How did we get started building modular buildings?
Before we even called them “Critical Infrastructure Modules (CIMs)” we received a job from Verizon to build an enclosure.
They started with 1.5 years to install a modular UPS, but the contractor had failed them after 1 year. Now they had only 6 months to meet that deadline. We had to build two completely custom modules and bring them online in 6 months or less. We achieved this with time to spare.
It can cost businesses millions of dollars if such a project is not completed on time, not only in direct costs but also in lost revenue due to lacking the capacity to accept more customers. We hoped to resolve this problem.
After working with GKK Works & Verizon, we delved into mobile solutions. We built UPS trailers for PEI (later purchased by Global Power Systems) for them to rent to data center customers in the event of an emergency. These mobile units are a fantastic solution for Disaster Recovery and Emergency Response. Accordingly, we believe that the best defense against disasters is being prepared and that means having a redundant UPS and generator system onsite.
After we started working with PEI and Global Power Systems, we began working with data center contractors such as Burr Computer Environments Inc. (BCEI).
On the left you can see one of our first Critical Infrastructure Modules™ (CIMs). The design was simpler as compared to our latest generation. It had numerous improvements over the first modules made for Verizon. It had a deeper base, better insulation and a higher build quality.
One previous generation had a couple of odd features. Most of these modules featured custom Butyl rubber flooring for extra ESD protection.
They also featured CRAC units typically seen in traditional data centers.
These were mostly built for EdgeConneX data centers in Boston and Slidell (Louisiana). We worked with the contractor BCEI, mentioned previously.
We no longer use this style of chillers or flooring in our standard offerings, but we can still procure it upon request.
Last generation modules featured some significant changes including an even deeper base, raised flooring, new structural supports, and roof top HVAC units. These changes allowed for much greater power densities without significantly increasing weight. We added many sizes expanding to 14 different module sizes.
The raised flooring made maintenance much easier and was universally praised by our customers.
We also added rails in the floor to slide large pieces of equipment in and out.
There were a couple other modules that influenced our designs. For instance, the module on the right was made for the US Navy's for at Point Mugu. You may have noticed that the base is very short, this was requested to reduce the weight. This is one of the reasons why we are currently engineering aluminum modules for sites that are bottle necked by weight limits.
Other modules that impacted our designs were mobile solutions designed for Time Warner and permanent modules developed for other telecom companies (we cannot disclose their names). We also have vast experience when it comes to generators, more specifically cogeneration systems. We have taken our knowledge and experience from cogen and applied it to our generators as well as incorporating design elements that make them easier to maintain. We have also built many large tank systems for a variety of applications ranging from breweries to digesters and use that to improve our urea and fuel tanks.
Our current generation of modules focus on cost savings. For the most part we aimed to improve our supply line management and find better, more affordable materials for insulation, cooling, and began manufacturing some of the components we used to buy.
One of our goals was to achieve cost parity with a traditional data center. If data centers were built to the quality and efficiency of our modules it is highly likely that they would be more expensive than our modular solution.
We can still build all the modules we have made in the past, but by slightly altering sizing we reduced cost significantly. We now have 3 standard widths instead of only 2 and 7 different lengths, up from 5. We are currently considering adding an additional width option designed specifically for modular data centers. We are also looking at aluminum to reduce weight and adding a shallower base as an option.
We continue to refine our designs and rethink building materials and methodologies to provide the best products on the market.
If you found this interesting or would like more info on CIMs be sure to let us know.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1-775-246-8111