In Chinese philosophy, the concept of Yin and Yang is used to describe opposite forces which are interconnected to create balance in the world. Life is full of these natural balances; dark and light, water and fire, life and death.

Operating in a fiercely competitive industry means that data centres are under enormous financial pressures to keep operating costs low, and in this environmentally conscious era, they’re also under pressure to minimise their environmental impact. Energy efficiency is clearly the key to responding effectively to these pressures, but there’s a problem.

Every data centre has backup generating capacity. Most hope that they will never need it but know that should the situation arise, they must be able to power the data centre. Despite this, how many data centres know how much power they really use? Are they measuring power accurately enough? Do they have the right level of maintenance and spares to maintain their generating capacity? Mark Hirst of Cannon Technologies looks at the dangers of underestimating power requirements and what is needed to ensure generators are fit for purpose.

The Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) market has been shaped by the significant increase in IT capacity, pressures to ‘go green’, need to reduce operating costs and requirements to use space more effectively. With the UK storing approximately £24bn worth of data, UPS solutions have become an essential part of business infrastructures and manufacturers have had to continuously embrace new technologies in order to keep up with the fast and ever changing demands of these critical back-up power systems.

Data centres consume about 100 times more power than an office building of the same size. Valuable electrical energy is lost in the individual components when AC (alternating current) is converted into DC (direct current) and vice-versa. In a project for Green, a leading ITC (information technology and computing) service provider in Switzerland, ABB has shown how a DC power supply can help a data centre cut energy consumption by 10-20%.

The recent publication of an updated Code of Practice for smoke and heat alarms in housing highlights worrying contradictions with some Building Regulations. But, at the same time, new requirements for carbon monoxide alarms are creating opportunities for electrical contractors, as Gerald Jones - Kidde business manager, Professional and Fire Brigade Channels – explains

Beama, the trade association which represents the interests of the leading manufacturers in the electrical power, energy and installation sectors has recently commissioned a Best Practice Guide to Cable Ladder and Cable Tray systems which also includes Channel support systems. Keith Smith, Beama’s deputy director – Installation Sector, outlines the Guide’s aims to promote a whole system approach to cable management

The economic downturn has meant firms or individuals who previously might have been comfortable carrying out work in niche markets, have had to seek out opportunities elesewhere. Firms are diversifying into into new areas and learning new skills as they look to offer customers a complete solution. A switch to greener thinking also means customers’ demands have changed – and contractors have had to adapt

It is important those involved in lighting design don’t overlook the ‘basics’ in favour of opting for the latest technologies. Stephen Woodnutt of Delmatic explains why technology should be used to enhance good lighting design

Variable-speed drives have long been known for their abilities to improve the control of industrial processes. Today’s drives offer sophisticated functions that make them an ever more vital element in the drive for efficient processes. John Guthrie looks at these functions and how they are helping companies transform their production

Unfilled polycarbonate is a tough, transparent engineering thermoplastic which offers very high impact strength and high modulus of elasticity. It also has a high heat deflection temperature and absorbs very little moisture. These properties, plus good low frequency and high voltage insulating characteristics, make polycarbonate a prime material for electrical and electronic components. Its strength, impact resistance and transparency (unfilled grades only) also make it an ideal material for certain transparent structural applications. Nicolaas Hermans, Peter Jackson and Nicolas Joly from Styron Europe explains

There’s now a new and far easier way of making capacitance and dissipation factor (also referred to power factor or tan delta) measurements on power transformers and other high power items of electrical plant, as Matz Ohlen, director of transformer testing at Megger, explains

Transformer manufacturers, test laboratories, power utilities and many others have a regular requirement to accurately measure capacitance and dissipation factor at high voltages that is at, or even above the working voltage of the equipment. These tests are performed, for example, as part of the quality control procedure when new materials are investigated, for the general evaluation of electrical insulation and equipment, and also during the final testing of items like instrument transformers or rotating plant windings.