The doors of a model server structure swing back and forth as WorkSafe Technologies owner Don Hubbard pushes the ISO-base platform back and forth to demonstrate its earthquake-safe movement at a company expo in their Valencia offices. Katharine Lotze/The Signal.
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Do you think your firm’s critical computer room and data center is hearty enough to survive a catastrophe? Try running it through a real live test, like the ones a Valencia-based firm has survived.

More reliable than any comic book superheroes,W orkSafe Technologies’ earthquake-resistant equipment survived one of the world’s largest earthquakes and another of the world’s most damaging ones. There’s no stronger quality tests that the company could have conducted, nor any seals of approval which would have demonstrated the worthiness of its products.

Now in its 25th year in business, the firm has already sold over 200,000 of its ball bearing-loaded platforms – the ISO-Base isolators – to protect sensitive computer and information technology infrastructure in a disaster. The bases are installed throughout 31 countries with high seismic activity.

But, concerned that data centers have been leaving California, WorkSafe Technologies debuted its newest cooling and earthquake-resistant platforms for racks of computer servers and IT equipment to distributors and customers at its warehouse in Valencia in August. The expo served as the launch of several new products that service and protect critical IT facilities, allowing them to maintain frontline operations during and after an earthquake.

“Data centers have been moving out of state due to high energy costs and concerns over earthquakes,” said Don Hubbard, president of WorkSafe. “It’s a shame because we’re the technology leaders here in California; we’re the antidote to high energy costs and seismic activity.”

Massive disasters

On March 11, 2011, with $25 billion of equipment at stake, WorkSafe Technologies had its platforms installed at 1,700 sites in Japan when a 9.0 magnitude quake struck. It was among the top five largest earthquakes of all times, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

A hair-raising two weeks passed before the company could communicate with all of its clients. Despite the intense shaking, WorkSafe’s equipment out-performed every competitor according to reports received by clients. Not one piece of equipment was lost, while the competitions’ failed, Hubbard said at the time.

The next test came when its equipment protected critical systems during the April 25, 2015, Nepal earthquake. The quake triggered the massive avalanche that killed 21 people on Mount Everest, making it the deadliest day on the mountain in history, according to Associated Press. It flattened entire villages, injured more 2,500 people, killed more than 200, and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

“Our equipment helped the U.S. Embassy in Nepal remain operational during the Nepal earthquake, allowing the U.S. to lead and command the major recovery operation,” Hubbard said.

The company’s ISO-Base isolation products are now part of the State Department’s Seismic and Blast Strengthening Program for all U.S. Embassies in high seismic zones, he said. It was these latest designed platforms that the firm debuted at its expo, and introduced the next innovation the firm is working on.

Platforms

Able to accommodate varying weights and sizes, the platforms help to isolate and protect critical equipment from the damage of heavy shaking in a quake by spreading weight over free rolling bases.

Built as two-level, ball bearing, seismic platforms, they are designed to shield sensitive information systems in a quake, allowing little transfer of energy between what’s happening during violent shaking at the ground level and the equipment stored in racks above the platforms. The platforms help eliminate the pathways through which damaging vibrations and shock waves travel.

WorkSafe also showed off new platforms designed for hot and cold containment systems that combine air management solutions, along with seismic protection. The new platforms were designed with its partner Upsite Technologies and help to cool systems at the rack levels to save energy. Its next project: flooring.

Flooring system

With over 30 patents on its products in the U.S. and throughout the world’s seismically active countries, WorkSafe isn’t content to rest on its successes. It’s also launching a new heavy-duty Seismic Isolated Raised Access Flooring system to withstand heavy weight loads while protecting sensitive computer operations in high seismic areas. This new floor will meet the stringent standards of California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development and other high seismic design codes, Hubbard said.

“It’s the strongest flooring system you could ask for in a seismic event. It serves as a barrier,” Hubbard said. “Traditional floors are never really strong enough. Most computer rooms have raised floors one to four inches tall. The base (of the IT racks) is often under floor. We’ve invented a new flooring base that isolates the activity in a three-dimensional way.”

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