US Army Recruits Eaton for Critical Mission

Application: Protect the power supply for satellite up- and downlink equipment that enables critical communications between military personnel and home bases.

Challenge: Install new system in 12 months and ensure that satellite communications are operational with 99.99 percent reliability; and limit maintenance downtime to 60 minutes annually.

Solution: Replace aging equipment with a comprehensive, end-to-end solution from Eaton including design services, equipment, installation, testing, and ongoing service and support.

“Our mission is to enable soldiers in a foxhole anywhere in the world to communicate with their home base. That’s the criticality of this project.”
-US Army Spokesperson

The Benefits of Eaton’s Approach
Eaton takes a comprehensive approach to managing and controlling the continuity, integrity, and efficiency of a customer’s critical electrical system—whether it is in a bank, a factory, an office tower, or a home. It’s an approach that encompasses everything from the equipment—circuit breakers, switchgear, wires, generators, and UPSs—to monitoring and control capabilities, and all of the intellectual and physical services that go into the design, installation, maintenance, and management of an electrical system.

This approach is extremely important because our customers are facing tougher productivity and efficiency demands than ever before. The price and impact of service interruption is reaching intolerable levels. Enterprise continuity is more critical than ever. Eaton understands the challenges and is delivering the solutions to help its customers enhance enterprise availability, drive cost efficiency, manage risk, and improve safety.

The US Army Wants Eaton
For military personnel serving around the world, reliable satellite communications are often their life support systems, especially in volatile areas such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait. Any interruption to this vital link can put them in harm’s way and can have dire consequences.

Driven by aging equipment that threatened reliability and security, the US Army recently funded a complete upgrade for one of its strategic offshore power plants, responsible for relaying critical satellite communications around the world. Specifications for the new system called for 99.99 percent reliability and less than 60 minutes of annual downtime for routine maintenance. Built-in redundancy was also essential to override a failure in any part of the system and ensure continual uptime. Said an Army spokesperson, “Our mission is to enable a soldier in a foxhole anywhere in the world to communicate with his home base. That’s the criticality of this project.”

Rapid Deployment
One of the most challenging aspects of the project was the time frame only 12 months to design and install a new state-of-the-art solution, ensuring uninterrupted communications for tens of thousands of US military men and women in the field.

Eaton: UPS Solutions and More
It started with a call from the Army’s project leader to learn more about Eaton’s uninterruptible power systems (UPS). As project details unfolded and the breadth of Eaton’s capabilities was discussed, it quickly became apparent that Eaton could provide everything that was needed—advanced UPSs, switchgear, transfer switches, even the wiring and cabling. An added bonus—Eaton’s strategic partnership with Caterpillar enabled them to bundle in the generators for a complete and integrated solution.

Flawless Strategy
The hardware solution was just the tip of the iceberg. For a project of this scope, design, project management, integration services, installation coordination, and testing were just as important to its success. An integration team was assembled, and Eaton’s most senior designer mapped out the entire system. Site visits were made. Plans were drawn up and reviewed. Stringent testing of critical functions was conducted. Within six months, the design plans were approved, resulting in a robust system design engineered without a single point of failure.

Reinforcements at the Ready
Once the system was installed, preventive maintenance and emergency services would be needed. In fact, in the event of an emergency, the contract specified that engineers must be able to be on site within a critical window of time. Eaton was able to easily satisfy this requirement because of its regional presence and expansive network of service support centers.

A Single Point of Contact and Responsibility
Perhaps most valued by this customer was having a single point of contact, one company to deal with that was responsible for every aspect of this high-profile, mission-critical project—from products to services, design to installation. It brought tremendous efficiencies and economies of scale, streamlining the procurement process through to design signoff and installation.

Mission Accomplished With Flying Colors
Undaunted by an aggressive schedule and the enormous project scope, Eaton was able to design and deliver a fully integrated system as specified. The industry experience and expertise of the Eaton team, the exceptional quality of its product set, and its vast service offerings made it the right partner for the US Army. Not only did Eaton meet the 99.99 percent reliability requirement for the power plant, but the layout and design of this advanced facility will serve as a prototype for other locations.

Critical Mission
Soldiers in the field rely on their communications gear for instant contact. Availability is critical. When the call goes out, the system needs to function. Missions, lives, and our nation’s security are at stake. This vital communications network relies on power. And when it comes to power, the US Army relies on Eaton to keep a vital link in the chain ready at all times.