What is our primary use case?
We get a monthly report, which is emailed to me from Eaton, with PredictPulse. We don't have software onsite. We just get the monthly report emailed to us. Then, I have the ability to use a web browser, like Microsoft Edge or Chrome, to dial into the IP address of the device and look at it.
We have 11 Eaton UPSs, which take on through controls equipment processes that basically cannot shut down. If they shut down, it gets extremely ugly, extremely quick. So, to prevent it from shutting them down, we have UPS systems which protect them and are scattered throughout our plant. It's a large physical facility, so we have 11 of them, and they are scattered throughout the plant.
The UPSs are very reliable. We're about to replace one that's 19 years-old. They've been using them longer than that, but the oldest one that we have is either a 2001 or 2003 model. However, at that difference, it's not that big a deal as far as electronic equipment goes.
The UPS, if they have a fault for any reason, it tells you. We have remote locations. Nobody goes in there on a frequent basis. So, it tells me, "Hey, you have a problem," without me having to jump in the truck (or on the bicycle) and ride over to the plant, checking them weekly or monthly, to see if they're good. I get instant analysis on things. If there is a critical fault, I know within seconds. I get an email saying, "Hey, you have a critical fault on this thing. Here is what your critical fault is." That is a huge advantage. If there are other issues that are not critical, like the temperature, that I don't need to fix immediately but do need to be fixed very soon, it gives me notice so I can get the issue resolved before we do have a power blip that shuts our process down. It provides a very valuable function, which is vital for me.
The solution has helped proactively mitigate risk of issues, such as thermal events, because they put temperature probes in all the UPS units. I get these all the time, and UPSs do not like extreme heat and neither does my other equipment that is in those rooms. So this helps me monitor the whole room. It isn't the UPS's fault that the AC went out, but it allows me to see that and notify people. People go to some of these rooms about once a month. You don't want your room at 100-plus degrees for over a month before somebody realizes it. So, it helps mitigate UPS and other issues.
How has it helped my organization?
I just got a handy dandy email telling me my control room is over temperature, which is endangering the UPS. Therefore, I know to call the HVAC guy to go out there and fix the air conditioning in that unit. It's a unit that nobody visits very often. If the air conditioner craps out, it could sit up there a couple of weeks at 140 degrees and nobody would know it. That could absolutely destroy a UPS and other equipment that is in there. I get automatic emails telling me, "Hey, this thing is at 95 degrees, and that equipment is not supposed to run at over about 75 degrees." That is a huge benefit of it right there.
Years ago, we had an issue. Somebody made a booboo. They wired a receptacle into the wrong panel. This is a receptacle that runs high energy power equipment. It would trip the UPS out. The UPS was no longer functioning because it drew so much amperage that the UPS tripped. That is not the UPS's fault. It is whomever wired it; a contractor got the wrong panel by accident. Therefore, our unit had no protection. If the power blips, even for a fraction of a second, the losses were in hundreds of thousands of dollars. We were not protected, but I got my handy dandy email that blipped, saying, "Hey, you got a fault on this thing." We kept getting faults, and I was finally able to figure out, "Hey, it's one of the contractors working with his power drill out there." We were able to figure it out because of the constant updates via email stating that, "We had a problem."
We get a lot of lightning storms. However, if the power would have blipped from a lightning storm, and the UPS had not been working, then it's an immediate six-figure loss. By having the emails coming to me, it told me the issue, then I was able to get it resolved before we lost power.
Another example: Something shorted out in our process. I didn't know what, and some people said, "Oh, this has happened several times recently." I was able to go back and look at the database, which is easy to pull up, as I can put in a date a year ago, and cycle through it really quick, and say, "No, there have been no extreme phase overloads in the last year, except the one that happened last Tuesday morning at 8:04 AM." That's helpful for me, having that database there, because I can pull and sort through to see if anything like that happened preceding the fault last Tuesday.
What is most valuable?
It tells me, "Hey, we had a problem." Last night, something happened at the power company substation, and I'm about ready to go to bed at about 10:38 PM, but I have all these emails. Uh-oh, we have power issues at the plant. I know we have power issues before they even have time to call me from the plant, and it's all over the plant. I'm going, "Okay that is the power company. That's not us." It lets us know so we can address the issue sooner rather than later.
If you're looking at power imbalances and stuff, you can look at your load, and go, "Oh, phase A is overloaded or phase B is underloaded." Then, during the shutdown, you can do stuff that balances the load more.
The main thing is just knowing ahead of time that there are issues. If the UPSs are in an office building where everybody is at, that is not that big a deal. However, when they are nearly a mile from my office and it's in a room that people very seldom go into, you have no idea and it is on a very important process. So, I get the emails, and if I need to, I can pull it up on the web browser and look at it. All of these features are very helpful.
If you have a fault, it will tell you what the fault is. Just like if you went out there remotely and looked at it. It gives you, e.g., lost source. This means I've lost my power coming into it.
The emails don't give you in-depth alarm notices, but they do give you enough. For example, if I get utility power missing, then I'm like, "Okay, that tells me, incoming power is gone." It allows us to hopefully get someone headed this way and get the issue resolved before the UPSs die and all the control systems go down.
What needs improvement?
They have redone the monthly report to make them easier to read through. They made it a little bit easier to go through and scan all of my UPSs into that report. The information is the same, but now it is easier to scan through.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using it for three or four years.
The company has been using it for a while. They were using dial up modems to dial out and indicate they had issues with stuff, then they got it hooked up to Ethernet connections. This was before I started working here.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability has been very good. I have not had any issues with bogus or bad PredictPulse stuff. We have not had any downtime with it.
We have had issues where we lost a switch, but that is not PredictPulse. That's between PredictPulse and the UPS. It is also not the UPS's fault that a switch fails.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We have three replacement units that maybe coming online by the end of the year, if nothing goes wrong or changes.
There are a couple of other people besides me who can get the emails. There just three people who look at it. Two of them really don't look at it much. Mainly, it's just me looking at it.
We have 15 units onsite. Four of them are so old they aren't sending emails. Therefore, we have 11 units that are really receiving the full PredictPulse. Hopefully, three of those will get changed out this year, then we will have 14 units sending out PredictPulse reports every month with availability and stuff. However, that is just because they are very old. It is not worth trying to make those work at this point, as it's just me looking at it. There are electricians who go and fix electrical or power issues going to these things or I call the folks to fix the HVAC. I get the emails and notices, then schedule the electrician or technician to come in and work on them. This is just a small amount of my job. It is not a major thing on our part to manage it and keep up with it.
We are adding one more new UPS. I would like to get all 16 UPSs on PredictPulse. That would be something that we would like to do. That is the only increase that we're going to do. We just need it on all the machines. As we upgrade these old obsolete units, we'll get them on the network and should have all of that resolved. Hopefully, within a year, I will have all 16 units on PredictPulse.
How are customer service and technical support?
The 24/7 monitoring is good. I don't know if it's as critical because I get the automatic emails. Typically, when they call and tell me, "Hey, you've got a problem," I'm like, "I've already have an email." However, sometimes during the middle of the night, I get an email and it doesn't wake me up. If it's critical, they will say, "Hey, you have a critical issue with this," and so I get a phone call, which does help. Because you get so many emails, you don't want it waking you up all through the night. This is its advantage, then I can look at the email and figure out what we need to do to get the issue resolved.
For example, there was an extreme overtemperature, where the switch failed, and it locked the heater in on the MCC room in the middle of the summer. Even though it was at night, the heater was running, so they called me. They woke me up on that one, and they're like, "Buddy, it's like 120 degrees in your MCC room." That's getting critical. So, we were able to get folks directed that way who shut off the heater instantly, and then we fixed the thing when the normal crew came first thing in the morning.
For other issues, we are typically already hearing from the operators. So, the 24/7 monitoring is good, but I don't know if it's absolutely critical for my application.
We have a next day service with them. If I call them today, they're here tomorrow.
The capacitors and batteries are not covered under warranty, so on the older units, they tell me, "Hey, your capacitors are near the end of their life. The UPS looks good but your capacitors are near the end of their life. You need to replace those before much longer." This is not covered under the warranty because the capacitors and batteries are a wear item, like the tires on your car. They tell me, "Hey, these need to be replaced," and that's part of the annual PM, where they come in and check stuff. They'll open it up and look at it.
One was very obvious. The guy pointed out, "Hey, look at your capacitors; they're swelling." The top is supposed to be flat, but it was rounded off. It was easy to see those things are rounded off. They were bad and swelling. Something inside had failed. They were at the end of their life and had failed. So, they were able to do that before we ever had power loss from the UPS. Part of their annual PM is having them come in, and they are proactive and checking things. However, they don't typically replace the parts before they fail.
We will do the PMs annually, which are done during our shutdown. So, we will do shutdowns and tell Eaton, "We will be shutting down this week. These are the best days for your guy to come in." That is regardless of the PredictPulse, which is more for the day-to-day maintenance. The annual PM revolves around our shutdowns because they don't want anybody messing with the UPS when everything is running. They would rather do it when everything is shutdown.
We have a PredictPulse alarm. The technician seemed to know what it was, and when I talked to the technician, and the guy was going, "Man, I am swamped. That is not going to shut you down. Reset it if you can, and could I come the next day?" I was like, "I'm fine with it." So, he didn't come the next day per contract, but I also didn't want the man in here after he had just worked 24 to 28 hours straight either. So, the issue was something that wasn't going to shut my plant down, but it better prepared him. Because he could look at it, and go, "Oh, that's not an issue that's going to blow your UPS up, and I can fix it then."
Other times, you can look at it, and go, "Hey, this is what we have," and he's going, "Oh, I don't have that board in my truck. It's going to take me 30 minutes longer to get there, but I will run by my house and get my spare parts out of the garage because that fault is 99.99 percent of the time this power board. So, I'm going to put that in my truck before I come up there." We're like two hours from his house, so the last thing I need him do is drive up here, and then go, "Oh crap, I need that board," and then turn around and have to go back. By having the PredictPulse, and it saying, "Here's what your fault is." Then, he can say, "This is what it is the vast majority of the time," and get the board before he comes up here.
It helps him prepare, rather than just going, "Okay, I've got a UPS fault." That doesn't help a whole lot. By having the PredictPulse with the errors popping up, he can say, "Yeah, that's probably this one. It will take me a little bit longer to get there, but I'm going to go by and do this on the way."
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I don't know what they did before PredictPulse here.
How was the initial setup?
It was a absolute major pain to set up in the organization, but that was not PredictPulse, that was our IT department.
If you take a new system and go online with it, it is absolutely horrible because PredictPulse has to send an email out, and it is incredibly difficult to get our IT security to allow the solution to send an email out. We hook it up with Eaton, then it's ready to go. I can immediately ping and pull it up with the web browser and look at the system, but then IT blocks it for the next three months while we try to convince them to let it out.
What about the implementation team?
The Eaton technician has the setup done before he leaves at the end of the day. It is not that big of a deal. They came in and did it for us so we did not have to do it. Even without them, I think we could have done it fairly easily.
To just add the cards to a system that did not previously have the card, the UPS tech comes in and he calls his 1-800 number for his engineering support. They talk about it a bit, and in a couple of hours or so, they have it working.
The only time I talked to their tech support was when we first were putting one in and couldn't get it to email out. That turned out it was our IT department. They gave me the information I needed to go to our IT department. I called Eaton and they directed me to their PredictPulse expert there. That's the only time we've ever had to use the PredictPulse tech support.
What was our ROI?
It has probably saved us six figures several times. That's my opinion, because it allows us to fix issues before they bite us. If there wasn't a return on investment, I would be telling them, "Hey, let's get rid of this junk. It ain't worth it." But, I think it is worth it. Having a technician look at it once a year and advise the capacitors that were bad by saying, "Here they are. They're bad." Anybody can tell they're bad when he points it out. Look at them swelling. That prevented the plant from going down. That was only one unit, but it would have been six figures if it flipped even for a fraction of a second.
PredictPulse tells me stuff like, "Hey, this room's too hot," that's going to kill my UPS. That's going to shut this thing down. It might prevent a power outage. Right there, that one's not quite as critical, but you're talking, if they go down, tens of thousands at a minimum of loss. So, it pays for itself by having the ability to know without having to walk out there all the time and look at it, because people will get busy, then they won't do their rounds and stuff getting missed. With PredictPulse, it doesn't get missed.
Someone doesn't have to waste time gliding around the plant checking the UPSs that are warped. PredictPulse notifies you which makes it so you don't have to worry about it. Nobody has to waste any time going and looking at these things. We get emails saying, "Hey, I'm not happy," for whatever reason. I really don't know how often we would need to check them if we did not have PredictPulse. They probably would want somebody walking by and looking at them weekly, so I would say that we are saving several hours for someone a week.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
It's part of our service contracts, so it's not broken down as a separate line item.
The PredictPulse is wrapped in with the PMs that are done, so it's not like, "Oh, PredictPulse has half the PM cost. We need to get rid of that." I don't know what it costs. It's just all-in-one: Here is the price to do an annual PM, including PredictPulse, having the technician respond within one day of a call.
What other advice do I have?
It provides us the information and data that we need. I would recommend it.
I had the PredictPulse mobile app on my other phone, but then they gave me a new phone and I need to get that loaded. I didn't have any issues with it at all when I used it. I was able to breeze through it with no problems. This was something they just started in the last few months. They sent me an email to put PredictPulse on my phone, and I loaded it, but then they sent me another phone and I have not loaded it. I explored it a little, but not a lot. Instead, I get the emails which tell me what's going on. That's what I rely more on than looking at the app.
I would rate this solution as a nine out of 10. I don't if it is perfect, but it is pretty close.