Global Technology Solutions Provider: Case Study

 

The company subsequently contracted CableSeal to provide brush seals on over 210,000 square feet of raised computer floor in the Toronto area.

Project Description

The existing raised floor cooling systems were operating at or above the maximum design requirements for the facility. The under floor air pressure was too low and inconsistent, which resulted in the data cabinets receiving uneven cooling airflow from the perforated air supply floor tiles. Engineering staff determined that sealing the existing cable openings below the data cabinets should provide an increased under floor air pressure, which would allow them to direct the cooling air as required.

Criteria

The data centre facilities are mission critical. Any solution could not interfere with the ongoing operations under any circumstance. The data centre maintenance staff was not able to commit the man hours required for site installation. A successful solution would provide sealing of as close to 100% of all openings as possible (closure rate). A successful solution required a permanent, repeatable seal that could not be easily defeated.

The engineering staff experimented with various commercially available products:

- Pillows
- Foam blocks
- Canvas cloth closures with Velcro attachment
- 2 piece split brush grommets attached with double sided tape

Issues

None of the available products assessed were able to seal more than a small fraction of the existing openings. All products, with the exception of the brush grommet, could be defeated by technicians working on the servers. The product required removal for service or cable addition, and would require reinstallation after completion of the work. This would depend on the technician and in some cases the product would not be reinstalled. The brush grommet was serviceable, but was limited to one size only. The majority of existing openings were larger than the grommet. The brush grommet was provided with a double sided gasket tape which would fail if the cables passing through the opening exerted pressure on the grommet. In many cases, the openings contained a large quantity of cables, which exerted pressure on the grommet after installation. In some cases the latch holding the two halves together would also spring open with high excess pressure from the cables. This was partially due to the brush seal being too small for the cable opening.

CableSeal (operated by Teeple Contracting Services Ltd.) was retained to study the project requirements and criteria and to provide a suitable solution.

We developed a design using double layer brush seals attached to extruded aluminum holders. We selected three sizes of brush seal from 12” to 24” in length, as well as 3” wide aluminum blanking plates in the same lengths. We selected an industrial double sided structural bonding tape which permanently fastened the brush seals and blanking plates to the raised floor panels. This combination of parts would be able to effectively seal almost every size and shape opening, without any disruption to the data cabinets or cabling.

We performed a test installation on site and our solution was found to meet all criteria.

The company subsequently contracted CableSeal to provide brush seals on over 210,000 square feet of raised computer floor in the Toronto area.

Follow-up

Installation was provided with over 99% of all openings sealed.
Underfloor air pressure was increased dramatically, providing cooling airflow in the required locations.
The increase in pressure was significant enough to allow several CRAC units in each raised floor area to be shut down
The energy savings alone provided a payback of all project costs.
Client recognized the ongoing importance of providing brush seals for all new floor openings.
We subsequently developed a one-piece integral grommet in three available sizes which was priced very competitively and manufactured using high-quality aluminum components. We are now the preferred supplier of this product for the company's data centres.