KAO Data situated in KAO Park, Harlow, Essex is a site of historical significance witnessing one of the most important technological breakthroughs of the post-war era – the invention of the Fibre Optic Cable. The discovery in 1966 was so significant that Sir Charles Kao (affectionately known as the Father of Fibre Optics) was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2009.

Work began in 2017 on the £200m, 35-acre campus replacing existing laboratories owned by Northern Telecom with immediate upgrade of the site substation increasing power capacity to 43.5MVA feeding four freestanding data centre buildings.

AF Switchgear were appointed to supply high quality switchgear built to the latest IEC 61439-2 standards, meeting the demands for the modern Data Centre whilst meeting the client’s concurrent maintainability requirements, critical to maintain uptime.

Standardisation of design & delivery were an important factor to consider with repeatable design and standardisation required across the facility. In addition, visual coding was used in the way of clear and bold colours applied to power equipment to assist circuit identification within the A, B & C distributed redundant power scheme.

Phase 1 in 2017, AF Switchgear supplied 2 x 2000kVA Package Substations, 1 x 1600kVA Package Substation, 3 x UPS Output Switchboards, 2 x Landlords Switchboard plus 2 x Landlords UPS Switchboards.

Phase 2 in 2019 resulted in a significant design change. The three packaged Substations remained the same, but changes were made to the UPS Input/Output board designs, integrating them. This not only saved space within the switch rooms themselves but provided additional IT technical space to complement the existing Data Halls for the client.