Inline Modular Power Skid: A Rapid Design and Build Solution
When Hanley Energy was asked by a client to design and build a bespoke solution for an immediate critical infrastructure technology gap, the task could have seemed a daunting one.
What lay before them was a complex technical job which wide-ranging customization needs, but the real challenge was the rapid introduction of a new product, with an immovable go-live deadline (6-weeks, concept to deployment).
Despite the odds being stacked against them, the Hanley Energy team achieved the end goal, and on time delivery to bridge a client’s technical and operational needs – this highlighted the company’s excellence as a specialist innovator and integrator.
And the solution was so successful that Hanley Energy emerged with a new UPS power asset – an In-line Modular Power Skid – which it can deliver to other clients.
A significant challenge
“I have a problem, can you help me solve it? – that was pretty much the starting point,” says Andrew Dobson, Head of Global Sales at Hanley Energy.
“The client gave us a problem to solve, and a challenging deployment environment. But not only did it have to be designed, built and certified it also had to be delivered in just six weeks. Products like this normally take months to develop with multiple stakeholder including 3rd parties involved.”
As well as the time pressure, the Hanley Energy team faced a number of significant restrictions, while having to also factor in multiple variables.
“The restrictions on this unit included space, height, output, heat thresholds, the ambient temperature, alongside deployment in a live environment. In addition, everything had to fit perfectly to the millimetre,” says Andrew.
With all that onboard, Hanley’ Energy’s team of multiskilled experts put their heads together and got to work.
Trusting the process
“We attack every problem with a combination of Hanley Energy’s four key tenets – time, focus, methodology and skills,” says Electrical Design Engineer Ciaran McGlinchey. “And that’s what we did here.”
Once Hanley Energy had assessed the clients specific needs, they augmented the client’s team with their own engineering specialists and knowledge.
“We have access to the various subject-matter experts, whether they are internal, or partners within our network. Different experts come together in the design process. If you have a problem, we can harness all these strengths for our clients into one team,” says Andrew.
As well as the concerns regarding the functionality and build of the piece, practical concerns such as the delivery also had to be taken into account from the outset.
“When Ciaran and the team were designing it, they looked for the simplest way to do it,” says Andrew. “They thought ‘we have to get it to site, we have to simplify it, it’s got to go on a palette truck, it’s got to go down corridors, through security doors’ and so on. They thought about the actual end installation and employed classical reverse-engineering from there.”
The Hanley Energy team had the benchmark of what the unit had to achieve, plus the significant limitations of time and space, and they worked from there, trying and testing a combination of standardized and customized elements.
“On day one we had certain specs, it needs to fit in here, it needs to be so many kilowatts etc.” explains Ciaran. “But very soon the client’s needs moved away from standardized elements, and we were customizing things to reduce or minimise the impact elements and to make a repeatable solution.
“For example, a big issue with a lot of the equipment was heat generated. All the calculations needed to be precise so that it was not going to give out too much heat both in the unit and within the deployed environment.”
To achieve such a tight turnaround meant long days, late nights, and even curtailed holidays for the Hanley Energy team. First the design was drawn on a 3D model, then there was prototyping, and steel elements were made up. This was all done in close and regular partnership with the ABB team – every step of the way involved feedback from the client before moving on.
ABB is a major multinational original equipment manufacturer (OEM), with whom Hanley Energy already had a close relationship.
“My team and I have been working on ABB products for a long number of years, and we know a lot of the products probably as well as ABB know them themselves. We have great relationship with ABB which accelerates engineer to engineer discussions says Ciaran.
“We’re also lucky that we have a lot of flexibility in steelwork. We’re partnered with a company named Flexitech, who’ve been making panels for 20 years, they can really do exactly what we want them to do.”
Successful delivery of the job was ultimately a question of many various strands all coming together within a very short time. “Because of a combination of our relationship with ABB, our ways of working, our flexibility, our expertise, our approach, and our partnerships, we were able to make it happen,” says Andrew.
At the end of the process, Hanley had one very satisfied client. But it also had itself a new power supply asset that could be rolled out to other clients – the In-line Modular Power Skid. And, crucially, the team had shown how they could rapidly design and turn out solutions for specific customer needs.
As with every project Hanley Energy does, there are insights to be gleaned and stored in their ‘bank of knowledge’ – it means that once they’ve solved a particular problem, they retain what they’ve learned so they don’t have to solve the same problem again in a different context.
“We harness our knowledge and use IT tools to support our work,” says Andrew, “it means we’ve captured everything in terms of projects, process and delivery, scopes of work, design documentation, how we analyse things – everything is stored there in a cloud-based solution, so we can transpose, lift and shift projects and go ‘right, we did a similar project this way’, you set up the structure and then away you go.”
Proof of excellence
The successful delivery of this job within such a short timeframe is proof of Hanley Energy’s excellence as an innovator and specialist integrator.
“This job shows our abilities in terms of rapid innovation, how we can design, how we can turn out solutions quickly to meet customers’ needs,” says Andrew.
“It shows how Hanley Energy can integrate all of these elements together, whereas for other companies it may not be possible, or it may not be as straightforward a process.”
While Hanley Energy is vendor agnostic as a partner, this job also shows how they have the ability to go deep into technical requirements of a particular situation, regardless of the OEM.
“A customer’s problems might seem unique to them, but they’re not be truly unique, they just manifest themselves in different ways,” says Andrew.
“Because we’ve got an in-depth knowledge and capability, we can be vendor agnostic – but we also have the ability, when required, to deep dive into those products because of the inherent capabilities of the organization.
“While most companies operate in a fairly narrow vertical, what Hanley Energy does is take its deep knowledge and expertise and we apply it in multiple different scenarios.”
“A job like this is about trust,” concludes Ciaran, “trust in the client, trust in our own expertise, and trust in our partners and the end-to-end processes. That’s what it boils ultimately down to.”