ABB helps protect data at Weta Digital – makers of hit movie, Avatar
The new award-winning supercomputer center of New Zealand digital effects company Weta Digital – makers of Avatar and other blockbuster movies – is protected from the potentially devastating effects of power grid disturbances by a uniquely compact and energy-efficient technology pioneered by ABB.
Inaugurated in 2008, Weta Digital’s extreme density data center recently won a prestigious international engineering award for a design that consumes only 60 percent of the energy and is one-fourth the size of comparable installations.
The two ABB AVC2 active voltage conditioners – which protect the entire site from the potentially destructive effects of voltage sags and power surges - were singled out for a special mention in the award motivation for contributing direct energy savings of four percent.
Two ABB AVC2s protect Weta Digital’s extreme density data center in New Zealand – one of the 200 largest supercomputer centers in the world – from power grid disturbances like power surges Weta Digital is one of the most successful visual effects companies in the movie industry. Its long and impressive merit list includes the world’s latest must-see movie, Avatar, which has grossed more than $2.4 billion to date, according to Time magazine.
About 60 percent of Avatar is computer-generated. This requires vast computer processing and data storage resources, which in turn require large volumes of electricity to power both the servers and the cooling systems that prevent the center’s 4,000 blade servers and 40,000 processors from overheating.
Weta Digital selected the ABB solution on the advice of their lead engineering consultant, Richard Snow of Intellex. Comparing the active voltage conditioners (AVCs) to the alternative of installing large numbers of uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units, Snow said:
“With a system efficiency approaching 99 percent, very significant energy savings were achieved [with the AVCs] over the alternative of UPS, where the best we could expect was efficiencies in the mid-90s percentage range. Our chosen approach means that Weta can achieve very significant energy savings.”
Not only are the AVCs more efficient, they require only a fraction of the floor space of a UPS solution. They are not subject to the same intensive maintenance requirements and have a considerably longer service life than the five or so years of UPS batteries.
The AVC2 active voltage conditioner is an inverter-based system that protects sensitive industrial and commercial loads from voltage disturbances. An ABB innovation, it provides fast, accurate voltage sag and surge correction as well as continuous voltage regulation and load voltage compensation.
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