The Dynamics of Erratic Power Supply

The Dynamics of Erratic Power Supply

The growing demand for continuous power supply, coupled with major government initiatives, Make in India and Digital India, are anticipated to drive the Indian UPS market.

Healthcare continues to make enormous strides technologically. One can see these advancements everywhere from wearable technology monitoring a patient’s fitness to startups looking to improve the healthcare industry. This progress is also evident throughout healthcare centers, from hospitals to clinics. The technology surrounding medical equipment to assist and examine patients has also come a long way in recent times. Medical equipment, from ventilators to MRIs, gas analyzers to centrifuges, hematology analyzers to diagnostic instruments, have all seen strong advances for both patients and doctors alike.

Given how interconnected many of these innovations are, it is no surprise that many hospitals and healthcare centers have integrated them into tethered systems that work together to power critical functions. For example, many healthcare facilities rely on building systems such as fire alarms and closed circuit television to monitor their facilities, which are also connected to emergency services such as the fire department. To function properly, these systems must remain at the right temperature through cooling, or else they risk overheating.

Data centers are another area in healthcare where attention must be paid to maintenance in order to sustain robust operations. The data centers used by healthcare organizations for storing patient records, medical records, and data processing applications are vital in the daily operations of a health center, which depend on energy-reliant equipment such as servers and routers to function properly. In extreme conditions, data centers in the healthcare sector require a strong contingency power system to keep them running. Add to the fact that these data centers consume mass quantities of energy, and already sustain many organizational transactions, and the ability to ensure these are as dependable and energy efficient as possible becomes paramount.

Consider, also, that healthcare facilities require reliable power to operate numerous critical medical care devices. MRI equipment, CT scanners, X-ray systems, gas analyzers, ultrasound equipment, and imaging devices are all potential candidates for a UPS installation to ensure their operational performance. Additionally, high-end advanced diagnostic systems require large UPS systems to provide adequate backup.

Given all these interconnected systems, an interruption to power delivery at a hospital for even just a few seconds can disrupt thousands of interdependent operations. Aside from being a jarring experience for patients, a disruption to the power supply at a hospital can lead to equipment malfunction, system corruption, hardware damage, and data loss.

A UPS is critical in the event of a power failure at a hospital or a health clinic – a nightmare scenario for patients, doctors, and families. Under most circumstances, a hospital losing power could be the difference between life and death for any number of patients who are reliant on its systems functioning at optimum levels.

Power problems may create operational or image-quality issues with CT scanners, for example. MRI is one of the critical medical systems that require high-quality power to operate and provide reliable and consistent imaging performance. A major power failure at a hospital could also open up the organization and its partners to legal scrutiny. Claims of negligence and wrongful death could potentially spiral into costly lawsuits, crippling the entire organization.

This creates an alarming future prospect for hospitals, which are expected to be highly operational under extreme conditions. Given the reliance of hospitals and clinics on electricity to operate, the need for robust power solutions has never been greater. And when power is lost – whether due to storms, heat waves, tornados, or more – the health of thousands of patients is thrown into jeopardy.

In recent years, UPS systems with integrated flywheel energy storage have disrupted the health and safety market and are actively reducing the healthcare industry’s dependence on VRLA batteries, but widespread adoption has been slow due to the risk-averse nature of hospital administrators.

Selecting the right UPS system is paramount, especially with patients’ lives on the line. Each hospital’s critical power requirements are unique, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but here are four main factors to consider when selecting a UPS.

Total cost of ownership. Battery-based UPS systems have long been the industry standard; however, the operating expenses of these units can be quite high. In order to function properly, batteries need to be kept at an ambient temperature of 77F, so they must be housed in special air-conditioned and well-ventilated rooms. Additionally, batteries must be maintained quarterly and replaced every four to eight years. While this preventative maintenance ensures the batteries are working, human error is the leading cause of site failures.

A number of factors go into calculating total cost of ownership (TCO) for a UPS product, including initial cost and installation, energy losses based on product efficiency and cooling requirements, service and maintenance costs, and battery replacement costs. For facilities where budget constraints exist, flywheel-based UPS may be a better choice due to its high energy efficiency, reduced cooling needs, and permanent energy storage, which does not require replacement every few years.

System performance. Like all products, there is no point in purchasing something if it does not meet the demands of the facility’s applications. Healthcare facilities need a UPS system that can handle step loads when diagnostic imaging equipment is in use. Product specification sheets from vendors may only cover the system’s performance in standard operating modes, so be sure to research the UPS’s ability to handle overloads and step loads without going to bypass. Ask industry peers about the UPS products they use. Put simply, does the UPS work when called upon or do you run the risk of dropping a critical load due to the product’s inability to manage large swings in voltage?

Runtime. On-site backup generators can keep a facility operational for as long as they have fuel, but can take up to 15 seconds to start and assume the load. Historically, several minutes of UPS runtime was preferred, but with the recent advancements in backup generator technology, longer ride-through time is no longer needed or advisable for cost-conscious end users.

Reliability. When called upon, a UPS system is expected to work – no questions asked. For electrical equipment, reliability is measured by how likely a product is to fail. Although a fraction of a percentage may not seem like much, it is a big gamble when patients’ lives are at stake. When considering a UPS, ask for independent, third-party reliability assessments comparing their product with competitors.

When selecting a UPS, it is important to consider all of these factors to ensure that you are purchasing and installing a system that meets your facility needs today and in the future.

Indian Market Dynamics

As India finds itself on the verge of an industrial makeover, the country is exhibiting a great demand for power supply. The weakest link in this situation, however, is that the country’s energy mix largely depends on fossil fuels. The high cost of these fossil fuels and irregularities in the supply of energy have left several industrial verticals in a lurch, bringing down their productivity by about 10 percent every day.

These dynamics of the energy market have created a huge stir amongst manufacturers and industry honchos to seek smooth power supply solutions. Citing these reasons, Transparency Market Research states that the Indian regenerative uninterruptible power supply market has a huge scope in the foreseeable future.

The opportunity in the Indian regenerative UPS market will be worth 1000 crore by 2024 from 560 crore in 2016, reflecting an eight-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.7 percent. The healthcare industry held the share of 16.44 percent of the total market in 2016.

With the increase in medical device installation, the power consumption by the healthcare sector has increased. Since AC power supply grids can be extremely unreliable with frequent power quality disturbances like spikes, swells, surges, and outages, it can cripple the equipment and place the care of the patients at risk. So to reduce the risks to patients and protect medical devices from power outages, the need for UPS systems is increasing. In addition, growing demand for continuous power supply even in Tier-II and Tier-III cities, coupled  with major government initiatives, Make in India and Digital India, are anticipated to drive India UPS market over the next 5–6 years.

Despite the shining future of the India UPS market, the heavy installation costs and the capital-intensive nature of this equipment are shadowing the market. The failure to see the long-term benefits of installing UPS units, such as improving operational efficiency, are also contributing toward hampering this market from realizing its full potential. Furthermore, the undeterred entries of counterfeit UPS units into the Indian market are also preventing the possible growth of this market.


UPS systems that leverage advanced battery management (ABM) technology are expected to be more popular over UPS systems relying on trickle charging that reduces a battery’s service life by as much as 50 percent. This approach uses sensing circuitry and an innovative three-stage charging technique to extend battery service life and optimize recharge time. ABM-enabled UPSs help to improve efficiency to 99 percent and put out less heat as well, which means that the facility’s cooling costs might be simultaneously lowered.

Another alternative, modern supercapacitor solution, has a potential to provide fast discharge and a high degree of reliability compared to lead-acid batteries in storage and backup systems. They offer high-power density, fast discharge, and quicker recharging capabilities. Additionally, the technology can help avoid the costs associated with the ongoing maintenance, replacement, and disposal fees related to lead acid batteries in the near future.

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