Sabey, McKinstry Pitch Alternative to Heating Banks in Commissioning


Sabey and McKinstry say their Mobile Commissioning Assistant will pay for itself after being used four times, since it replaces heating banks in the commissioning process (Photo: McKinstry, Sabey)

McKinstry and Sabey Data Centers have developed a device the firms claim can simulate operating conditions in a data center before it is populated with servers and other IT gear.

The companies have filed to patent the thermal simulation technology, which they say can replace heating banks companies usually rent to test new data centers in the commissioning process. Unlike heating banks, the Mobile Commissioning Assistant simulates airflow in addition to temperature.

Simulating power and heat loads is an important part of the commissioning process, used to test whether supporting infrastructure systems in a new data center act as designed.

This is an unusual announcement since neither company is an equipment vendor. McKinstry designs, builds, and operates data centers for companies, and Sabey is a major Seattle-based data center landlord with properties in Washington State, Ashburn, Virginia, and New York City.

Since both companies are heavily involved in data center design and construction, however, commissioning is an important part of their business.

The thermal simulation device physically recreates data center conditions. Companies also use virtual predictive modeling (usually computational fluid dynamics modeling) to see how a certain layout and cooling system design will affect a data center’s thermal environment.

The product includes a heating coil, a fan, and an adjustable duct, all housed on a four-wheeled cart that can be pushed around the data center. The duct mimics effects of containment barriers, while the fan creates air flow and simulates pressurization patterns.

Mobile Commissioning Assistant diagram, courtesy of McKinstry and Sabey

The companies said the thermal simulation device will pay for itself after being used four times instead of renting traditional commissioning equipment.

“Our team is always developing methods to improving operating efficiencies for our clients, and the innovative Mobile Commissioning Assistant product is another way we will accomplish this with our data center projects,” Dean Allen, CEO of McKinstry, said in a statement.

** This article was originally posted on and is re-posted with permission. **

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