Author Archive for: Marketing


    Rittal North America expands Blue e+ cooling unit generation

    Schaumburg, IL – July 16, 2018 — Cooling units with new 1.6kW output class. Rittal Blue e+ cooling units are currently the most efficient of their kind on the market. The manufacturer is now expanding its range of cooling units with the addition of a device with an output class of 1.6 kW. Besides being 75 percent more energy-efficient than previous cooling solutions on average, the units also excel in terms of connectivity, safety and handling.  

    To date, the Blue e+ cooling unit series from Rittal has offered an output range of 2 to 6 kW. But expected in late July, the company will launch compact units in a lower output class – at 1.6 kW. “This advancement enables us to add an important milestone to our Blue e+ cooling unit range and meet market requirements for compact cooling units for efficient enclosure climate control,” explains Eric Corzine, Climate Product Manager Rittal North America.

    With its Blue e+ cooling unit range, Rittal relies on an innovative, patented hybrid technology. This combines a compressor cooling unit and heat pipe, which provides passive cooling. The control strategy for hybrid operation is a factor that has significant influence on the huge efficiency gains. Moreover, the compression cooling system of the new Blue e+ range is highly energy efficient. Frequency converters precisely adjust the speed of the DC motors for the fans and compressors to achieve the exact cooling output required. They vary the speed of the system’s fans and compressors by voltage control, allowing the cooling output to be tailored precisely to the requirements at all times. This cuts energy consumption significantly over conventional solutions. “Thanks to the energy efficiency of new cooling units, electrical savings of up to 75% are possible – as a number of test results show”, Eric Corzine pointed out.

    The units in the new range can be operated flexibly in all standard grids worldwide thanks to their multi-voltage capability. Permissible input voltage ranges from 110 V (single-phase) to 480 V (three-phase) in conjunction with a mains frequency of 50 Hz or 60 Hz.

    Precise, variable-output cooling minimizes thermal stress on components. Constant temperature fluctuations, such as in the conventional two-point control systems are now a thing of the past. This not only increases the service life of the cooling units and enclosure components, it also means higher process reliability.

    The graphical touchscreen control panel displays all key information at a glance. System messages appear as plain text and are multi-lingual. Standardized communication interfaces ensure easy integration in a production plant’s control systems. With the new IoT interface, Rittal also enables Blue e+ units to link to customer-owned monitoring, energy management and/or superordinate systems via OPC-UA, Profinet, SNMP, Modbus TCP and CANopen, enabling predictive maintenance, data analytics and more.

    For more information about the Blue e+ Air Conditioner, visit


    Rittal Introduces Smart and Small Power Distribution

    Schaumburg, IL – April 11, 2018— Rittal North America LLC (, the world’s largest manufacturer of industrial enclosures, enclosure accessories and machinery, introduces the RiLine Compact System for power distribution in confined enclosures and small control cabinets.

    The RiLine Compact System marks Rittal’s entry into a new market segment for low-current power distribution. It is ideal for most small control panel applications and provides optimal use of panel space. For power demands below 100 A, the RiLine system is a safer, more cost-effective power distribution alternative to traditional wiring.

    The RiLine Compact system is simple to install and quick to configure, delivering significant time and labor savings. The board simply snaps onto DIN rails without tools, or it can be screwed to the panel directly. The modular-compatible pitch pattern runs along the entire length of the board, allowing components to be attached to a variety of places within the cabinet. Adapters are available to connect to round conductors, and a variety of motor and power control modules. Each component mounts with a tool-free, snap-on connection, and maintenance-free spring clamp technology keeps electrical contacts secure.

    To eliminate accidental user contact, the entire RiLine Compact system is shielded with contact hazard protection to separate the user from live parts. No conventional wiring is required. RiLine meets all global standards, including IEC and UL.

    For more information on the RiLine Compact or any of the Rittal products, see our website at


    About Rittal

    Rittal North America LLC, headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois, is the U.S. subsidiary of Rittal GmbH & Co. KG and manufactures the world’s leading industrial and IT enclosures, racks and accessories, including climate control and power management systems for industrial, data center, outdoor and hybrid applications.


    Case Study: South Coast Controls Is Driven by Its Customer’s Needs

    Attention to the details of their clients’ needs has elevated South Coast Controls (SCC) to the elite among control panel engineering corporations. For 30 years, this family company has manufactured and delivered expertly designed systems that meet the needs of its clients, who consistently return with new projects.

    Soon after it was incorporated, SCC became one of most sought-after control panel engineering outfits in the market. The company continues to focus on building complex control systems for challenging installations.


    The University of California-San Diego (UCSD) was recently presented with an enormous opportunity. Hewlett-Packard (HP) was interested in installing a one-of-a-kind 3D printer for beta testing. The printer is one of the largest ever manufactured by HP, and was a unique project that became an occasion for SCC to showcase its vast range of expertise.

    The enormous printer was the first one installed at the UCSD campus and the job was anything but ordinary. Nearly every aspect required customization: from power management and the enclosure to access and security.

    Rittal TS 8 enclosures support South Coast Control’s custom solutions.

    Meeting the Customer’s Requirements

    During the initial meetings with UCSD, SCC engineers realized that many of their design decisions would be site specific. They had to use a control panel and enclosure combination that offered a flexible design that allowed for modification and could be adjusted in the field. They turned to Rittal and its T8 modular enclosure.

    Once the engineers began to work on site, it became clear that power management would be a major challenge. They realized that the UCSD campus did not have the electrical infrastructure to provide the required power for this enormous printer. Hewlett- Packard asked South Coast Controls to create an electrical control panel and to modify the TS 8 enclosure to accommodate three, 3-phase transformers. To run the printer, the transformers would be required to provide 120/208V AC of single-phase current and 7.5kVA of 3-phase current.

    Once the control panel was delivered, the HP engineers asked for a number of modifications. SCC removed the left- and right-side panels to add 10-inch vents. They also removed the bottom tray of the enclosure and welded studs in place to secure a large, 3-phase motor. In addition, they removed the right front door and wired a start/stop button in place.

    Cutting and machining of the required components was performed off-site at the nearby SCC facilities. The project was completed in late 2016 and, after extensive testing, the 3D printing facility was opened to the school’s faculty and students.

    The UCSD teams have used 3D printing to produce a number of newsworthy and potentially life-saving creations:

    • The research team led by Shaochen Chen, PhD, head of the Nanobiomaterials, Bioprinting, and Tissue Engineering Lab at UCSD, have used 3D printing to create advanced bioprinted liver tissue, which would minimize tissue rejection.
    • Dr. Chen’s team has also built a 3D-printed, nanoscale, fish-like robot that is designed for a variety of drug delivery and removal applications.
    • Finally, researchers in Dr. Chen’s lab have also created functional capillary-like vascular networks using the 3D printing. The team summarized the process in a peer-reviewed publication in 2017 in Biomaterials. These tissues would also eliminate concerns about tissue rejection when used in vivo.


    What began as a complex fabrication and customization project with HP and Rittal to install a large 3D printer quickly yielded fascinating and promising result in the labs of UCSD researchers. SCC did the work of helping to shoehorn HP’s enormous 3D printer into place by modifying Rittal’s versatile T8 enclosure. In the end, the results exceed the needs of the client, UCSD and its innovative faculty.


    Rittal SE 8 Enclosures Offer Better Value and Durability Than Unibody Enclosures

    Schaumburg, IL – February 1, 2018— Rittal North America LLC ( ), the world’s largest enclosure manufacturer and a leader in thermal management of electrical, electronic and IT equipment, introduces the SE 8 line of stand-alone enclosures. The new SE 8 combines the interior space efficiency of modular designs with a price point that competes with unibody enclosures.

    SE 8 freestanding enclosures are available in single- or double-door designs. The enclosures utilize 14-gauge doors, and 16-gauge panels and roof. All materials are available in carbon or stainless steel. The single-door carbon-steel version is UL Type 12 and 3R, with a Type 4 option available. The single-door stainless steel version is also UL Type 12, 3R, with a Type 4X option.

    The roll-form frame construction of the SE 8 provides strength and durability and 30 percent more useable internal space than comparable unibody designs. Unlike unibody enclosures, the SE 8 features multiple interchangeable accessories, including all TS 8 interior system accessories, plus cable entry options, swing frames, chassis, rails and partial panels, lighting and grounding systems, plinth, cable base and flex block and more. The popular Rittal reversible door and lock system is standard.

    SE 8 workstations for PC components in industrial environments provide ergonomic styling and protection for computer configurations – from monitor to printer. The design is highly stable as a stand-alone enclosure, with carbon-steel or stainless construction. A rear door provides easy service access, and triple surface treatment guards against corrosion.

    Access protection includes a glazed door with robust safety glass, a lockable keyboard drawer and solid, one-piece sides and roof. Identical pitch patterns in width and depth and two mounting levels create unlimited options for interior customization.

    PE conductor connection points and grounding bolts are standard, with extensive optional accessories that include grounding straps, PE busbars and grounding rails.

    SE 8 is the superior choice for durability and customization over unibody enclosures. More information is available on the Rittal website,


    About Rittal

    Rittal North America LLC, headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois, is the U.S. subsidiary of Rittal GmbH & Co. KG and manufactures the world’s leading industrial and IT enclosures, racks and accessories, including climate control and power management systems for industrial, data center, outdoor and hybrid applications.


    Rittal Launches New Push-In Conductor Connection Clamps

    With its new generation of conductor connection clamps using push-in technology, Rittal offers the fastest method for creating a secure connection between cables and busbars.

    Schaumburg, Illinois — Rittal North America (, the world’s largest manufacturer of industrial enclosures, enclosure accessories and machinery, introduces a new generation of maintenance-free conductor connection clamps using push-in technology. For many system integrators, wires and cables connected with screw clamps or fixed conductor connection clamps can be time-consuming to install. Rittal’s new push-in clamps offer quick and easy connection to many different types of conductors.

    The push-in conductor connection clamp reduces potential defects, like incorrect compression/torques or clamp loosening. Now panel builders and switchgear manufacturers can connect cables, wires, and protective and neutral conductors directly to busbars. In addition, short-circuit resistant voltage taps can be added onto the main busbar system, or installers can string distributors or blocks with a large number of connector clamps to pair with outgoing cables.

    The Rittal push-in conductor connection clamps are available in two clamping ranges, 0.5 – 4 mmand 1.5 – 16 mm2, and for copper busbars 5 and 10 mm thick in each clamping range.  UL and IEC certified for use worldwide, and approved for use in both offshore and maritime applications, the Rittal push-in conductor connection clamp is available now.


    About Rittal  

    Rittal North America, headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois, is the U.S. subsidiary of Rittal GmbH & Co. KG and manufactures the world’s leading industrial and IT enclosures, racks and accessories, including climate control and power management systems for industrial, data center, outdoor and hybrid applications.


    10 aspects to consider for data center clients

    By Mark A. Kosin, Southland Industries

    There are 10 common aspects to consider in the analysis of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

    Of all the data center markets throughout North America, Northern Virginia (NoVa) has consistently been the most active due in large part to its history. In the early 1990s, the region played a crucial role in the development of the internet infrastructure, which naturally drew a high concentration of data center operators who could connect to many networks in one place.

    NoVa, and especially Loudoun County, Virginia, was made for data centers. With its abundant fiber, inexpensive and reliable power, rich water supply in an area that does not experience droughts, and attractive tax incentive programs, it’s ideal for many data center clients.

    There are more than 40 data centers located in Loudoun Count, and the majority are in “Data Center Alley,” which boasts a high concentration of data centers and supports about half of the country’s Internet traffic. With more than 4.5 million sq ft of data center space available and a projected 10 million sq ft by 2021, Ashburn, Virginia, data centers continue to lead the pack. As Ashburn becomes the site of some of the industry’s most progressive energy-saving initiatives and connectivity infrastructure developments, there’s no doubt that the region will continue to be a market to watch.

    Recently, an increase in competition has been driving technology and innovations throughout the NoVa data center colocation market. With such a competitive landscape, clients are looking at all aspects of their mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) designs to differentiate themselves from the competition. By looking holistically at clients’ priorities, the firm evaluates various factors during system comparisons and allows each client to choose the right mechanical and electrical systems to achieve their overall goals and optimize success. There are ten common aspects to consider in the analysis of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

    1. First cost

    When businesses turn to a colocation provider, and the fiscal benefits of such strategies are only increasing, first costs become a primary motivation. A recent study explained that rising competition in the colocation sector is leading to price declines in leasing and creating an extremely client-friendly environment.

    2. Energy efficiency

    Because power consumption directly drives operating costs, energy efficiency is a big concern for many businesses. Choosing a data center that integrates the latest technologies and architecture can help minimize environmental impacts. Innovations like highly efficient cooling plants and leveraging medium voltage electrical distribution systems can help reduce the amount of energy needed to power the building, resulting in a lower Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE).

    3. Reliability

    To avoid financial and business repercussions in the case of a planned or unplanned outage, reliability is a must. If going offline for even a few minutes will have significant financial and business repercussions, then employing MEP solutions that have backup options available in case of a planned or unplanned outage is a must.

    4. Flexibility 

    Flexibility with scaling systems has been an attractive strategy, particularly with colocation providers. Adaptability to multiple clients for phasing and making sure design provisions are made so the construction of a new phase can occur without downtime in active phases. Flexibility is a key component when it comes to meeting your business objectives because it allows your needs to be accommodated at any given time.

    5. Redundancy

    Providing continuous operations through all foreseeable circumstances, such as power outages and equipment failure, is necessary to ensure a data center’s reliability. Redundant systems that are concurrently maintainable provide peace of mind that the client’s infrastructure is protected.

    6. Maintainability

    Clients want systems that are easily maintainable to be able to ensure their critical assets are running at full speed. The system sections should be focused on operational excellence in order to protect customers’ critical power load and cooling resources.

    7. Speed to market

    Clients’ leases usually hinge on having timely inventory. Clients expect a fast- tracked, constructible design that is coordinated and installed in a timely manner. Through the integrated design-build model, long lead items can be pre-purchased in parallel with designs being completed and coordinated.

    8. Scalability

    Scalability and speed to market go hand in hand. It’s vital to understand that system infrastructure choices early in design can affect equipment lead times and installation durations for future phases. Also, in order to provide control and save operational costs during a period of accelerated MEP growth, systems need to be easily scalable to fast-track additional growth.

    9. Sustainability

    Customers benefit from solar power, reclaimed water-based cooling systems, waterless cooling technologies, and much more. Water is becoming a larger consideration with mechanical system selections. The enormous volume of water required to cool high-density server farms with mechanical systems is making water management a growing priority for data center operators. A 15-megawatt data center can use up to 360,000 gallons of water per day. Clients recognize that sustainability is not only good for the environment, but is also good for their bottom line.

    10. Design tolerances

    Since 2011, new temperature and humidity guidelines have helped rethink the design of data centers. Service level agreements (SLAs) are being designed with different limits. That has resulted in more and more innovations with MEP systems within mission critical facilities.

    Mark A. Kosin is vice president, business team leader for mid-Atlantic division at Southland Industries. This article originally appeared on Southland Industries blog. Southland Industries is a CFE Media content partner.


    View the original article and related content on Consulting Specifying Engineer


    ASHRAE’s new energy standard for data centers 

    By Bill Kosik, PE, CEM, LEED AP, BEMP; exp, Chicago

    ASHRAE Standard 90.4 is a flexible, performance-based energy standard that goes beyond current ASHRAE 90.1 methodology.

    Learning objectives:

    • Explain ASHRAE Standard 90.1.
    • Understand the fundamentals of ASHRAE Standard 90.4.
    • Explore how ASHRAE 90.4 will impact data center mechanical/electrical system design.

    The data center industry is fortunate to have many dedicated professionals volunteering their time to provide expertise and experience in the development of new guidelines, codes, and standards. ASHRAE, U.S. Green Building Council, and The Green Grid, among others, routinely call on these subject matter experts to participate in working committees with the purpose of advancing the technical underpinnings and long-term viability of the organizations’ missions. For the most part, the end goal of these working groups is to establish consistent, repeatable processes that will be applicable to a wide range of project sizes, types, and locations. For ASHRAE, this was certainly the case when it came time to address the future of the ASHRAE 90.1: Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings vis-à-vis how it applies to data centers.

    ASHRAE Standard 90.1 and data centers

    ASHRAE 90.1 has become the de facto energy standard for U.S. states and cities as well as many countries around the world. Data centers are considered commercial buildings, so the use of ASHRAE 90.1 is compulsory to demonstrate minimum energy conformance for jurisdictions requiring such. Specific to computer rooms, ASHRAE 90.1 has evolved over the last decade and a half, albeit in a nonlinear fashion. The 2001, 2004, and 2007 editions of ASHRAE 90.1 all have very similar language for computer rooms, except for humidity control, economizers, and how the baseline HVAC systems are to be developed. It is not until the ASHRAE 90.1-2010 edition where there are more in-depth requirements for computer rooms. For example, ASHRAE 90.1-2010 contains a new term, “sensible coefficient of performance” (SCOP), an energy benchmark used for computer and data processing room (CDPR) air conditioning units. The construct of SCOP is dividing the net sensible cooling capacity (in watts) by the input power (in watts). The definition of SCOP and the detail on how the units are to be tested comes from the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) in conjunction with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and was published in AHRI/ANSI Standard 1360: Performance Rating of Computer and Data Processing Room Air Conditioners.

    With the release of ASHRAE 90.1-2013, additional clarification, and requirements related to data centers including information for sizing water economizers and an introduction of a new alternative compliance path using power-usage effectiveness (PUE) were included. As a part of the PUE alternate compliance path, cooling, lighting, power distribution losses, and information technology (IT) equipment energy are to be documented individually. But since the requisites related to IT equipment (ITE) listed in ASHRAE 90.1 were originally meant for server closets or computer rooms that consume only a piece of the energy of the total building, there were still difficulties in demonstrating compliance. Yet there was no slowdown in technology growth; projects began to slowly include full-sized data centers with an annual energy usage greater than the building in which they are housed. Even with all the revisions and additions to ASHRAE 90.1 relating to data centers, there were still instances that proved difficult in applying ASHRAE 90.1 for energy-use compliance.

    Fortunately, as the data center community continued to evolve in terms of sophistication in designing and operating highly energy-efficient facilities, so did ASHRAE 90.1 with the release of the 2013 edition. But even before ASHRAE 90.1-2013 was released, the data center community was pushing for clearer criteria for energy-use compliance. It was crucial that these criteria would not stifle innovation, but at the same time provide logic and consistency on how to comply with ASHRAE 90.1. Many in the data center engineering community (including ASHRAE) knew something needed to change.

    ASHRAE Standard 90.4-2016

    Given the long history of ASHRAE 90.1 (dating back to 1976) and its demonstrated effectiveness in reducing energy use in buildings, several questions needed to be addressed before new criteria could be developed. What would be the best way to develop new language for data center facility energy use? Should it be an overlay to the existing standard? Should it be a stand-alone document? Should it be a stand-alone document and duplicate all the language in ASHRAE 90.1? How should the technical processes developed by The Green Grid and U.S. Green Building Council be folded into the standard? Would it be able to keep up with the fast-paced technology developments that are truly unique to data centers?

    Fast-forward a few years and in mid-2016, ASHRAE published ASHRAE 90.4-2016: Energy Standard for Data Centers. Coming in at just 68 pages, ASHRAE 90.4 doesn’t seem to be as detailed as compared with other standards released by ASHRAE (ASHRAE 90.1 weighs in at just over 300 pages). But this is by design—instead of trying to weave in data center-specific language into the existing standard, ASHRAE wisely chose to create a (mostly) stand-alone standard that is only applicable to data centers and contains references to ASHRAE 90.1. These references mainly are for building envelope, service-water heating, lighting, and other requirements. Using this approach avoids doubling up on future revisions to the standard, minimizes any unintended redundancies, and ensures that the focus of ASHRAE 90.4 is exclusive to data center facilities. Also, issuing updates to ASHRAE 90.1 will automatically update ASHRAE 90.4 for the referenced sections. In the same way, updates to ASHRAE 90.4 will not affect the language in ASHRAE 90.1. Using ASHRAE 90.1 will not automatically require the use of ASHRAE 90.4. In fact, since many local jurisdictions operate on a 3-year cycle for updating their building codes, many are still using the ASHRAE 90.1-2013 or earlier. The normative reference in ASHRAE 90.4 is ASHRAE 90.1-2016; however, the final say on an administrative matter like this will always fall to the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ).

    Fundamentals of ASHRAE 90.4

    ASHRAE 90.4 gives the engineer a completely new method for determining compliance. ASHRAE introduces new terminology for demonstrating compliance: design and annual mechanical load component (MLC) and electrical-loss components (ELC). ASHRAE is careful to note that these values are not comparable to PUE and are to be used only in the context of ASHRAE 90.4. The standard includes compliance tables consisting of the maximum load components for each of the 19 ASHRAE climate zones. Assigning an energy efficiency target, either in the form of design or an annualized MLC to a specific climate zone, will certainly raise awareness to the inextricable link between climate and data center energy performance (see figures 1 and 2). Since strategies like using elevated temperatures in the data center and employing different forms of economization are heavily dependent on the climate, an important goal is to increase the appreciation and understanding of these connections throughout the data center design community.

    Design mechanical-load component

    MLC can be calculated in one of two ways to determine compliance. The first is a summation of the peak power of the mechanical components in kilowatts, as well as establishing the design load of the IT equipment, also in kilowatts. ASHRAE 90.4 has a table of climate zones with the respective design dry-bulb and wet-bulb temperatures that are to be used when determining the peak mechanical system load. The calculation procedure is shown below. It must be noted that when comparing the calculated values of design MLC, the analysis must be done at both 100% and 50% ITE load; both values must be less than or equal to the values listed in Table 6.2.1 (design MLC) in ASHRAE 90.4.

    Design MLC=[cooling design power (kW)+pump design power (kW)+heat rejection design fan power (kW)+air handler unit design fan power (kW)]÷data center design ITE power (kW)

    Annualized mechanical-load component

    The concepts used for the annualized MLC path are like the design MLC, except an hourly energy analysis is required when using the annualized MLC path.

    This energy analysis must be done using software specifically designed for calculating energy consumption in buildings and must be accepted by the rating authority. Some of the primary requirements of the software include the dynamic characteristics of the data center, both inside and outside. The following are some of the software requirements used in the modeling:

    • Test in accordance with ASHRAE Standard 140: Standard Method of Test for the Evaluation of Building Energy Analysis Computer Programs.
    • Able to evaluate energy-use status for 8,760 hours/year.
    • Account for hourly variations in IT load, which cascades down to electrical system efficiency, cooling system operation, and miscellaneous equipment power.
    • Include provisions for daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal building-use schedules.
    • Use performance curves for cooling equipment, adjusting power use based on outdoor conditions as well as evaporator and condenser temperatures.
    • Calculate energy savings based on economization strategies for air- and water-based systems.
    • Produce hourly reports that compare the baseline HVAC system to a proposed system to determine compliance with the standard.
    • Calculate required HVAC equipment capacities and water- and airflow rates.

    Since ASHRAE 90.4 categorizes compliance metrics based on climate zone, it is imperative that the techniques used in simulating the data center’s energy use are accurate based on the specific location of the facility. As such, the simulation software must perform the analysis using climatic data including hourly atmospheric pressure, dry-bulb and dew point temperatures as well as wet-bulb temperature, relative humidity, and moisture content. This data is available from different sources and in the form of typical meteorological year, (TMY2, TMY3), and EnergyPlus Weather (EPW) files that are used as an input to the main simulation program.

    This compulsory hourly energy-use simulation considers fluctuations in mechanical system energy consumption, particularly in cases where the equipment is designed for some type of economizer mode, as well as energy reductions in vapor-compression equipment from reduced lift due to outdoor temperature and moisture levels. This approach seems to be the most representative of determining the energy performance of the data center, and since it is based on already established means of determining building energy use (i.e., hourly energy-use simulation techniques), it also will be the most understandable. Again, it must be noted that when comparing the calculated values of annualized MLC, the analysis must be done at both 100% and 50% ITE load; both values must be less than or equal to the values listed in Table (annualized MLC) in the ASHRAE standard. It also is important to note that both the design and annualized MLC values are tied to the ASHRAE climate zones. When energy use is calculated using simulation techniques, it becomes obvious that the energy used has a direct correlation to the climate zone, primarily due to the ability to extend economization strategies for longer periods of time throughout the year. If we compare calculated annualized MLC values for data centers with the MLC values in ASHRAE 90.4, the ASHRAE requirements are relatively flat when plotted across the climate zones. This means the calculated MLC values in this example have energy-use efficiencies that are in excess of the minimum required by the standard (see Figure 7).

    Annual MLC=[cooling design energy (kWh)+pump design energy (kWh)+heat rejection design fan energy (kWh)+air handler unit design fan energy (kWh)]÷data center design ITE energy (kWh)

    Design electrical-loss component

    Using the ASHRAE 90.4 approach to calculate the ELC defines the electrical system efficiencies and losses. For the purposes of ASHRAE 90.4, the ELC consists of three parts of the electrical system architecture:

    1. Incoming electrical service segment
    2. Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) segment
    3. ITE distribution segment.

    The segment for electrical distribution for mechanical equipment is stipulated to have losses that do not exceed 2%, but is not included in the ELC calculations. All the values for equipment efficiency must be documented using the manufacturer’s data, which must be based on standardized testing using the design ITE load. The final submittal to the rating authority (the organization or agency that adopts or sanctions the results of the analysis) must consist of an electrical single-line diagram and plans showing areas served by electrical systems, all conditions and modes of operation used in determining the operating states of the electrical system, and the design ELC calculations demonstrating compliance. Tables and in ASHRAE 90.4 list the maximum ELC values for ITE loads less than 100 kW and greater than or equal to 100 kW, respectively. The tables show the maximum ELC for the three segments individually as well as the total.

    The electrical distribution system’s efficiency impacts the data center’s overall energy efficiency in two ways: the lower the efficiency, the more incoming power is needed to serve the IT load. In addition, more air conditioning energy is required to cool the electrical energy dissipated as heat. ASHRAE 90.4, Section, is explicit on how this should be handled: “The system’s UPS and transformer cooling loads must also be included in [the MLC], evaluated at their corresponding part-load efficiencies.” The standard includes an approach on how to evaluate single-feed UPS systems (e.g., N, N+1, etc.) and active dual-feed UPS systems (2N, 2N+1, etc.). The single-feed systems must be evaluated at 100% and 50% ITE load. The dual active-feed systems must be evaluated at 50% and 25% ITE load, as these types of systems will not normally operate at a load greater than 50%.

    Addressing reliability of systems and equipment

    One of the distinctive design requirements of data centers is the high degree of reliability. One manifestation of this is the use of redundant mechanical equipment. The redundant equipment will come online when a failure occurs or when maintenance is required without compromising the original level of redundancy. Different engineers use different approaches based on their clients’ needs. Some will design in extra cooling units, pumps, chillers, etc. and have these pieces of equipment running all the time, cycling units on and off as necessary. Other designs might have equipment to handle more stringent design conditions, such as ASHRAE 0.4% climate data (dry-bulb temperatures corresponding to the 0.4% annual cumulative frequency of occurrence).

    And yet others will use variable-speed motors to vary water and airflow, delivering the required cooling based on a changing ITE load. Since these design approaches are quite different from one another, Table in ASHRAE 90.4 provides methods for calculating MLC compliance under these scenarios.

    Performance-based approach

    ASHRAE 90.4 uses a performance-based approach rather than a prescriptive one to accommodate the rapid change in data center technology and to allow for innovation in developing energy efficiency cooling solutions. Some of the provisions seem to especially encourage innovative solutions including:

    • Onsite renewables or recovered energy. The standard allows for a credit to the annual energy use if onsite renewable energy generation is used or waste heat is recovered for other uses. Data centers are ideal candidates for renewable energy generation, as the load can be constant through the course of the daytime and nighttime hours. Also, when water-cooled computers are used with high-discharge water temperatures, the water can be used for building heating, boiler-water preheating, snow melting, or other thermal uses.
    • Derivation of MLC values. The MLC values in the tables in ASHRAE 90.4 are considered generic to allow multiple systems to qualify for the path. The MLC values are based on systems and equipment currently available in the marketplace from multiple manufacturers. This is the benchmark for minimum compliance that must be met. But ideally, the project would go beyond the minimum and demonstrate even greater energy-reduction potential.
    • Design conditions. The annualized MLC values for air systems are based on a delta T (temperature rise of the supply air) of 20°F and a return-air temperature of 85°F. However, the proposed design is not bound to these values if the design temperatures are in agreement with the performance characteristics of the coils, pumps, fan capacities, etc. This provision from the standard gives the engineer a lot of room to innovate and propose nontraditional designs, such as water cooling of the ITE equipment.
    • Trade-off method. Sometimes mechanical and electrical systems have constraints that may disqualify them from meeting the MLC or ELC values on their own merit. The standard allows, for example, a less efficient mechanical system to be offset by a more efficient electrical system and vice versa. Another benefit of using this approach comes from the mechanical and electrical engineer having to collaborate by going through an iterative, synergistic design process.

    Publishing ASHRAE 90.4-2016 is a watershed moment—to date, there has not been a code-ready, technically robust approach to characterize mechanical and electrical system designs to judge conformance to an energy standard. This is no small feat, considering that data center mechanical/electrical systems can have a wide variety of design approaches, especially as the data center industry continues to develop more efficient ITE equipment requiring novel means of power and cooling. And since ASHRAE 90.4 is a separate document from ASHRAE 90.1, as computer technology changes, the process to augment/revise ASHRAE 90.4 should be less difficult because they are two separate documents. While certainly not perfect, ASHRAE 90.4 is a major step along the path of ensuring energy efficiency in data centers.

    Bill Kosik is a senior mechanical engineer at exp in Chicago. Kosik is a member of the Consulting-Specifying Engineer editorial advisory board.

    View the original article and related content on Consulting Specifying Engineer


    News and Updates For Houston Competency Center

    UPDATE: The Houston facility is once again operational and ready to support our customers and the local Houston community in rebuilding efforts currently underway.

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to our employees, customers and the people of the Southeast region of Texas and in particular to those in the Houston area, as they deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

    We are aware of the unprecedented destruction caused by the hurricane on Houston with more rain expected, and are evaluating its impact on order fulfillment out of the Houston Oil & Gas Competency Center. We currently do not have any updates on the state of the facility.

    Rittal will do everything we can to maintain the continuity of supply. Shipments may be fulfilled from our Urbana, Ohio manufacturing facility, distribution centers or channel partners. However, we must expect, due to the severity of the damage in the Houston area, that there may be some delay in shipments.

    If you have any questions on the status of your order, we ask that you reach out to our customer service line at (800) 477-4000 from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM EST. You may also contact us via email at


    All Rittal Climate Products Receive UL Certification

    Schaumburg, IL – August 23, 2017— Rittal North America (, the world’s largest enclosure manufacturer and a leader in thermal management of electrical, electronic and IT equipment, has received the US and Canadian Listing Certification (FTTA/FTTA7) with Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Rittal climate products, from the energy-efficiency Blue e air conditioners to the air-to-water heat exchangers and filter fans will be UL Listed.

    “All Rittal products are highly engineered and rigorously tested,” said Eric Corzine, Product Manager, Climate Control for Rittal North America. “The UL and FTTA certifications for our climate control products ensures our distributor and customers that our products have been evaluated at the highest industry standards.”

    UL drives global research and standards to continually advance and meet ever-evolving product safety, performance and interoperability needs. UL’s global network of technical experts and state-of-the-art facilities, along with our longstanding relationships with regulatory authorities, partner laboratories and industry technical leaders, helps manufacturers gain the compliance credentials they need to compete in a more complex global supply chain.

    These UL Listed products can now be installed without any additional evaluation, increasing efficiency and lowering costs for end users and manufacturers alike.

    For complete details on our UL Listed products and the entire line of Rittal electrical enclosures, visit


    About Rittal

    Rittal North America, headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois, is the U.S. subsidiary of Rittal GmbH & Co. KG and manufactures the world’s leading industrial and IT enclosures, racks and

    accessories, including climate control and power management systems for industrial, data center, outdoor and hybrid applications.


    Three keys to food and beverage manufacturing compliance

    In the U.S., federal law states food manufacturers, not the Food and Drug Administration, are responsible for ensuring that products are safe, sanitary and properly labelled. However, pathogens or contaminants can make their way into the products from any step of the supply chain.

    According to a PwC report, hundreds of companies have recalled products over the past five years, and the cost of these recalls ranged from $10 million to $30 million each.

    In the food and beverage industry, there are three key areas each organization must monitor to remain compliant: employee training, processes and procedures and sequencing and scheduling.

    1. Employee training

    Training and certifications are central to compliance as employee records are one of the first things an auditor will ask to see. There are a vast number of training courses in the food and beverage industry, each one having a direct effect on which jobs employees can carry out. For example, hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) to identify and mitigate against hazards during manufacturing, or Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA) preventive controls for human and animal food.

    During production, skill-based workforce scheduling is critical to putting the right person with the right skills on the right job to meet regulatory standards. Whole production operations can be threatened if there aren’t any employees on the factory floor with quality assurance skills. Additionally, time-sensitive jobs can be held up with staffing resource issues, potentially jeopardizing food safety. An enterprise application for food manufacturing must therefore encompass not only production and supply chain functions, but skills and training credentials too. Supporting ERP solutions should, at the very least, allow organizations to keep track of employee skills and certifications as well as management training.

    Solutions with resource management capabilities can model processing schedules based on certifications and skills prior to production. This prevents an employee from being scheduled to work on a particular job if they do not have the right qualifications. This enables manufacturers to ensure they are covered from both an availability and a training standpoint, thus maximizing efficiency and minimizing compliance risk.

    Because of the visibility to information the enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution provides, lot codes can be traced back in a matter of minutes to show auditors that the correct staff were assigned to a job or project. With this level of visibility into staff training, there is the added value of manufacturers realizing where there may be skill shortages within the organization, providing the platform for decision-makers to invest in training programs or recruitment to fill the gap.

    2. Processes and procedures

    In compliance terms, the first thing a manufacturer must do is set out a declaration of what it wants to achieve. This involves clearly documenting its processes and procedures to reflect industry recommendations.

    This process is complicated by the ‘alphabet soup’ of compliance certifications and regulatory bodies in the food and beverage industry, including the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Processes and the HACCP management Safe Quality Food, and many others. At their core, these various regulations and guidance share similar requirements, but no two are the same. Just because a process meets one set of requirements doesn’t mean it will meet another.

    Many manufacturers still use paper-based records for processes and procedures. With ingredients part of international supply chains, drilling down into a recipe to find a faulty batch of ingredients that entered a product can take a significant amount of time. It’s generally mandated that to ensure compliance, manufacturers must keep five years’ worth of records—that’s a lot of paper for even a moderate-sized facility.

    In this instance, a distribution of what could be 100,000 products becomes a logistical nightmare. Due to the lack of clarity provided by paper-based process management, a much larger safety net must be cast, making a recall even more wide-spread and expensive than necessary. An auditor will ask this to be done live, taking a large amount of time and staff to provide an answer. That delay can send up a red flag to an auditor and expose a manufacturer to additional risk.

    Organizations can benefit from better compliance by implementing ERP software that encompasses and provides visibility into the entire product lifecycle. If this ERP product also includes traceability initiatives, manufacturers can realize substantial efficiencies as lot codes are issued right from the raw material receiving process and are automatically updated by the system as soon as the material moves through each stage of the supply chain.

    Manufacturers running a variety of point solutions for supply chain management and manufacturing, or those running poorly-designed ERP products, can face logistical problems when identifying the source of a contaminant or quality problem. This data visibility provided by the ERP solution gives organizations the downstream capability to identify materials at the bottom of the manufacturing process, as well as upstream traceability to view every touch point in the manufacturing and distribution process. What used to take days with paper-based documents becomes minutes with this level of traceability.

    3. Sequencing and scheduling

    The sequencing of batches is critical if manufacturers are to reduce the potential for allergen contamination. To reduce this risk, manufacturers need to establish the correct sequences for each batch across each machine so that types of products are grouped in order of potential contamination—from non-allergen, to milk, to peanuts. However, lean scheduling efficiency also needs to be factored in. For example, two different sequences may yield the same product, but based on the clean-out time between ingredients, the time taken to complete the sequences could differ substantially.

    Incorrect machine scheduling can be dangerous, especially without the required clean-out processes—an example of this being a product that runs after a recipe including peanuts. If that product is labelled as allergen-free and the clean-out wasn’t performed properly, the potential exists to introduce peanut residue into that product.

    An ERP system for food and beverage organizations should tell the production planner exactly how much time is required for a specific process, including cleaning during batch changeover and maintenance, depending on the order of the production schedule. This enables planners to define the labor pool, tools and work orders required to properly execute an equipment clean-out or schedule maintenance. Planners can accurately assess how long it will take to run the processes and safely manufacture the final product.

    This opens up better opportunities for food safety standards because the maintenance and workforce scheduling aligns the right engineers and staff with the right machine at the right time. Equipment remains well maintained and operated by the correct staff—saving the organization time, money and, crucially, helping them remain compliant.

    In the complex regulatory environment of the food and beverage industry, it is crucial to consider how your ERP system can work for your organization to ensure ongoing compliance. With no two compliance certifications or factory requirements identical, supporting systems need to provide a comprehensive and flexible tool set to allow you to mitigate risk and streamline compliance efforts.

    Mike Lorbiecki is vice president of sales for process manufacturing for IFS North America.

    View the original article and related content on Plant Engineering