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Mechanical Commissioning


In principle there are no differences when commissioning different types of facilities like administrative buildings, manufacturing facilities, or so-called mission critical facilities. Fundamentally, commissioning is a process that begins in the design phase with the documentation of Project Requirements forming the basis of the design. Commissioning verifies proper installation by functionally testing equipment and systems to ensure they meet design and performance specifications. And lastly, commissioning provides proper training of operational personnel.

Practically, however, there are different approaches to the commissioning process such as mechanical commissioning that require focusing on different aspects of the process. For instance, an office or school commissioning process focuses primarily on a Building Management System (BMS), mechanical system equipment and on energy efficiency. Whereas a data processing center focuses on uninterruptible power supply (UPS), redundancy of the electrical and mechanical systems, proper cooling of IT equipment and system interactions.

The commissioning process of a data center is similar, yet different from other facilities. The similarities are that the process is intended to verify that the installed systems meet the design intent and basis of design. The differences are in the focus. Data centers focus on proving the electrical systems operate within the electrical window defined for computer power supplies and that the cooling requirements of the computing equipment can be met. The mechanical commissioning agent must know and understand all of the reliability and redundancy requirements and must be able to fashion tests specific to those elements to verify they are being met. All normal operation modes, first-order-of-magnitude failures, and maintenance modes must be proven. Tests must represent the computer cooling load and test all operational modes and redundancies to assure the successful operation of the facility.

Owners of mission critical facilities are concerned mainly with reliability and availability. This applies equally to the mechanical and electrical systems. Redundant equipment and systems are an effective way to achieve the necessary levels of reliability and availability. The move toward high density data centers where computing equipment is compacted has resulted in high heat loads in confined spaces. This change in focus has switched the engineering focus from electrical systems to mechanical systems requiring mechanical commissioning engineers who can, among other things, perform computational fluid dynamic modeling of air pressure, flow and temperature within the computing space.

The successful operation of a data center requires that electrical systems supply uninterrupted power to the IT equipment and that mechanical systems can return temperature and humidity to design set points after this transition. There is a lot more information you could learn regarding mechanical commissioning. It would be best to contact a commissioning company who can provide you with accurate details.

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