Emerson upgrades data center thermal controls

Emerson says the new Liebert iCOM-S control offers a unique way to harmonize and optimize thermal system performance across the data center.

Emerson upgrades data center thermal control system
Emerson upgrades data center thermal control system

Emerson Network Power (NYSE: EMR) has upgraded its Liebert iCOM thermal controls platform, which the company says its "designed to offer data center managers higher energy efficiency, greater protection and deeper, actionable insight at the cooling unit and thermal management system levels." Now available in North America, the next generation of Emerson's Liebert iCOM unit and supervisory system controls "comprise an easy-to-use infrastructure optimization system for monitoring and managing the data center environment, and controlling the operation of data center thermal management systems," says the company.

At the cooling unit level, the Liebert iCOM unit control comes factory-installed on certain Emerson Network Power data center thermal management systems, and also is available as a retrofit for existing systems. The company says the unit's intuitive, full-color touch screen simplifies operation, saves time and reduces human error. The new system is designed to eliminate single points of failure to protect the cooling unit, in the event that adverse conditions arise at the system level. Self-optimizing features address events before they become problems. For instance, if refrigerant pressures were to approach unsafe thresholds, the Liebert iCOM unit control would lower fan speed and compressor capacity to avoid a unit shutdown.

At the supervisory level, Emerson says the new Liebert iCOM-S control offers a unique way to "harmonize and optimize" thermal system performance across the data center, gain quick access to actionable data, and automate system diagnostics and trending. The system employs machine-to-machine communication and advanced algorithms that utilize data from rack inlet sensors, pressure sensors and supply air temperatures to optimize airflow and temperature for the highest protection and efficiency.

“The Liebert iCOM controls let managers protect, harmonize and optimize thermal systems more intuitively than ever before,” comments John Peter Valiulis, vice president, North America marketing, thermal management, Emerson Network Power. “Its most powerful capabilities are in protecting the data center at the cooling unit level and in auto-tuning the multiple thermal system components across the entire data center, operating them in tandem in the most efficient and reliable manner. This ‘teamwork mode’ can result in cooling energy savings of up to 50 percent.”

Significantly, the pre-programmed teamwork modes of the Liebert iCOM-S platform prevents units from working at cross-purposes, and allows the system as a whole to adapt to changes in facility-level demand as efficiently as possible, to improve efficiency and availability and reduce system wear and tear. For instance, four data center cooling units with variable capacity fans in teamwork mode can operate 56 percent more efficiently than four fixed speed units operating autonomously, notes Emerson. Teamwork mode can be used in small and large data centers, creating a self-healing infrastructure that detects adverse events and resolves issues before problems arise.

Emerson says the Liebert iCOM-S can also enable up to 20-30 percent lower installation costs by streamlining setup and reducing or eliminating the need for custom integration to building management systems. The system can automatically detect and configure up to 4,800 wireless rack sensors as they are added, removed or changed, providing a single point for binding room sensors to cooling unit control groups. It also lets managers easily import floor plans for quick setup and customization, and is pre-configured for simple building management system (BMS) integration. The unit's large format, touch-screen graphical interface may also significantly reduce the time it takes to configure the cooling system, change set points, identify adverse events and monitor system thresholds.

The Liebert iCOM control may be supported by optional on-site control optimization service and 24-hour tech support with a guaranteed 4-hour service response time for contract customers. For more information, visit www.EmersonNetworkPower.com.

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