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9 Feb 2022

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Supply chain issues may threaten safety of data centers in Europe

Euralarm, a trade organization for the fire and safety industry in Europe, warns about supply chain problems that could negatively impact safety. In spite of the fact that the organization fails to specifically mention the data center and cloud sectors, it should be obvious that availability of digital services may be threatened by a lack of critical components used in fire and safety solutions.

One-way traffic signs

The pandemic has also caused supply chain disruptions in the fire safety and security industry. As a result, not only manufacturers of equipment, but also companies offering services and maintenance of systems, are affected.

Building safety can also be affected by other factors. As an example, recommended emergency escape routes that were in place before the lockdowns are now mixed with the one-way traffic signs meant to allow employees to pass at a safe distance from one another.

Product compliance

Paul van der Zanden, General Director of Euralarm adds: “Another relevant topic that affects our industry is the compliance of the products that the industry delivers. With electronic components not being available due to the supply chain problems, manufacturers need to reconsider replacement of parts that aren’t available. With the replacement of certain components, however, the conformity of the final product may also be compromised". The product may need to be recertified and retested. This could result in unnecessary and high costs. There may be consequences for data centers as well.

Effects for the Green Deal

In order to meet the energy and climate targets for 2030 and beyond, it is also essential to ensure a sustainable supply of metals and minerals that are used for fire safety and security equipment. The European Green Deal aims to make the EU’s economy sustainable. Due to both the climate crisis and the COVID-19 outbreak, that creates many opportunities for European society and industry. The transition to green technologies, such as renewable energy, e-mobility, and stationary energy storage, relies heavily on critical raw materials, such as cobalt, neodymium, tungsten, etc. as well as on new products and services. Both globally and in Europe, it is expected that demand for these materials will continue to grow. This can pose a challenge to the Green Deal.

Extracting and processing these resources has a high environmental impact, and supply chains are often opaque and may lack traceability. Recycling these materials is also a problem. The recycling efficiency of most critical raw materials is low and the reliance on non-EU countries is high.

Photo credit: Bernard Hermant

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