What is our primary use case?
The use case for PredictPulse is because of the critical function of the UPS's and the scarcity of manpower. Although we have a SCADA system, we wanted a monitoring system for the UPS's that will give us much information about their status, which would aid in quick maintenance, given the reduced manpower available.
We plan to install 25 Eaton 93PM UPS's. These UPS's are primarily used for emergency lighting and data notification in an emergency. They also operate our communication radios during an emergency.
This is our second generation of Eaton UPS's. Since the system opened we have had Eaton units and we're now replacing those obsolete units with the newer model UPS's. That means we are confident in the performance of the Eaton product because of our experience with it for the past 15 to 20 years.
Our units are deployed in passenger stations in the underground commuter rail system for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
How has it helped my organization?
PredictPulse reduces the manpower needed to do maintenance because the technical data presented in the reports save precious time. We can do less maintenance, from every three months to every six months. So we're saving on critical manpower resources by the monitoring of the unit.
It will save me money on manpower needed for maintenance, as we will be able to maintain these units with a smaller staff because of the PredictPulse data reporting feature. These things were just put online three months ago so an evaluation of the hours saved is still premature. The rail system covers an eight to 10 mile area and for maintenance we have to travel each site to look at each unit, work on it, and then travel back. All that time would be charged to maintenance. We will be saving significant amount of hours, cumulatively over time, because we won't have to travel to the sites. The PredictPulse software will be reporting the status of the units back to us, remotely.
We're a 24/7 operation and my staff does maintenance 24/7. Anytime a unit is taken offline for maintenance, I'm notified, anytime of the day and any day of the week. PredictPulse notifies me remotely what's happening. That gives me proof and demonstrates that I can have confidence in knowing that this critical piece of equipment is always available for its purpose and critical use.
What is most valuable?
The most valuable feature is the instant notification, remotely via email, of any change in the status of the UPS, which is important. The UPS's provide critical control functions, such as emergency lighting and operation of emergency communications for passengers, and operation of critical radio systems which are needed for communication between Metro and the local Sheriff department.
I receive notification from the call center when a unit's critical function has been lost. When a unit was on battery, I was notified multiple times by the call center. Of course, it was planned maintenance; we do testing and as part of that we do have to take them offline and test them for 90 minutes. We have a city ordinance which requires all emergency systems to be tested annually for 90 minutes. When we perform this test, I get a notification from Eaton's call center that the unit is offline. That makes me confident that the performance of the PredictPulse software is as desired.
Currently, we're in the one-year warranty period offered, so Eaton is hosting PredictPulse on their cloud. But one of the great functions of it is that we still get a local email notification of the statuses of the UPS's, in addition to the dashboard in the cloud which provides a lot more clarity about the information collected and monitored. That information includes things like battery voltages, battery life, installation history, and current voltage in power flow to the load. Those detailed data are really critical to see the status of UPS and make sure it's functioning and healthy in all phases and that all the data and levels are within the proper parameters. The dashboard they provide is a very informative tool for monitoring the health of the UPS.
You can also program a report at the frequency you choose — I chose a monthly frequency — and get a report from each unit describing the average performance throughout that time period. That's very critical because we can use that as a maintenance tool to monitor the health of the unit.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using Eaton PredictPulse for about three months.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability of PredictPulse is really good. I have had no problem with stability.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It scales. We have plans to add several units to the account. Each one has to be individually activated. We intend to get all 25 units on it.
The scalability is there even more so because we have other units from other projects. I plan to recommend putting the communication card in them for PredictPulse, in the future, so we stay on the same platform.
How are customer service and technical support?
Their technical support is very good. Contacting them is good and they respond in a reasonable amount of time. And the solutions are implemented in a reasonable amount of time.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
The system we had before was a local monitoring system but we never really had a monitoring system for the UPS's before now.
The primary reason we went with PredictPulse was to have optimum maintenance of the system with minimal manpower because. Manpower resources are scarce in the agency. It's difficult to hire a large number of people and it's also difficult to get skilled people because you have to be trained in the skills for maintaining UPS's. You have to train the staff for each model. There is a cost saving there because now I don't have to train people because the PredictPulse software, along with the service that Eaton offers, will save me maintenance and training.
How was the initial setup?
The setup is really easy. Eaton's technical department was really helpful in teaching us how to set things up and to register each unit.
The setup of PredictPulse took about a week because we had internal problems with our network. As a government agency we're required by law to isolate and set up firewalls and have a lot of security. All of our networks are highly secured from the outside. Each new network has to be separated from the others. That makes it very difficult because there is so much security in the design of the system, because the government doesn't want cross-contamination, or if one system goes down that it doesn't bring down the enterprise system. PredictPulse needs internet access to talk to the computer and all that has to be isolated in its own network and firewall. I have a big challenge, internally, setting it up and it's in process at this time. It's very difficult to get permission to get outside access to the world. It's not PredictPulse's problem, it's just the way we're required by government to operate.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
I have UPS service contracts with Liebert and Vertive and Eaton's prices are comparable.
The cost is reasonable compared to the risk if our systems were to go down because we are a public agency and we want to reduce the risk to our clients who need that service if there's an emergency.
For the first year, there is no cost to PredictPulse, with the warranty. In future years, we'll have to enter into a contract for professional service and parts supply.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We did not evaluate other options because the product requires Eaton software. I don't know of a third-party that would be compatible with the Eaton communication part.
What other advice do I have?
The lesson I've learned is that it's a dependable solution to the maintenance and operational requirements for the UPS's that we have.
In our company I use PredictPulse as the manager and my team of inspectors maintain the system. Ultimately, there will be about 10 people who will have access to it, when it's finished.
I plan to use the PredictPulse mobile app, but at this time, since we are just in the beginning stages and we have only installed three units so far out of the 25, I haven't started using it. I will use it as soon as we have finished setting up.
In terms of proactive parts replacement, at this time we are still in the first phase of the use of this product and we are under warranty. After the warranty phase is up, we'll go into agreement regarding parts replacement, because we don't stock any parts on hand at the company. We have parts agreements in other contracts with Liebert and other companies, because we have other models. We will be making an agreement for parts and service because we don't have trained staff on hand for the UPS's.
I would rate PredictPulse at nine out of 10. I'm still new to it but I was able to go in there and do some configuration and I liked that feature, that functionality, that it allows you to do some of the configurations yourself. Everything is automatic.
I haven't studied the whole UPS market and all that's available. I'm a very busy person. I'm running a department of 100-plus people and a lot of capital projects. My background is a degree in electrical engineering and I've been at my company for 30 years. For 28 of the 30 years, I've been writing specifications for batteries and UPS's. I analyze them. I do calculations on battery capacities. So I understand UPS's and their function. Because I didn't do a full market study I wouldn't give it a 10.
I know there are many other UPS companies but all my Eaton products have performed well for the duration of their lives. I don't have problems with Eaton products, except that they're proprietary. I've had people trained on Eaton products and there is a learning curve for getting to know these devices.