powervar1SPAR, the UK’s leading convenience store group, has over 2,600 stores across the UK – more than 200 owned and run directly by Tates Limited.

When Tates decided to upgrade its in-store till systems to the latest touch-screen EPOS units, it used power quality company POWERVAR, to implement complete power solutions to guarantee reliability, prevent sudden failures and achieve energy savings.

The majority of stores are open from early morning to late evening, which means that the core IT systems such as EPOS have to perform well for sustained periods. System reliability is crucial and the IT team is charged with reviewing every area that could pose a threat to the stores’ performance and profitability.

Even if the power is down temporarily, Tates needs to be able to complete transactions and be ready for power to be restored without uncontrolled system crashes. While power failures are relatively rare, when they happen they’re serious.

The conventional power network was not designed for the sensitivities of sophisticated electronic equipment. Spikes, surges and other disruptions are frequent, and while most of the time they cause little visible damage they can have a corrosive effect on sophisticated electronics, eg EPOS systems resulting in sudden failure.

Tates’ IT Manager, Martin Rushton, is aware of the potential problems of power failures and power quality.  He’s also conscious of being as energy efficient as possible.

His starting point was a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) system to provide power back-up. Martin’s requirements were driven by experience with the current UPS systems, which provided backup when power was lost, but did nothing about transient spikes that often caused disruption for IT equipment.

“We have to do everything we can to keep stores operating, to avoid downtime and be environmentally responsible. So we decided to look for something that could offer total protection and control”.

POWERVAR’s UPM (uninterruptible power manager) technology provided the backup and security normally expected from UPSs, but added power conditioning, actively cleaning the supply and removing disruptions that erode sensitive components of the EPOS systems.

Tates also turned to POWERVAR’s specially-developed software to switch EPOS systems off at midnight and on again at 6am – one hour after store closure and one hour before opening. “We estimate we are now achieving power savings of around 25 per cent, helping our drive to become increasingly environmentally-friendly.”

The software and UPMs are being rolled out across Tates SPAR stores – to around 600 EPOS lanes. To date three-quarters of stores owned by Tates have been equipped with UPMs. The software rollout is due to be completed in a few months.

Powervar Ltd

Tel: 01793 553980


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