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Customer-Centric Approach to Innovation in the Racks and Cabinet Market Gains Plaudits

Based on its recent analysis of the racks and cabinets market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Minkels with the 2013 European Frost & Sullivan Award for Entrepreneurial Company of the Year. Minkels is setting new standards in technology development with the launch of its Next-Generation Cold Corridor®. This innovative aisle containment solution has been developed to meet current and future dynamic user requirements in the demanding data centre environment.

Minkels serves its customers both directly and through a widespread network of international distribution channel partners, which it carefully selects based on their knowledge and expertise in the data centre arena. After its acquisition by the global major, Legrand, in 2012, Minkels leveraged the company’s international logistics and distribution assets to increase its global penetration rate. Minkels has successfully ventured into new geographies such as the U.S., the Middle East, Russia, and Scandinavia. It also has subsidiaries of its own in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and the UK.

One of the key reasons for Minkels’ growth excellence is its collaborations with customers, which enable it to better understand market needs and design solutions that cater to those exact needs. It has implemented multi-site production, operations, and logistics to be as close to its customers as possible.

“Minkels’ data centre solution portfolio has been built with two core principles: modularity and energy-efficiency,” said Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Gautham Gnanajothi. “The modular design of its data centre products not only ensures highly scalable solutions that adapt to the dynamic needs of a data centre environment, but also enhances a customer-centric approach, meeting specific customer requirements.”

There is an increasing need in the current market to integrate cold aisle containment with technologies such as row-based cooling, power distribution, fire suspension systems, and cable management within racks. In order to address these challenges, Minkels became the first data centre vendor to commercially launch the Next-Generation Cold Corridor, which is a highly flexible solution with substantial modularity. It offers greatly enhanced airflow management and is an extremely energy-efficient solution; it offers a combination of integrated and optional features based on clients’ needs.

The company has also developed two new water-based cooling systems (Minkels Varicondition H2O-316 and the Minkels Varicondition H2O-650) for data centres, which can be placed between racks. The Varicondition H2O-316 is designed to support the cooling needs of companies with decentralized server rooms, whereas the Varicondition H2O-650 is designed to suit high-density applications in commercial data centres.

“As optimising airflows in the data centre can result in significant energy-savings, Minkels’ R&D department performed extensive testing on air flow management and cooling air leakage, both on rack and Cold Corridor levels,” noted Gnanajothi. “The R&D results will provide data centre managers with vastly improved energy-efficiency in a Cold Corridor environment, thus catering to PUE-optimisation needs.”

Other examples of Minkels’ customer-centric product innovations include the stand-alone cold corridor for extreme flexibility in operations and investment. It is a construction without any racks and provides comprehensive integration options for third-party equipment. It is a pay-as-you-grow solution, which considerably reduces the CAPEX investment. Minkels also developed the row-based Varicondition DX and H2O energy-efficient cooling solutions, and zero air loss server racks for air tightness of racks and Cold Corridors.

Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated excellence in devising a strong growth strategy and robustly implementing it. The recipient has shown strength in terms of innovation in products and technologies, leadership in customer value as well as speed in response to market needs. In short, the award looks at the emerging market players in the industry and recognises their best practices that are positioned for future growth excellence.

Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.

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