Case Study 1: Portable Equipment Shelters

Blog 2 Cabling Upgrade

The Concept:

A prime example of Interconnect Systems’ ability to deliver innovative solutions is that of the recently designed Portable Equipment Shelters. The idea was borne from an audit done at a mining group, with multiple shafts and plants in the Northern area. A comprehensive upgrade of its optic fibre backbone infrastructure, for its process and commercial networks was required.

Once the audit was complete it was clear that Interconnect Systems could provide all the required fibres, however the locations to facilitate this fibre and equipment upgrade was lacking. The buildings were old and space was not available. Thus not to infringe on anybody’s office space, the idea was born to develop and build portable units to house the new cabling infrastructure and equipment.

The Specifications:

These five shelters were portable and at 3m x 3.5m x 2.7m, were constructed off site and trucked in. All five shelters were placed in position in one day, by the special crane equipped rigging truck.

Each unit is fully equipped, self-sustainable and contains the following components:

3CR12 Stainless steel base and white cromadeck finished panels; Door with a protected lock mechanism; Single Tier cable entry panel; Built-in 3 phase DB board with electrical reticulation; Earth strapping; 1x Laptop fold-away table with power outlets; 2 x 47U Server Cabinets (Place for a third cabinet if required later); 2 x 24000 BTU mid wall split air-conditioning units; Air-conditioning controller unit (ACCU); Outdoor isolator switches fitted close to the AC condenser units; 2x 6000VA, 6U Smart Online Intelligent UPS, with SNMP Web card FM 200 gas fire suppression system with detection and fire control panel.


TThe Benefit:
The portable equipment shelter is a versatile concept with many benefits. One of the key benefits is that it gives the IT department full control and access at all times to ‘their’ equipment. It is a controlled environment, the air conditioning and UPS is continually monitored remotely.
The ingress of dust is virtually impossible as it is a sealed unit with positive pressure created by the air conditioning, protecting very expensive equipment and servers from the harsh dusty mining environment often encountered. At roughly 75% of the cost of a new computer room, it can be made to virtually any specification.

Portable Equipment Shelters is suitable to any industry and will be especially effective in rural areas. The unit is designed with a life expectancy of 20 – 25 years, if exposed to the elements, sun, wind and rain. If protected under a roof, the life expectancy further increases. Interconnect Systems have so far deployed 14 of these units with great success!


The Outcome:

Further to the success of the portable equipment shelters, a need arose for a much larger server room to be built also using the shelter concept. The timelines to do this were very tight and right at the end of the year. This upgrade took priority and the design and manufacture of a 10m x 4.2m x 2.7m Server Room commenced.

The project made provision for 9 x 47U Server Racks with growth into a tenth cabinet should it be required. A further 3 cabinets provides the ‘in row’ cooling, each of them 56000BTU, two working one on standby. Cooling design incorporates highly efficient hot and cold isle containment. All data and electrical reticulation is in overhead channeling above the cabinets. All cabinets have an ‘A’ and ‘B’ electrical feed from UPS, and UPS is backed up by genset in case of a mains fail. The ground in the area of the Server room was turf (clay) and a floating raft foundation was cast for the server room to be constructed on.  Due to its size, the server room was built on site, and is obviously not portable.

The result was a fully equipped, self-sustainable computer room completed in 6 weeks, with the following components:

  • Galvanised base and white cromadeck finish Door with a protected lock mechanism
  • 2 Tier cable entry panel
  • Built-in DB board with electrical reticulation
  • 8 x Neon lights
  • Earth strapping
  • 3 x Laptop fold-away tables with power outlets
  • 3 x 16kW air-conditioning units
  • Air-conditioning controller unit
  • 12 x Server Cabinets, each with A and B power feeds
  • Overhead routing infrastructure for data and power
  • 40kW Smart Online Intelligent UPS
  • FM 200 gas fire suppression system with detection and fire control panel.
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