MNS-Up from ABB provides power distribution and UPS in a single-system solution

Efficiency and reliability of power supply in the rapidly expanding data centre business is crucial to feed the ever-hungry global information economy. As a leading technology innovator, ABB has considered the needs of data centres and continually enhanced products to meet ever-expanding needs.

“MNS-Up is the result of on-going customer-centric product development. Data centres are continually growing and two key aspects, space requirements and scalability have needed to be addressed” says Ronald van Leeuwen, Business Unit Manager for Electrification Solutions in South Africa.

“MNS-Up addresses these two areas very efficiently by combining the switchgear and uninterrupted power supply (UPS) technologies into a single unit. No other provider of power distribution and uninterrupted power supplies is able to offer this level of technology in the market currently”, notes van Leeuwen.

Space Saving

In traditional power distribution environments three discrete areas are required. The first area is dedicated to housing the input switchgear which is fed by the main transformer. The second area, in-turn provides power to the modular UPS through either cable or external bus duct systems. The third area houses the UPS output switchgear, feeding power to the points of consumption. As the assemblies are physically separated, a specific level of safety is assumed and this architecture is well-proven and has established itself as the norm. However it does have significant drawbacks. This topology relies on providing separate incoming and outgoing switchgear assemblies, with the associated power cabling or bus duct, resulting in a large footprint and great expense to interconnect the three assemblies.

ABB’s MNS-Up eliminates the need for the three separate areas, allowing for a single assembly housing the power input, uninterrupted power supply modules and the power output (distribution). Footprint savings of 20% are typical for a 500 kW system, rising to a significant 30% for 2 MW systems upwards.


Today’s information economy requires of data centres to provide cost effective solutions that can grow alongside information consumption.

“With modules of 100 kW capacity that can be added to accommodate power requirements MNS-Up can quickly react to market driven power demands, increasing the data centre’s ability to service clients,” points out Avi Ramdhin, Sales Manager for Electrification Solutions.

UPS modules are expandable in 100 kW blocks. Each frame can support a total of five 100 kW UPS modules, this can be further expanded with a duplication of the frames. Up to six frames can be joined together providing three MW of power. It need not end there; further systems may be added in parallel.

This flexibility is also demonstrated in the ability of the system to be assembled to meet the space layout available; straight line, back-to-back, L and U-shape, without employing external bus ducts or cables.

The modular approach followed in the design of the system allows for faster installation, upgrading and commissioning, resulting in a reduced time-to-switch on. With the ability to swap-out both switchgear and UPS modules online, the dual benefit of lowered maintenance costs and increased uptime is realised.


ABB’s MNS switchgear incorporating innovative power management technology, including the Emax two air circuit-breaker alongside contactors and motor starting technologies that are class-leaders in the process control environment.  Safety lies at the heart of the design. Complete compliance with the International Electro technical Commission (IEC) 61439-2 and TR 61641 form the base on which MNS switchboards are designed. The broad scope of ABB switchgear extends beyond its proven track record in power distribution, a core area of ABB’s expertise. The MNS technology boasts an installed base of 1,5 million systems worldwide. For MNS-Up ABB has selected the Conceptpower DPA 500 uninterrupted power supply, which sports a transformer-less, double-conversion architecture. This solution is the choice of mission-critical users including major international stock exchanges.

The design of the system is such that a decentralised parallel architecture is used, each module has its own input switch, bypass, UPS and output switch and the hardware and software combination operates self-sufficiently. This allows for module isolation; as a result failure elsewhere in the system does not impact the entire operation.


ABB delivers locally manufactured inverter solutions for 86MWp solar plant in South Africa.

ABB is strengthening its position in the solar market in South Africa by delivering electric balance of plant for an 86 megawatt peak (MWp) project near Prieska in South Africa. This packaged inverter solution comprises locally manufactured inverter stations and medium voltage (MV) stations with related services.

The project has been developed by Mulilo Sonnedix and is to be built by Juwi ZA. The site is located in the Northern Cape region of South Africa close to Prieska, and forms part of the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Program (REIPPP) round three projects. 

The nominal rating of the project is 76MW alternating current (AC.)The ABB plant is feeding the power to the national high voltage grid. The deliveries start in October 2015 supporting the rapid connection target to the distribution network in May 2016.

ABB’s scope of delivery includes forty 2MW photovoltaic systems (PVS) PVS 800-IS inverter stations (IS,) each containing two PVS800 central inverters, and respective MV stations with 2,4 MVA transformers and ring main units (RMU.)

ABB PVS800 central inverters and inverter stations are manufactured in ABB Johannesburg facilities as well as also the 22kV Ring Main Units (RMUs). Together with locally manufactured medium voltage transformer the local content of ABB delivery exceeds 60%. The hardware delivery is supplemented by a service offering that includes training and commissioning and local support for the years to come.

“The high efficiency, reliability and easy-to-maintain industrial design of our inverters, together with our local service and support capabilities, are the key success factors for ABB PVS800 central inverters in South Africa. All these together with the high local content that ABB is able to provide offer customers a real, bankable solution that we are able to support for years to come in South Africa, We are developing further our service organization in the region to meet the increasing installed base as I expect more deliveries to come,” says Silviu Martinescu, Manager of ABB’s business unit Power Conversion in South Africa.

According to Martinescu, Based on the latest estimates, just in South Africa, an impressive 1.041GW of PV capacity are expected to be installed within a three-year period through 2018.

ABB’s wide portfolio of different sizes of inverters, together with its other products for the solar industry, give customers an attractive one-stop shopping opportunity for packaged solutions for different sizes and types of plants.

The ABB PVS800-IS inverter station, rated from 1.75 to 2MW, is designed for multi-megawatt PV power plants. The inverter station uses two 875kW or 1,000kW PVS800 central inverters. Depending on the size of the PV power plant, several ABB inverter stations can be combined to meet the needed capacity. With a wide list of approvals and with advanced and flexible grid support functions, the inverter station meets all the applicable network connection requirements, regardless of where the project is located.

To help meet bankability requirements and secure the highest return on investment, ABB supports its customers with a dedicated global service network providing a complete range of life cycle services in more than 60 countries.

ABB is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 145,000 people. ABB established its operations in South Africa in 1992. Currently, ABB is present across South Africa having about 1200 employees and manufacturing facilities in Longmeadow and Alrode.

The ABB Sub- Saharan service hub and training center is located in Johannesburg. 


Mistral blows into southern Africa

The Mistral is described by the Mediterranean sailing community as “a strong northerly wind in the Gulf of Lions and Rhone Valley. The air is usually dry, bringing bright and clear weather with freezing temperatures to the south of France. The Mistral often reaches gale force, especially in winter and is capable of raising a heavy sea in a short space of time.”

Subscribe to this RSS feed


About us

Follow us

Follow us @BusinessNewsCT

BusinessNewsCT 6 trends you need to know about if you want to open a franchise in South Africa in 2019
BusinessNewsCT This is what your credit score should be and how to improve it
BusinessNewsCT What Joburg, Cape Town and Durban’s best areas for property growth have in common