How to Choose the Right Industrial Generators for Your Company
Given the current shortfalls in the mains electricity supply network more and more South Africans are finding it necessary to generate their own power, at least during those periods when Eskom is engaged in load shedding. For the domestic user, the choice is relatively simple and revolves mainly around how much power will be required for the tasks chosen and whether to opt for a petrol or diesel-driven unit. By contrast, on a mine or in a vehicle assembly plant, there are a number of additional factors to consider, and so choosing the right industrial generators is not quite as straightforward.
Of course, whether intended for domestic or commercial use, the function of these devices is still to provide an adequate source of electricity. In the latter situation, however, the appropriate choice will need to be based as much upon how that power is to be used as upon how much of it a given user will require. For example, in remote mining locations, beyond the reach of the national power grid, they will be required to serve as the sole source of power. Given the high overall demand, such installations tend to need multiple units in order to cope. In addition to their being of adequate capacity, some form of automated control system will also be necessary in order to synchronise their operation and adjust their output in response to changes in the load demand.
More commonly, however, a typical factory located in one of a city’s industrial areas is likely to rely both upon generators and a mains supply to satisfy its electrical power needs. In such cases, the in-house power source may be required to compensate for a deficit in the mains supply at times of peak load, augmenting the Eskom power rather than replacing it. Increasingly, however, plant owners consider it wise to acquire additional units so that, in the event of a mains outage, their total generating capacity remains sufficient for them to maintain normal production levels.
In this case, too, some sophisticated control mechanism will be needed to sense a mains failure and to switch smoothly to the backup supply. Where load shedding is in operation, forewarning of the proposed times makes it possible to programme the controls to begin the transition and synchronise currents with no interruption to a factory’s activities. When the mains supply is later restored again, the automated control panel will provide a seamless switchover.
All machines, including industrial generators, are prone to breakdowns, and it should therefore be a standard practice, wherever these are in use, to implement a programme of preventative maintenance to minimise the chance of such an occurrence. During enforced downtime, backup units will obviously be required and this is just one more contingency to consider when planning an installation.
The scenarios described above offer a fair summary of the likely needs of most industries in South Africa. That said, however, no two situations are ever truly identical. For a world-class genset and an installation tailored to meet the unique needs of your company, it will pay you to have a chat with an expert at PacB Power Solutions.
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