Project Objectives and Outcomes
If cost effective treatments to reduce heat in cabins/cabinets exist, then potentially they could be applied to:
1) Reduce heat in cabinets and potentially prolong the life of electronic assets. While the electronics that we use are rated for high temperatures, there is anecdotal evidence of assets failing due to heat stress from at least one site. By reducing heat stress of equipment there is potential to decrease downtime due to heat stress malfunction and to increase service life.
2) Reduce the temperature of cabins, resulting in running the air-conditioning less frequently and therefore reducing power consumption.
The outcome of this project will be to test approximately 3 treatments for cabinets and compare this to a control cabinet to identify the effectiveness, cost and practicality of various treatments. The project will be run by UWA as a student project and the student will undertake a quick desktop review to identify which treatments to test.
Preliminary Review of Current Status & Previous Research
One of the client’s employees suggested using a heat reflective paint to reduce the temperature of cabins and cabinets. Subsequent discussions with Electrical Asset Management Branch confirmed the problem presented by heat and the potential of heat reduction to give positive outcomes for the client.
Given that heat reflective paint is one potential solution, brainstorming identified a number of potential treatments which include:
• Heat reflective paint
• Shade structures
• Other types of cabinets with improvements in heat protection
Previous research has indicated that temperatures adjacent to the river and seaside have lower ambient temperatures. Due to the location of the UWA it will be better to conduct the assessments at the clients test facility in Jandakot.
Approach, Scope of Work & Service Provision
The initial scope for this research is to:
• perform a quick desktop analysis of potential treatments
• test treatments on cabinets and compare them to a control cabinet.
There is potential to also consider cabins as well, although only 7 of these exist and they are air conditioned, so improvements in heat would result in:
• power savings from reducing air conditioner use
• potential increase in air-conditioning equipment life due to reduced running
• less likely that critical equipment will fail in the case that the air conditioning fails due to lower temperatures.
Cabins will be considered as part of the project, but at the moment are an optional scope item due to the need to get the cabinet proposal approved in time to run a summer 2020 project (e.g. peak temperatures are in January and February).
The client has briefly discussed a research methodology with UWA and we are currently thinking:
• Run a trial over hottest months of summer (eg January & February 2020)
• The client to supply in the order of 4 identical cabinets at its cost for the project (eg 1 as a control and the others to test various treatments)
• Research team to design treatments based on desktop research, obtain temperature measuring equipment and monitor treatments and report on findings
This would potentially allow us to place the cabinets in the same location to enable a fair comparison and to make the trial easier for the research partner (one site versus many sites). Discussion about whether to include cabins and what the research methodology for those would be will be undertaken once the desktop research is conducted.
The outputs of this project are expected to be a brief report and/or presentation outlining:
• Results of desktop analysis
• Trial design including photos of trial site
• Results of trial
• Recommendations for which treatment (or combination of treatments) is most effective considering:
o Rough cost of treatment – full lifecycle cost to be considered, for example with heat reflective pain, costs of paint, preparation and application to manufacturers specifications and maintenance (eg reapplication).
o Expected heat reduction effect
o Practicality – how practical the solution is. For example, solutions could include burying the equipment underground (with cost & maintenance implications) or putting a mini-whirlybird on top of a cabinet (with water ingress and potential vandalism implications)
The potential impact of this research is to identify possible tools to reduce heat of cabinets and cabins, therefore reducing the chance of failure and increasing the life of electrical assets. One rule of thumb discussed by Electrical Asset Management Branch was that if heat is reduced by 10 degrees, the Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) for equipment could double, indicating substantially increased asset life, reduction in outages and reduction in costs.