With an ultimate capacity of over 22,000 racks and 750,000 square feet, NGD’s Tier 3+ data centre is the biggest data centre in Europe and serves some of the world’s leading companies, including global telecommunications provider BT and computer manufacturer IBM.
Known for providing large organisations with bespoke data halls constructed to the highest standards, NGD’s South Wales campus is one of the most efficient data centres in Europe with impressively low Power Usage Effectiveness ratings (PUE) – a data centre specific measurement of total power consumption.
Having secured additional contracts with a number of Fortune 500 companies worth £125 million over the next five years, NGD has developed the capacity to respond at a rapid speed in delivering the private and shared campus space required to fulfil the exacting needs of their world-class customers.
For this particular expansion project, NGD specified 114 data centre specific GE Hybrid Cooling Systems from leading manufacturer Stulz UK, plus a combination of 26 high performance horizontal and VEE air blast coolers and pump sets from industrial cooling technology specialist, Transtherm, to manage the inside air temperature of the new campus expansion.
Phil Smith, NGD’s Construction Director, comments on the company’s industry-leading build-out timescales:
“Responding to global market opportunities is an important part of data centre best practice standards and our 16-week build-out programme allows us to lead from the helm when it comes to meeting demand, on time.
“Completing a build of such scale and complexity within just four months requires more than 500 construction workers to be permanently on site. To keep things moving at the right pace, suppliers are required to adjust the design and build of their products in accordance to the build schedule and deliver them just in time for installation to prevent costly delays to NGD and our local contracting firms. The solution provided by Stulz and Transtherm is a great example of how data centres can work with trusted, reliable and dedicated supply chain partners.”
A three-part delivery solution
As long-term suppliers to NGD, both Stulz UK and Transtherm understood the importance of just-in-time deliveries so that the new air conditioning system did not impact the build speed on site. With a usual lead time of eight weeks for its GE Hybrid technology, Stulz UK set about devising suitable production alternations which would enable them to deliver their equipment within NGD’s rapid build programme.
Mark Vojkovic, Sales Manager for Stulz UK, explains:
“Specified for installation into the floor of the new campus expansion, we altered the manufacturing process of our GE hybrid units to enable us to deliver the technology in two halves. First to be delivered was the fan bases, which were installed onto their stands during the earlier stages of the build, just in time for the construction of the suspended floor. Later in the build programme, between weeks 10 and 12, Stulz UK delivered the upper coil sections of the air conditioning units and Transtherm delivered, installed and commissioned their equipment on the outside of the building.”
Tim Bound, Director for Transtherm added:
“Supplying a data centre superpower like NGD requires a reliable and creative supply chain solution which can not only work in tandem to deliver the most efficient product packages, but also communicate effectively to deliver products from multiple manufacturing sites ‘just-in-time’ in order to maintain their industry leading build-out times. It’s vital on projects of this size that manufacturing partners can see the bigger picture and adjust their own project parameters to suit.
“In this instance, NGD had 500 construction workers on site each day, working to an industry leading deadline. It was imperative that Stulz UK and Transtherm were appreciative of the on-site complexities so that we could deliver and install our plant with minimal disruption.
“This project is a real testament to how Stulz UK and Transtherm can combine their technologies, engineering know-how and logistical capacity to deliver a substantial project, within potentially restrictive time and installation constraints.”
The technology in focus
The Stulz GE system utilises outdoor air for free-cooling in cooler months when the outside ambient air temperature is below 20°C, with indirect transfer via glycol water solution maintaining the vapour seal integrity of the data centre.
The indoor unit has two cooling components, a direct expansion (DX) cooling coil and a free cooling coil. In warmer months when the external ambient temperature is above 20°C, the system operates as a water-cooled DX system and the refrigeration compressor rejects heat into the water via a plate heat exchange (PHX) condenser. The water is pumped to the Transtherm air blast cooler where it is cooled, and the heat rejected to air.
In cooler months below 20°C external ambient temperature, the system automatically switches to free-cooling mode, where dry cooler fans are allowed to run and cool the water to approximately 5°C above ambient temperature before it is pumped through the free cooling coil. In these cooler months dependant on water temperature and/or heatload demands, the water can be used in “Mixed Mode”. In this mode the water is directed through both proportionally controlled valves and enables proportional free cooling and water-cooled DX cooling to work together.
Crucially, 25% Ethylene glycol is added to water purely as an antifreeze to prevent the dry cooler from freezing when the outdoor ambient temperature is below zero.
A partnership approach
Stulz UK has specified Transtherm’s leading air blast cooling technology as part of its packaged air-conditioning solution for around 10 years.
Mark Vojkovic continues: “Transtherm’s air blast coolers and pump sets complete our data centre offering by fulfilling our requirement for outside plant which is efficient, reliable and manufactured to the highest standard. Their engineering knowledge is unparalleled and the attention to detail and design flexibility they apply to every project matches the service we always aspire to give our customers.”
Situated around the periphery of the building and on its gantries, Transtherm’s 26 VEE air blast coolers are fitted with ERP Directive ready fans and deliver significant noise reduction when compared to other market leading alternatives, in accordance with BS EN 13487:2003.
Tim Bound concludes: “Stulz UK and Transtherm are proud to be part of NGD’s continued expansion plans as they move at speed to meet market opportunities within their sector. This most recent expansion showcases the many benefits of established supply chain relationships, especially on campus build-outs which need to deliver unrivalled quality on the tightest deadlines.”