Total cost of ownership

Total cost of ownership

Minimum total cost of ownership

A holistic view of costs

Total cost of ownership (TCO) is a figure that identifies all costs associated with capital equipment prior to purchase. It includes acquisition costs and all subsequent costs over the lifetime of the equipment, including repairs, maintenance and power consumption. The TCO also includes the direct and indirect costs.

Directs costs of a high frequency high power transmitter

The direct costs for a high frequency (HF) high power transmitter include its costs along with the infrastructure needed for its operation, such as the building housing the transmitter, the physical power supply, the cooling systems and the control equipment. Other direct costs include installing and commissioning the transmitter and the infrastructure associated with the maintenance and servicing of the power supply.

Indirect costs

Indirect costs can result from unproductive or inefficient equipment usage. A user might need to keep a transmitter operationally available at all times and have back-up systems. These are typical indirect costs.

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Maximum reliability, minimum costs: Fewer single points of failure and lower total cost of ownership

Total cost of ownership and modern liquid cooling technology

Modern self-contained liquid cooling technology has a much better TCO for an HF transmitter compared to forced-air cooling. Both require specific buildings and infrastructure. Liquid cooled transmitters have higher power density and their TCO is lower than that of transmitters with forced air cooling. Both have similar energy requirements and generate similar levels of waste heat but much lower maintenance and service costs for liquid cooling technology make the real difference in TCO.

Liquid cooling vs. forced air cooling

The benefits of the innovative cooling system

Liquid cooling vs. forced air cooling

The R&S®SK41xx HF wideband transmitter has a self-contained liquid cooling system. Liquid cooling is essential to HF transmitters and requires no additional equipment, lowering procurement and operating costs.

The TCO for traditional forced air-cooled HF transmitters includes existing building infrastructure such as an air conditioner to keep the transmitter room at an adequate operating temperature and supply a continuous flow of dry, cooled air. The flow of waste heat from the transmitter and other equipment such as non-cooled circuits is discharged into the transmitter room, increasing power consumption for the entire system.

The additional cooling equipment for a transmitter station with ten 10 kW HF transmitters and the building air conditioning system consume an average of 0.4 kW of electricity to dissipate 1 kW of thermal power using an existing air conditioning system. This is consistent with current programmes for upgrading existing HF backbones. Assuming eight hours of daily operation, the transmitters pay for themselves in 26 years. If transmitters are used 24 hours a day, they pay for themselves in nine years.

Cost comparison liquid cooling vs. forced air cooling


In terms of TCO, self-contained liquid cooling technology is clearly superior.

The TCO takes into consideration other expenses besides energy costs. Modern self-contained liquid cooling systems are superior to forced air systems because of:

  • Lower capital investment:
    No additional air compression equipment is needed ant the air conditioning systems can be much smaller, both in new buildings and renovated structures. Also, the emergency power units can be smaller thanks to reduced energy requirements.
  • Lower installation costs:
    Less equipment required and 40mm hoses are easier to install and less expensive than large-volume customized air ducts.
  • Lower maintenance and repair costs:
    Less equipment is to maintain and repair, liquid cooling technology has fewer moving parts, there is less wear and tear and longer maintenance intervals.
  • Closed cooling system benefits:
    HF transmitter is not exposed to harsh environments and the precise cooling with heat dissipating components reduces the thermal load for HF transmitters
  • Reduced indirect costs:
    Less maintenance and servicing mean that back-up systems can be much smaller. There is no single point of failure from forced air generation in the entire transmitter station , no single point of failure in the entire transmitter station from an air conditioning system and more HF transmitters can be operated in parallel using the same power grid connection thanks to the lower transmitter station energy consumption. energy consumption

If all these costs are taken into consideration, liquid cooled systems pay for themselves in less than 20 years with an average transmission time of eight hours a day.

The TCO and carbon footprint can be reduced most effectively by using waste heat from an HF transmitter to heat buildings. This is technically very easy to implement thanks to the closed cooling system and the liquid cooling medium because liquid-to-liquid heat exchangers can recycle the waste heat.

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