Securing, controlling and anticipating energy consumption, Wago
Wago’s intelligent automated systems designed for data centres
Seen as high-security data vaults, data centres are impenetrable bunkers. While security has traditionally been the priority issue for the first data centres installed in France, recent months have started to show the importance of reducing their electricity consumption, as the cost of energy is skyrocketing. Wago, a German family-owned company founded in 1951, is the inventor of spring-loaded connectors and notably of the first modular input/output system. The company also offers connected automated devices for the management and control of data centres, enabling them to improve their energy efficiency.
Interview with Pascal Tigréat,
Head of Automation Department
« By retrieving data from RTE (Ecowatt), the connected tools are able to determine sequences for reducing electricity consumption.
Security is essential for proper functioning of data centres. How can we contribute to this?
Data Centres are energy-intensive, hyper-sensitive installations that are subject to variations in temperature and humidity, where security is a priority. Their electronic components require a great deal of cooling in order to operate in good conditions. Electrical connection faults, which are the main source of electrical fires in France, tend to occur in winter when electricity demand is higher. The spring-loaded connector invented by Wago eliminates screw connections, and therefore avoids potential sparks that could result from expanding copper. Planning an electrical installation with these spring-loaded connectors immediately improves the overall safety of the installation. Since electrical systems do not like water (which can of course cause installations to trip and impair their safety) the programmable automated controllers developed by Wago help to detect rising temperatures and the presence of water due to leaks or condensation in cooling systems. The automated controllers can also be used to detect presence or intrusion, or to control access to the data centre.
Data centres have evolved since their creation in the early 2000s. What are the priorities today ?
Data centres have become increasingly closed to physical human presence. Maintenance must now be carried out remotely via software that communicates with the servers. Wago has developed automated products dedicated to this, equipped with electronics specifically programmed for certain tasks, which allow remote resetting, as well as temperature reduction of air conditioning, or encrypted security. These controllers can now also play a role in monitoring the power supply, consumption and control of small energy generators. For these, it is possible to remotely monitor fuel levels or to initiate start-up sequences to ensure that they are functioning correctly. These connected tools are capable of detecting a malfunction and determining its source in less than ten milliseconds.
Can these connected tools reduce energy consumption?
Electricity is vital for a data centre. Wago has developed « fanless » connected tools, whose energy consumption is very low, therefore limiting temperature dispersion in the installation and thus minimising the need for additional cooling. Furthermore, our controllers run heat recovery systems, which can be stored, transformed and then injected into other networks. The tools developed by Wago are also able to retrieve information from RTE (Ecowatt) [French transmission system operator] to identify hours when consumption should be reduced to avoid tensions on the electricity distribution network, and they can automatically apply a reduction in air-conditioning within the data centre. An increase of 2 to 3°C in the temperature of certain rooms for a few hours does not affect the equipment. The data centre will cool down a little more in advance of the period, in order to play on the inertia and reduce consumption during peaks. This specialised approach was developed by Wago 15 years ago, but until now data centres had no interest in it: the cost of electricity was very low. Now, with rising electricity prices, this solution has become essential to save energy and reduce costs.