Why Drop Away Ceilings are Essential to Data Centers
By: Shane Streator
The proper functioning of a data center is largely dependent on the components remaining protected from the harmful effects of excessive temperatures or fires. Installing the right ceiling structure is essential to the goal of keeping the data center at its optimal temperature. Drop-away ceilings are the perfect choice, as they combine superior function, ease in installation, and customization options.
What are drop-away ceilings?
If you are not familiar with drop-away ceilings, they are exactly what their name describes. A drop-away ceiling is an overhead enclosure on a data center aisle that is designed to drop to the floor when it is triggered by a specific stimulus. In the case of data centers, the stimulus is generally heat. When placed on top of a data center aisle, a drop-away ceiling will fall to the floor to allow fire suppression methods to reach the components located within the server aisle.
How does a drop-away ceiling work?
When the temperature in the data center becomes too hot, the low temperature contracting thermoplastic ceiling panels do not melt. Instead, they contract at approximately 135˚ to the point where they are able to fall out of the frame to the floor, causing the top of the enclosure to be open. The open top allows any fire suppression nozzles that are attached to the ceiling of the data center to spread the chosen suppression media into the data center and extinguish a fire.
Benefits of a drop-away ceiling
Protecting your data center aisles with a drop-away ceiling offers many benefits. First, there is a great financial savings when you opt for a drop-away ceiling because they require fewer nozzles than other types of ceilings do. Another benefit is that they are able to limit air mixing which will assist with the overall air temperature in the data center and reduce short cycling of cooling systems. Finally, drop-away ceilings can be custom-made to accommodate any need you have.
Although drop-away ceilings can be custom-made, their standard size is 2’ x 4’. The ceiling panels are usually made from clear heat-resistant plastic. However, they can come in an opaque frosted variety as well. You can choose the finish of the panels based on your cost, aesthetic and privacy needs.
Installing drop-away ceilings
Many drop-away ceilings are equipped with a non-gasket design. This feature allows the ceiling to be installed by just about anyone. Non-gasket ceilings are designed so the ceilings can snap together easily with no bolting or gaskets required for a secure fit. They are generally sold as kits with the intent of the end-user performing the assembly. This design is yet another way the cost of the drop-away ceiling can be kept down. Those who do not wish to perform the assembly on their own can always opt to have the manufacturer do it instead.
If you think a drop-away ceiling is the right option for your data center, contact AmCraft Manufacturing today. Our drop-away ceilings are high-quality, cost-effective, customizable, and 100% made in the USA.