The Chiavari Chair – What would a wedding be without it?

The modern day Chiavari chair is without doubt one of the most popular banqueting chairs currently on the market and it’s easy to see why. It’s an extremely stylish looking seat and because of this can grace a whole range of venues hosting special occasions.

The origins of this chair style go back more than two hundred years and to the town of Chiavari in the Genoa region of Northern Italy and although the style has evolved over the years that have passed, if you compare the early chairs with the most up to date versions, there is a distinct likeness. It is a tribute to the early designers that the Chiavari chair manages to be both classic and current all at the same time.

There’s quite an illustrious history associated with the style too. Back in 1892, Chiavari chairs were gifted to the Pope when the town was recognised as a diocese. In more recent times, it is believed that a silver version of the chair was used during the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

If you are going to a wedding this summer, there is a very good chance you will see the Chiavari on display somewhere, as it remains one of the most popular choices for wedding ceremonies and receptions.

At Ningbo, we stock a trio of Chiavari styles including the Napoleon and the very cool ice chair but the current favourite seems to be the lime wash model which is simple yet stylish and elegant. Made from solid beech wood they are extremely sturdy but still light enough to be moved easily when you need to store or transport them. The chairs are stackable and can be stacked as many as 8-10 high when not in use, which is particularly useful if you need to clean the venue or do a quick change over for a different event.

If you are trying to colour coordinate an event, the seat pads available in a variety of colours will certainly help with that. The seat pads themselves are attached with Velcro, so if you want to mix and match colours, that’s easy to do too.

The benefits keep on coming though as no assembly is required. Once delivered, simply unpack them and set them in your preferred arrangement with no need to worry about lengthy assembly times. The chairs are also BS 7176:2007 resistant to ignition of upholstered furniture for non-domestic seating.

So, whether you are planning a wedding or just looking for new chairs for your restaurant or hotel, why not go Chiavari? You’ll be mightily impressed!

Ricciardo claims first Monte win despite engine issues

Daniel Ricciardo, at the wheel of his Red Bull, took victory from pole position in the Monaco Grand Prix, fending off second placed Sebastian Vettel [Ferrari] despite having a power issue for most of the race. Championship leader Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] took the final podium spot, leading the overall standings by fourteen points from Vettel, while Ricciardo climbed to third.

It was Ricciardo’s first win on the streets of Monte Carlo having topped free practice one, two and three, then set fastest lap to claim pole position.

Daniel Ricciardo, Monte Carlo winner“Finally put it to bed, redemption has been served” beamed Daniel, “It was served kind of cold, we had problems, too many for my liking, but we got there, I’m happy now, we got to the chequered flag first so I’m happy now.

I remember just putting my foot down and I had a significant loss of power, immediately I didn’t know what it was I just thought, it’s done! We had to move the brakes like seven clicks forward because the rears were getting hot. It wasn’t fun, we had to lift and coast a lot to save the brakes, fortunately it happened on a tight circuit like this where it’s hard to overtake”.

1. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
2. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari
3. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
4. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Scuderia Ferrari
5. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
6. Esteban Ocon FRA Sahara Force India F1 Team
7. Pierre Gasly FRA Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
8. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault Sport Formula One Team
9. Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
10. Carlos Sainz Jr. ESP Renault Sport Formula One Team
11. Marcus Ericsson SWE Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team
12. Sergio Perez MEX Sahara Force India F1 Team
13. Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team
14. Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren F1 Team
15. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas F1 Team
16. Sergey Sirotkin RUS Williams Martini Racing
17. Lance Stroll CAN Williams Martini Racing
DNF. Brendon Hartley NZL Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
DNF. Charles Leclerc MON Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team
DNF. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren F1 Team

Monaco Grand Prix – race result

1. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
2. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari
3. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
4. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Scuderia Ferrari
5. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
6. Esteban Ocon FRA Sahara Force India F1 Team
7. Pierre Gasly FRA Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
8. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault Sport Formula One Team
9. Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
10. Carlos Sainz Jr. ESP Renault Sport Formula One Team
11. Marcus Ericsson SWE Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team
12. Sergio Perez MEX Sahara Force India F1 Team
13. Kevin Magnussen DEN Haas F1 Team
14. Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren F1 Team
15. Romain Grosjean FRA Haas F1 Team
16. Sergey Sirotkin RUS Williams Martini Racing
17. Lance Stroll CAN Williams Martini Racing
DNF. Brendon Hartley NZL Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda
DNF. Charles Leclerc MON Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team
DNF. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren F1 Team

How the new aerodynamic regulations will affect the 2019 F1 season

No Formula One season is complete without rule-change controversy, and this year is no exception. Early in May, the FIA announced that there will be sweeping changes to the aerodynamic regulations in 2019, and the changes have divided opinion.

The Formula One Commission, Strategy Group and World Motor Sport Council have all approved the changes, and they have been welcomed by a number of teams, including Mercedes and Ferrari, though not by the Red Bull team or by the two men tussling for the World Drivers’ Championship, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

The changes are separate to the more sweeping new rules that may come in two years later, after the current agreement with the teams expires in 2020, and have been aimed at increasing the possibility of overtaking in the short term. Commercial rights holders Liberty Media have backed the changes, and the hope is that by making it easier to overtake and reduce the costs of developing a Formula One car, Grand Prix will be more entertaining to watch, and the playing field will be levelled, allowing other teams to be more competitive.

Formula 1It is notable that since the V6 turbo hybrid era got underway in 2014, only three of the ten teams involved in the Constructors’ Championship have managed to win a race, and Mercedes have won all three Championships during that period. Formula One is incredibly conscious of its image and keen to dispel the – largely false – impression among the general public that the sport is too predictable and dominated by the richest teams.

What effect will the changes have? Teams and pundits alike will be trying to weigh up the impact of the new rules, along with online sports betting fans who could be anticipating a major shake-up in the Formula One betting markets next season.

The changes focus on three key areas affecting aerodynamics: a simplified front wing featuring a larger span, the removal of winglets from front brake ducts, and a rear wing that is both deeper and wider. The two most obvious impacts are that a Formula One’s car aerodynamics will be simpler, which in theory could help smaller, less wealthy teams to close the gap. It is also likely that there will be an increase in lap times.

Ironically though, the short-term effect may not be a levelling of the playing field. The process of adjusting from the current setup to the new aerodynamic arrangement could be a costly and lengthy one, and once again, it will be the teams with the biggest budgets that will be able to adapt the quickest. It may not be until 2020 that the real benefits of these rule changes will result in a wider spread of Grand Prix wins among the teams.

However, the aim of increasing overtaking is likely to be met. More overtaking will undoubtedly help to make a more exciting and less predictable spectacle for fans, and while not all teams will welcome that, the overall effect is likely to be positive for the sport.

These are not the views of Mike Petch or F1.co.uk

What Is Your UPS Hardware Refresh Policy?

Technology refreshes provided opportunities to improve several operational performance and service areas within a datacentre and server room. Budgets allowing, progressive organisations have a hardware replacement policy for the major assets they operate. However, this tends to focus on ‘operational’ equipment rather than the hardware that is sometimes considered part of the support infrastructure. Examples here include cooling and uninterruptible power supplies. Managing the life cycle and refresh of these critical systems can give rise to major operational improvements.

UPS System Warranty Issues – Inside and Outside Cover

Uninterruptible power supplies as with any other hardware device come with a 12-36month warranty as standard. This will include the operational electronics and electrical components within the UPS system and may extend to any bypass switchgear supplied as part of the installation. The warranty does not cover batteries which are consumable parts and items including fans and capacitors.

Failures inside warranty are covered by the UPS manufacturer or supplier on a back-to-back basis. The reason for a short warranty period (e.g. 12-24 months) is to invite the owner to take out a UPS maintenance contract and/or an extended warranty. The latter may extend the standard warranty up to five years.

A typical UPS maintenance contract will provide access to 24/7 support, at least one or possibly two preventative maintenance visits per year and an emergency call out facility providing either working or clock hour response to site times. Guaranteed repair times are rare with some UPS manufacturers offering this type of service for a premium price.

Outside of warranty all parts are chargeable. This is to be expected with UPS batteries which are generally provided only with the battery supplier’s warranty on a pro-rata basis. Parts chargeable include consumables (fans and capacitors) and circuit boards, breakers and other assemblies inside the UPS which may require repair or replacement.

If an inverter stack or rectifier assembly requires replacement in a three phase UPS, the owner can expect a long downtime period whilst the UPS is repaired and possibly this may not be possible without removing the UPS system to a specialist repair facility or the manufacturer’s factory.

This assumes that spares and trained service engineers are available. Most commercial UPS systems have a manufacturing life of around five to 10 years before a design is refreshed. For industrial UPS this may be longer. The key issue being whether the manufacturer retains a stock of spare parts for end-of-life UPS systems or at least a facility or product line dedicated to manufacturing spares.

If new spare part parts are not available, the UPS service may be reliant on spares availability within the second user market place. Of course, these would not be supplied with any warranty and could be suspect themselves in terms of operational performance.

In terms of engineering support, it is always recommended to use a manufacturer certified UPS engineer who has undertaken service training to the required levels with the manufacturer. For discontinued UPS systems, there may be a lack of trained engineers and even published information available on how to repair or replace a component. If specialist software is also required for the service visit this can again be a limiting factor.

UPS and Battery Failure Rates

On-line UPS systems include an automatic maintenance bypass that allows the uninterruptible power supply to transfer the load to a bypass supply should the mains power supply fail. This is a safety feature to protect both the connected load(s) and the inverter/UPS itself.

As equipment ages the chances of a failure increase exponentially. Preventative maintenance helps to mitigate this and monitoring consumables such as fans, capacitors and battery sets can help to identify suspect components that require more regular inspection and eventual replacement.

A commercial UPS will use either five or 10-year design life batteries.  These will require replacement within 3-4 and seven 7-8 years respectively if they have been operated within the battery manufacturer’s recommended environmental conditions (ambient at 20-25˚C) and with a suitable charging circuit. Most UPS include some form of automatic battery testing, but this cannot be relied upon to identify more than a suspect battery string. The automatic battery testing cannot generally identify a single block failure and it is this sort of scenario that can lead to an eventual UPS battery failure.

Capacitors failure is also common within UPS older UPS systems and most manufacturers recommend a capacitor change around year 8 of a system working life.

Most commercial UPS with a regular battery refresh and preventative maintenance will provide around 10 years incident-free operational performance.

UPS Energy Efficiency

Commercial UPS system development is driven by demand within the server room and datacentre market place. As with other critical systems including air conditioning, the drive in recent years has been to make systems more energy efficient and compact.

Transformer-less UPS systems have become the norm for most server room and datacentre installations with most UPS manufacturers offering tower and rack mount formats. Today’s systems are up to 30-40% more compact that UPS systems from the last decade and offer operational efficiencies up to 96% or greater in on-line mode compared to 80-85%. As important is the ability of these types of uninterruptible power supply to maintain this efficiency over a wide load profile and even down to as low as 25%.

Higher operational efficiencies from the UPS system mean less demands on the air conditioning system and reduced running costs. A saving of just 1% can lead to several thousands of pounds in energy savings (dependent upon the size of the UPS installation).

Transformer-less technologies have been extended by most manufacturers who now offer modular UPS systems in addition to their traditional monoblock devices. Modular UPS systems provide additional features. The primary benefit aside from high operating efficiency is the ability to right-side the UPS sizing to the load profile.

A modular UPS based around a 25 or 50kW UPS module may use a 100, 200, 300 or 500kW frame size. Modules can be installed to meet the load profile today with further modules added to provide additional resilience (N+1) or to meet future expansion. UPS modules can also be removed for deployment elsewhere if the load profile shrinks due to further server virtualisation.

The next 3-5 years will see major changes once again in server room and datacentre technologies. The Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, Edge Computing and the impact of Blockchain systems will provide opportunities for organisations to review both their IT and critical system refresh policies. As they do, this can lead to major operating performance and running cost benefits as well as improving hardware reliability.