With all the exciting new developments in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), the subject of UPS technology and batteries may seem about as sexy as a pair of socks. But traffic system outages aren't sexy either, so backup power matters. And there have been new developments in UPS technology in recent years, giving ITS system designers more options for building systems with maximum uptime.
In recent decades, UPS technology has improved hugely in ways that offer great benefit for transportation systems. Transformer-free UPS designs became available in the mid-1990s, enabling UPS products with higher energy efficiency and smaller footprints. Advancements in semi-conductor technology, such as insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBT), have allowed UPS to deliver faster switching, even smaller footprints, and lower cost. Overall, the efficiency of UPS technology has improved by 15 percent over the last 40 years, with a 4x improvement in power density.
In the last decade or so, modular UPS designs have helped improve uptime and remove cost barriers, with hot-swappable modules and the ability to grow UPS capacity to match system requirements. And integration with Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) has allowed UPS units to be managed remotely, lowering maintenance costs and allowing system managers to quickly pinpoint and address any issues.
The latest innovation in UPS technology is the application of digital intelligence to analyze incoming power and manage UPS operation. For example, designs with "intelligent two-stage operation" use oscilloscope monitoring and waveform analysis to provide an optimum combination of output power quality, energy efficiency, and reliability. These new UPS systems can provide 97% power efficiency and longer battery life than systems that were available even a few years ago.
Every data center manager knows they need to regularly refresh their technology to keep up with growing demands, and UPS technology has improved enough that it may be time for ITS managers to consider a refresh, too. And as planners and engineers add innovative new capabilities to ITS, it's worth finding out what the latest UPS technology can offer to keep those splendid new transportation systems humming right along.