtime can be detrimental in this market resulting in loss of cell signal or your favorite website not functioning. This downtime can result in loss of revenue or loss of customers.
- If IT/Telecom cooling equipment fails in the field, a replacement fan or fan tray needs to be sent out with a technician to do all replacements and associated testing to ensure proper performance. Every time a technician needs to go into the field, the IT/telecom operator’s costs escalate.
Costs to determine ‘what went wrong’ adds up
- Failed cooling units that are retuned from the field must be shipped back to the OEM for initial failure analysis – this adds on additional costs in shipping and lab analysis time.
- If the failure is due to a fan issue, the fan is shipped back to the fan supplier for additional analysis. This requires additional lab time to determine the root cause.
Unforeseen costs are hard to document – but they’ll erode your profitability every time
- Sending out field technicians. Re-manufacturing product. Re-testing and burning-in replacement equipment. Lab analyses. Shipping costs.
- All of these unanticipated costs are very difficult to track and measure but will certainly affect your bottom line.
By choosing a dependable supplier and partner at the beginning of your project, many of these unforeseen scenarios can be avoided.
· Manufacturers of dependable cooling equipment offer the IT/Telecom market products that have been rigorously tested and certified to the industry’s highest performance standards. This translates to higher yield rates per installation and virtually eliminates the need for repetitive back-end, unforeseen costs.
· Getting quality equipment in the first place also reduces the number of technicians that need to be sent in the field for early failures.
· Choosing a long lasting cooling product helps reduce the number of replacements over the lifetime of the product installation.
· Look beyond a supplier’s catalogue. Ask for additional technical information that validates the expected life time that is published. How were the figures calculated?
Have you experienced any of the above cooling failure nightmares in your IT/Telecom application? If so, how did you resolve them? What solutions did you choose moving forward? We welcome your feedback in the comments box below.