Dan Noël, UPS Expert

From 1991 to 2004, Dan worked as a Project Manager and Staff Engineer for MGE UPS Systems, where he ended up as the worldwide expert on high power uninterrupted power supply (UPS) systems and their interaction with other equipment

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Dan

Dan led the design (down to PCB level) and development of the first North American 200 KVA to 4 MVA IGBT PWM UPS systems, which propelled the company from marginal to #2 market player...

  • Starting at the program's inception, Dan contributed to making the product and its development simpler and more robust
  • The 750 kVA UPS module's design and development was the cleanest in the plant’s history:
    • Dan constantly fed team with vision of customers, service personnel and other recipients of design
    • Dan set up an original, swift yet rigorous product structure, document and procurement control process
    • Dan's team, although thin, exceeded quality, schedule and cost objectives
    • project promoted a technician into a manufacturing engineer and an assembler into a technician
    • Operations and Service ended up more comfortable than R&D about releasing to shipment
    • the product lent itself to a successful heavy customization immediately after release into a highly redundant 11 MVA installation for AOL, impressing the contractor

Dan impeccably managed the relationship with European facilities’ Engineering department, which developed the core of the controller.

Dan became the worldwide expert on the operation of these systems and their potential enhancements, from their interaction with third-party equipment such as generators, motors, transfer switches or PDUs, to their microcomputer code.

Dan wrote a technical handbook on these products, recognized as company-wide best.

Dan personally explained the UPS' construction and operation in detail to long-time and prospective customers, strengthening the company’s credibility and occasionally securing orders.

As a competitor bad-mouthed MGE's technological choices, Dan took the initiative to convince skeptical audiences of the soundness of paralleling IGBTs in pulse-width-modulated (PWM) inverters through public conferences such as 7x24 Exchange.

Dan held the line on professionalism against a company-wide focus on short-term appearances during a hard recession from 2000 to 2005:

  • Dan designed and directed the development of a misleading add-on UPS overlap transfer system, while warning that it would backfire on the company's reputation
  • the first engineering prototypes of a 1000 part analog and logic controller operated satisfactorily enough to be shipped
  • by the time Dan left the company, 5 years of combined field operation had yielded no Engineering problem

After spending a week in Excel, Dan predicted some operational limitations of a Static Transfer Switch (STS) controller that were missed by dedicated pre-development team using simulation tools; qualification tests confirmed the limitations a year later.

Dan demonstrated that the pulse width modulation (PWM) technique used in company's 30 to 200 kVA models was inefficient; a few man-days produced a breadboard that slashed ripple in DC capacitors and inverter filter inductors while nudging efficiency up by 0.5%.

Dan proposed a flexible and comprehensive method, based on building blocks, to manage the high variety of Power Distribution Units (PDUs) that would streamline documentation, design and process as an alternative to hundreds of quasi-identical yet one-of-a-kind parts lists and drawings each other and were very tedious to develop and sustain.