A Day With A UPS Engineer – By Rachel Skinner

A Day With A UPS Engineer – By Rachel Skinner

I have worked at BCL since January 2017 doing scheduling and administration duties for the 5 engineers that work at BCL.  I love working here, they are a great team to work with.  I thought it would be beneficial to accompany the engineers on one of their ‘typical’ site maintenance visits to help me understand how their day flows and how it could help me when scheduling further jobs for them in the future.  I wanted to see how difficult it can be to get to site, or to gain access to the UPS room, or even how tricky it may be to find somewhere close to site to park.

When I book a visit, I will ask our customers things such as

  • Is there any on site parking
  • If not, is there a car park nearby
  • Is there any access forms that engineers need to fill in
  • Are RAMS required for site visit
  • Confirmation of full address
  • To ensure the site contact name and number are correct
  • All UPS locations and serial numbers are correct
  • Confirmation of correct day and time

So, here is a small summary of how my visit to a site in Birmingham went….

It was an early start for me, our engineers Joe Hyndman and Aaron Finch came to pick me up at 7.15am, and although early, everyone was in good spirits.  The drive to Birmingham was straight forward and even though Joe did miss a turn or too, we did arrive to site on time at 09.15AM.

This site was an ideal site from an engineer point of view.  It had a buzzer for the security gate and onsite parking, so we could go straight to reception.  The receptionist ‘buzzed’ for our site contact and we all signed in and were given visitors ID lanyards.

Our site contact information was correct, sometimes, the engineers arrive to site and are unable to locate the site contact, which can delay doing the UPS maintenance significantly, which in turn, could make them run late for another job.

He led us up to the UPS room, and explained that there were 2 UPS systems that needed to be tested.  Joe explained that we only had a work order for one of them and that we would check with the office if this was correct.

This is where normally, Joe would give me a call in the office and check to make sure that the site attendance sheet that I had created from the work order was all correct.  But, being as I was on site, I already knew that the paperwork was right and Joe confirmed to the site contact that we would only be testing one UPS on this visit.

Joe and Aaron went straight in to testing the batteries of the UPS system, which was a APC 8KVA RT.  Batteries in these UPS’ are set with 8 cassettes, each contacting 8 batteries each, 2 cassettes are ‘parallel’ and then one cassette is ‘series’.   This is to do with making sure the UPS is receiving the correct wattage to work accordingly.   Joe was recording the reading from the Midtronics Battery Tester as Aaron was testing the batteries, which works well, as they could get through them at a good pace. The Midtronics tester is very easy and simple to use and gives the engineers all the information they require.

In this particular UPS, shutdown of the mains was not needed. Sometime we need to have shut down depending on the type of UPS being tested, this is sometime why our engineers are required to work weekends and evenings.

There were a couple of other things which we check when doing maintenance such as the room temperature which ideally needs to be around 20°C with air conditioning., as this does affect the battery life. Photos and the report are submitted to Jason, the operations manager and we are all done.

The engineers ensure that the room was left as it was found and that any type of packaging or debris is taken away with them.  Sometimes the site contact will come back to see us and will then escort our engineers back to receptionist or they may have to head back to receptionist and exit alone depending on the type of security the building has in place.

Over all, I really enjoyed my site visit with Joe and Aaron, they were very knowledgeable of their products, job and locations. Very professional, smart and friendly towards all employees that they encountered.

Thank you Joe and Aaron for a great day on site.