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Foxconn granted patents for data centre container technology

Tue 16 Dec 2014

Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn Technology group has patented two data centre containers, each with different cooling systems and technology which enables solar panel powering.

Foxconn, the contract manufacturers of HP x86 servers, Xbox, and Apple’s iPhone, has now been building its own data centre container business and was granted three patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, from October to November. The patents granted to Hon Hai Precision (Foxconn’s registered name) list the data centre containers, as well as their support infrastructure.

One patent describes Foxconn’s solar energy panel power system and DC to AC voltage converter. The technology includes a unit which identifies whether the solar panels are producing enough energy to power the container’s servers. If there is not sufficient sunlight, the system is able to switch over to alternative power sources.

The first of the two patented cooling systems consists of a raised floor and an air conditioning unit for each rack. This first model is designed for higher-density systems, with every air conditioner comprising of an evaporator coil, a fan on top of the rack and compressor, a condensing coil, and an additional fan underneath. Further racks and AC units can be added to fit requirement.

The second system has a single air conditioning unit attached to the outside of the module which supplies the cool air through a raised floor. Designed for optimised cooling efficiency, each rack contains a temperature gauge which links to a micro control unit. In turn the micro controller drives a motorised panel which slides across the floor opening a series of cooling vents in front of each rack as necessary.

Modular or container data centres provide additional data centre capacity without the need for further construction or engineering. The modules come pre-fitted with all of the necessary power and cooling systems, and simply require a network, a power supply, and a source of cool water. They are the preferred choice for temporary capacity needs, such as in war zones or on oil rigs.

Foxconn will face heavy competition in the container arena from big players such as Emerson Network Power, Schneider Electrical, and other IT giants including Dell and IBM.

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