Guaranteeing security and continuity for a Zentrys-managed data center

Zentrys designs, develops and manages data centers. For over ten years, the company has been taking great care of mission-critical infrastructure for clients in the Netherlands and abroad 

“For data centers, preventing failure is one of the most important issues,” explains Kees Loer, Zentrys partner and co-owner. “Whenever a process or the internet fails, companies, but also hospitals and emergency services for example, face signifcant problems. The critical role data centers play will not be changing in the future. From Internet of Things to robotisation and blockchain technology: data governs our future. Therefore, a data center should never go down, not even during maintenance or repairs. This is already taken into account during the design phase, for example by ensuring power supplies are redundant.”

Arc scan based on protection systems
Identify energy levels
Identify PPE & hazards
Determine proper selectivity

The challenge

“Because we never know what equipment a customer will connect to a data center managed by us, monitoring and measurement are essential. This equipment just might have a major impact on the electrical installation. In the past, HyTEPS examined electrical installation harmonics in a data center we manage in Groningen, among other things. Last year, HyTEPS also carried out arc flash and selectivity studies for us at this location. We wanted to know whether there was sufcient selectivity in relation to arc flashes. The current NEN 3140 standard requires this, too. We wanted to be sure that the installation would be safe when any work was being done, and whether it was compliant with the standard."

Vera Verbakel Sales & Relation Manager at HyTEPS and contact for this project: “A data center doesn’t only house servers, but also large cooling installations. As soon as one part fails, another part is immediately switched on. If equipment is not switched off properly in an unsafe situation, dangerous situations can arise. Determining the optimum selectivity is a very meticulous process as equipment should not be shut down too quickly - safety and availability must be guaranteed.” 

Objective

  • Recording and mapping the electrical installation, checking supplied data, creating a model of the data center’s electrical installation, placing measuring equipment, analyzing data, and providing reports and recommendations.
  • Carrying out a RI&E in the feld of arc flashes to guarantee continuity, reduce risks and make it possible to take the right protective measures.
  • Identify energy levels and required PPE based on standards and identify unsafe distribution boards and potential hazards.
  • Determine correct selectivity to allow the installation to shut down at exactly the right moment, but without causing the upstream installation to fail. Selectivity is also a NEN1010 requirement for both overcurrent and earth leakage protection

Solution

“The main request was an arc flash scan based on the current electrical installation protection system,” explains Arnau Sans, Lead Engineer at HyTEPS. “Data center staff regularly have to open cabinets to switch fuses and breakers on and off and carry out other work. Of course, they want to be sure that they can do their work safely. In many installations, shortcircuit calculations are used to defne protection systems. However, arc flashes completely change this and selectivity problems are to be expected as a result. Collecting information related to an electrical installation is always a challenge. Everything must be documented thoroughly, including photographs. Depending on the installation size, this can take some time. You have to follow the steps exactly.” 

Results

Kees: “HyTEPS built a digital model of the installation and went to work with simulations based on their measurements and verifed data. Based on the results, we know exactly where we need to make adjustments and we are already working on this. The arc flash scan also helps determine what personal protective equipment is needed. More importantly, it helps keep dangerous situations to a minimum.” “Another advantage of an arc flash report is the fact that it provides input when specifying components,” Kees continues. “You also gain insight into the consequences of phenomena such as short circuits: what will fail and what will remain operational? Harmonic pollution can result in strange failures that are difcult to detect, so the earlier you spot potential problems the better. You can think up scenarios that are important to your own industry and carry out tests based on these.”

"The great thing about working with HyTEPS is the fact that you can delve very deeply into the subject matter and achieve good results together. I really like that."

Kees Loer, Zentrys partner en co-owner