Racks and Racking
Product Development Engineer
Ever heard of racks or racking? Of course... However, this type of equipment is not usually visible. Most of the time, the emergency power backup installations are hidden behind the doors of restricted areas. Termaco is a leading manufacturer in this domain, each year producing a large amount of finished goods intended either for automotive, stationary or racking applications.
Let's first establish the distinction between the three. The automotive applications are essentially related to mobile utility vehicles (i.e. fork lifts) where trays are used to protect the batteries. The second main application is called stationary. For this type of application, the batteries are inserted into modules on a permanent area in order to provide a power backup in case of electricity failure. The modules are stacked one over the others and are usually designed to contain medium size batteries. These installations are typically used for small or medium buildings. The third application, racking, is similar to the stationary application except for the size of the batteries. Because most of the time they are larger and heavier, it is impossible to install them on the side into modules and to stack them more than two tiers, so we need to install them in a different layout. The solution to this is the rack.
The racks can be built in a large number of configurations. Almost any combination of steps, tiers and rows are possible. But this is not all: any of these configurations can be equivalent to or certified for a specific seismic requirement. Those requirements are most commonly based on seismic codes such as NEBS, NBC, UBC, IBC, etc.
Termaco has its own families of racks. They are offered in different sizes in order to accommodate an almost infinite range of cell dimensions and weights. As well as having its own rack series, Termaco has already developed and designed a whole set of rack families for a few of their customers. Essentially, these customers either are battery manufacturers or are working with battery manufacturers.
Termaco also offers rack customizing and rack certification services. Whatever the need: environmental limitations, custom configuration, seismic requirements and/or certification, our company is ready for this. We are equipped with 3D CAD software for the design and FEA software for seismic simulations, validations, and, if applicable, certification. It is important to clarify here that some certifications cannot be delivered without having successfully passed a physical test session (i.e. for the NEBS Code), which implies the fabrication of a prototype and most of the time results in a non-reusable testing (or tested) unit.
However, if the need or the request is limited to respect the structural requirements imposed by a seismic code without an official certification, Termaco can also easily respond to this situation.
Termaco is a Canadian company; therefore it can only certify a rack with an engineering seal (or any of the finished goods designed in house), if it is to be installed within the Canadian limits. If ever a said product needed U.S. certification, then an outside resource like a local professional engineer (P.E.) will be required to get the certification. It is good to note here that California State makes exception in this sense by requesting the seal of a Californian P.E. for any product to be installed within the limits of the state.
Finally, just a reminder that all the seismic codes are updated along the years, and the related "g" values (*) or zone definitions are subject to change. It is then not only important but mandatory to know:
- which code the rack needs to be in accordance with
- which zone of the specified code
- which release of the specified code, and finally
- where the rack in intended to be installed in order to plan certification.
(*) Specific acceleration assigned for a zone defined by factor multiplying the gravitational acceleration of the Earth.
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