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Power Protection Quantified

11 Aug, 2008 By: Wes McArtor imageSource

Power Protection Quantified

A frequently asked question by customers is: “How can I quantify the benefits
of power protection?” Although it’s common knowledge that quality power
protection protects copiers & MFPs from damage caused by lightning & disruptive
power surges, many in our industry question how much power protection can
actually help improve machine performance & ROI. In fact, many smaller studies
done by dealerships & vendors have proven to be inconclusive at best. 

BEI Services recently conducted one of the most comprehensive power
protection analysis to date, analyzing over 50,000 machines distributed across
the USA to test if power protection improved machine performance &
profitability.  The results were both revealing & surprising.


The analysis discovered that power protection significantly impacts CPC
(parts service costs), MCBV, & labor costs:

  • Dealers that did not use power protection experienced 22% higher CPC
    (parts service costs).
  • Dealers that used power protection experienced an annualized parts cost
    savings of $64 per copier.
  • Dealers that did not use power protection also experienced 16% lower MCBV
    (Mean Copies Between Visits), resulting in higher labor service  CPC.


Machine performance data was compiled from 50,000 machines serviced by 13
dealerships from around the country in: NY, NC, GA, IL, WA, OR, AZ, CA, OH, over
a 184 day period. To ensure integrity, a number of machines were omitted from
analysis for the following reasons:

1) Data from old technology (analog); 2) Data from new installations (skewed
by low copy counts, operator error & technician learning curve issues; 3) Data
as a result of poorly performing Service Technicians (graded under a 20% First
Call Effectiveness Ratio).

The resulting study group was 36,824 MFPs. This group was distributed across
segments & manufacturers that included: Canon, Ricoh, Toshiba, Konica Minolta,
Kyocera, Sharp and Oce.

The company obtained power protection usage lists from ESP (an office
equipment power protection manufacturer) and compared these lists to our study
group. We found that from our sample of 36,824 machines (both black & white and
color), 17,820 total copiers utilized power protection, while the remaining
19,004 copiers were likely not using any power protection, but possibly could
have been using other brands. The company then conducted a blind analysis from
the base sample of 36,824 machines by comparing power protection usage to CPC
parts usage (the cost of all parts used to service a machine divided by the
number of copies made) and MCBV (mean copies between visits). CPC & MCBV were
used as these statistics are widely accepted service performance measurements &
BEI Services felt these would be the most effective ways to measure the
financial impact of power protection.


After analyzing the performance data the following was quantified: 

  • Pro-active use of power protection reduces parts and labor costs.
  • Power protection provides significant and measurable ROI.
  • A power protection policy should be  standard practice in the industry.

While results varied from manufacturer to manufacturer, in every case the
protected machine performance was measurably better than the unprotected units.
The results of this study would be almost impossible to see on a smaller
population because of variations in volume, technician performance & numerous
other factors. But the difference in performance is obvious & quantifiable. The
bottom line  is:  Are you willing to risk $64 per year in extra parts costs &
16% lower MCBV for the machines you service?  It isn’t recommended-Study
courtesy of  Wes McArtor, BEI Services, 

*Manufacturer ESP recently released the results of new tests that expose how
common electronic noise disturbances impact copiers and printers. A 10 kHz high
frequency noise signal was introduced into a variety of office equipment to
simulate a typical power disturbance found in office buildings. The results?
Printers that were not protected were found to have a significant reduction in
print quality than when compared to printers that utilized proper power


Getting ROI on Power Filters

Smart Power Systems realizes that copier dealers need to know the
performance specifications of the power filters they are using.  Filters are the
front line defense against common power problems that affect digital copiers. 
Poor performing filters can mislead technicians when isolating copier problems
that may be power related.  If you apply “X” voltage, in the form of a surge or
spike to the input of a power filter, you should know what the “let through”
voltage will be to your system.  Look for products that use industry standard
tests recommended by NEMA and developed by IEEE.  Don’t get buried in power
quality jargon that you don’t understand.  An IEEE test result is in let through
voltages and is also how UL categorizes surge suppression performance.  Power
protection manufacturers that make highly effective products are proud to
publish their performance specifications. 

“Surge protectors” may have been adequate during the analog years but usually
were just waiting for the big one (lightning). If  “surge protectors” are used,
understand that they do not address line noise very well, if at all.  On the
other hand, if you use power filters that meet the performance criteria set by
the semiconductor industry you will mitigate over 80% of power problems that
affect the electronics in digital copiers. The other 20% of power problems are
profit opportunities for dealers.  Old buildings, industrial parks and high-rise
buildings can have wiring problems or voltage fluctuations that affect digital
copiers.  Recognizing these problems early and knowing the solutions will
eliminate service calls and provide additional profit for the service

A power filter that worked with the first generation digital copiers may not
be effective for the latest generation. UL recently revised its standards for
surge protection devices.  This affected the performance of some products in the
market in terms of let through.  It’s a good idea to revalidate that your filter
product still provides good surge suppression and line filtering. Clean power
helps electronics operate as intended.  An ROI on power filters is directly tied
to the filter’s performance.  Copier Technicians have a greater challenge than
ever before with all that comes with supporting networked digital copiers.  It
has been proven that eliminating power quality problems contributes to profits
and customer satisfaction.

-Courtesy of Smart Power Systems / Dana L. Davis, Nat’l Sales Mgr.  www.smartpowersystems.com  

 New CVSS Innovation

Innovolt Inc., an Atlanta-based Georgia Tech ATDC (Advanced Technology
Development Center) company recently launched a surge protector that marks the
first major advance in surge suppression technology in more than 20 years. The
new device utilizes patent pending CVSSTM (Current & Voltage Surge Suppressor)
technology – a revolutionary discovery that protects electronics equipment
against potentially damaging power disturbances such as voltage surges, current
surges and under/over-voltage. Surge protectors available on the market today
are made with TVSS (Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor) technology and are
designed to only protect against short duration voltage surges caused by
lightning strikes, a phenomenon that represents less than one percent of all
measured power disturbances.


Compare Various Power Protection Products 


Power Protector Power Manager Asset Manager
Voltage Surges Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Current Surges No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Over-Voltage No Yes No Yes Yes
Under-Voltage No Yes No Yes Yes
Overload/Short Circuit No Yes No Yes Yes
Line Filtering Maybe No Yes Yes Yes
Quick-Check Diagnostics No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Line Voltage/Current Display  No No No Yes Yes
Asset Management Functions No No No No Yes
Protection Level 1% 99% 99% 99% 99%


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