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Electrex Electrical Installation at Kuka Systems

Electrical Installation of an Emergency Generator at Kuka Systems Data Center Saves Millions in Potential Loss from Unplanned Downtime

Industrial Automation Detroit | Electrical Contractor Detroit

Electrex completed installation of a new Generac 150 kW

generator with automatic transfer switch from the utility

Electrical installation for a recent installation of an emergency power supply for Kuka Systems North America has already earned its keep. With potential losses of more than $10,000 an hour and a minimum of 5 hours getting everything back online, the backup system put in by Electrex has kept Kuka’s vital Sterling Heights, Michigan data center up and running during two outages in the last few months.

According to a study from the Consortium for Electrical Infrastructure in a Digital Society (CEIDS) the U.S economy loses upwards of $100 billion per year just to short-term blackouts. Despite an estimated average cost of $642,000 per incident many smaller industrial and medium-sized manufacturers have insufficient emergency power generator backup in place, especially in critical data centers.

January, 2015
Harrison Township, MI –
As growth in the U.S. manufacturing is set to outpace the GDP, increasing dependence on ever-expanding data centers means companies like Electrex Industrial are needed to ensure manufacturers and their suppliers have electricity to power vital data centers and computer systems even when the grid goes down.

After suffering five unplanned outages beyond the 25-minute threshold of its emergency power supply, Kuka Systems North America needed to implement new protections for its main data center or risk hundreds of thousands of dollars in unrecoverable losses due to downtime.

“We met with five different electrical contractors about installing a new generator as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for the network,” said Nick Consiglio, Kuka Systems N.A. Senior Network Engineer. “Ultimately, Electrex Industrial stood out above all the companies we talked with because they consulted with us on our exact needs and all the options available.”

He went on to explain that the previous UPS solution provided less than 30 minutes of backup power. Their battery-powered system had been sufficient for more than a decade with only two or three outages lasting beyond that limit. According to the CDEIS study from 2001, industrial and manufacturing businesses lost more than 45 billion dollars due to unplanned power outages. In recent years this figure has only increased as the digital economy has made companies more dependent on electrical power and demands on the grid have taxed it to the limit.

“Then over the last year we had five unplanned outages that took the network down. Each time that means waiting for the power to be restored and then at least 5 hours to get the system back online,” said Consiglio. “If we’re out of business here then all of our five offices in Michigan plus offices in Brazil, Mexico, and dozens of engineers in the field around the world, are out of business too.


Industrial Automation Detroit | Electrical Contractor Detroit

Nick Consiglio, Kuka Systems North America Senior Network

Engineer. Kuka’s Sterling Heights Data Center supports offices

in Michigan, Mexico, Brazil and over 100 field employees.

Responsible for over a million dollars a day in revenue and supporting more than 100 local and field engineers, any downtime at Kuka’s data center in Sterling Heights, Michigan means a loss of $10,000 or more per hour.


In an independent study conducted in 2013 by Ponemon Institute, a single unplanned outage in U.S. data centers resulted in an average total loss (including indirect, direct and opportunity losses) of $627,000 per incident.

The cost to Kuka’s operations when their network goes down is estimated at $10,000 per hour for the engineering department alone. Mr. Consiglio told us that figure does not take into account the project management, aerospace or controls departments that also depend on the same data center.

Larry Page III, Electrex Industrial’s Project Manager for the Kuka’s UPS electrical installation, explained, “The first thing we had to do was determine the exact power needs that would prevent any downtime of their servers. Too many jobs and too many people depend on the network to cut corners or take short cuts on a job like this.”

“We walked them through all the various solutions available with a focus on their biggest concern – no lost production due to unplanned power outages after we installed the generator.”

In August, Electrex completed installation of a new Generac 150-kW generator with the alternator upsized to 180kW to account for the harmonic distortion caused by the computer servers. They also equipped the natural gas-powered, 6.8L, V10 Generac with an automatic transfer switch that moves the load from the utility to the generator during any power outage.

With this system in place any loss of power from the grid, lasting beyond a few seconds, automatically engages the generator and seamlessly transfers the load to the new backup power supply. The whole process takes place in about 10-15 seconds.


Industrial Automation Detroit | Electrical Contractor Detroit

The natural gas-powered generator allows a truly uninterrupted

power supply for Kuka’s vital data center.

Unlike the battery-powered emergency power system, the natural gas-powered generator ensures a truly uninterruptible power supply. As long as the local utility supplies gas, Kuka’s data center has all the power it needs.

Electrex Industrial’s team of electricians finished the job well within the expected timeline, keeping Kuka’s engineers in the loop as the job progressed, and resulting in zero downtime for any part of their operations.

“Just since Larry and his crew finished the job, it has saved us twice.” Consiglio said.

“I can tell you, since Electrex installed that generator, I sleep better at night.”


About Electrex Industrial

Electrex is a family-owned, 2nd generation, full service industrial electrical contractor founded in 1957. Installation of back-up emergency generators and uninterruptible power supply systems for industrial data centers, industrial shipping and receiving centers, fire departments and other municipalities throughout Michigan is just one area of expertise. Electrex’s full professional capabilities include power distribution, high-voltage service, process piping, renewable energy, electrical service for new construction, and full engineering and design of industrial electrical services. Their automation division, Rexcon Controls and Automation, is likewise an industry leader in industrial automation controls. For more information about this article or Emergency Power products and services visit

Sources: CEIDS Whitepaper- The Cost of Power Disturbances to Industrial and Digital Companies

Ponemon Institute Research Study – 2013 Cost of Data Center Power Outages – US Manufacturing to Outpace GDP Growth: Report

Electrex Industrial Solutions

Kuka Systems North America

For More Information, contact Paul Booth at (586) 468-7571 or email