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Eaton: Leading the Charge at the Edge

[Sponsored] Eaton's new lithium-ion battery-based UPS features longer battery life, lighter weight, easier installation and virtualization capabilities. By ChannelPro and Eaton

Eaton has a message for channel partners and their customers: The power management company is going to rock your world with the new 5P lithium-ion rackmount UPS that rolled out 3Q17.

How so? With longer battery life, lighter weight, easier installation and virtualization capabilities. Plus, Eaton is so confident about its breakthrough lithium-ion battery-based product, it is offering an all-inclusive five-year warranty.

"From a battery standpoint, the market hasn't been disrupted in 20 years," says Jeff Kennedy, Product Manager. As the cost of lithium-ion batteries has dropped, getting closer to par with the price of lead-acid batteries standard in UPS offerings, Kennedy says the time was right to bring a lithium-ion-based UPS to market as a value-added offering.

The development effort was three years in the making. A key aspect was determining the proper chemistries to utilize in combination with the battery management system (BMS), Kennedy explains. For Eaton, he says, safety was the number one priority. "What really differentiates us is the testing and validation that we've placed on determining optimal battery chemistries for UPS applications. We've focused on selecting chemistries that are generally accepted as the safest options in combination with being stringent about battery management systems and integrating them with the UPS to monitor and manage the charging of the battery system itself."

In addition, Eaton worked to obtain all the safety certifications required for all forms of shipping the battery, as well as recovering it from a customer if there is an issue. "We have everything in place to take care of customers," Kennedy says.

The Value Add

A lithium-ion battery provides a number of value-added benefits over the standard battery in today's UPS offerings:

Overall lifespan. Battery replacement for a standard UPS is typically three to four years versus eight to ten for a lithium-ion battery. Shelf life is also longer. "We charge the battery before sending it to the customer, but if the customer has it sitting in a box for six months, it will still function properly when plugged in," Kennedy says.

Alignment with the IT refresh cycle. IT equipment is typically refreshed every five to eight years. With lithium-ion's longer life span, you can sync power management with your IT refresh, saving the cost of mid-cycle labor. Particularly for any type of edge computing environment or remote site, says Kennedy, "it's a 'set it and forget it' value proposition."

Faster recharge, greater resiliency. After an initial outage, a lithium-ion battery recharges faster than a standard UPS. "Say there's a weather event. With lithium-ion you can recharge in four hours, so resiliency is much better. You're back to 100 percent runtime if another storm comes through," Kennedy explains.

In addition, Eaton's 5P lithium-ion rackmount UPS has an integrated BMS that keeps tabs on power status, charge status, battery cycles and temperature.

Kennedy says feedback from the initial beta testers has been incredibly positive. "We've gotten the most kudos for recovery time on the recharge, and also the weight, which is about 10 pounds lighter than the lead-acid option for the 5P 1U UPS. As we scale and build out the portfolio with larger products, this will be a big benefit from a maneuverability standpoint."

The Channel Advantage

For channel partners, Eaton's new offering is an opportunity to move up the value chain and capitalize on higher up-front margin for lithium-ion UPS offerings. It also provides an opportunity to have a conversation about power management from a total cost of ownership perspective with their customers.

"People are very interested and intrigued," Kennedy says. "Nothing's really happened in the industry that has provided this kind of resiliency and excitement around being able to do more with new types of battery technology."

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