Powering Your Customer’s New Job Site
December 19, 2018 — There’s no time for convention on the job site. Sticking with what has always been done can be an expensive mistake. When it comes to powering the job site, convention is a hindrance. “In the past, we brought in one large generator and put it into a distribution box, which powered the various needs across the site,” said Brett Shive, senior field service technician at Allmand. “If the generator ran when you weren’t using power, it was no big deal back then. But in today’s world, using the distribution power method can be troublesome, since oversized generators aren’t always run at nominal load.”
With new Tier 4 emissions standards, running a generator below nominal load can lead to wet stacking. This occurs when the generator is run on too light of a load for the size of the generator and fails to reach the correct operating temperature, meaning unburned fuel is exhausted and interpreted as wetness in the exhaust system. This then causes the generator to shut down, leading to expensive downtime on the job site.
For example, if your customer estimated a power need for around 60 kW, then renting them a 65 kW unit ensures they would be capable of generating all the power potentially needed for the job. However, the generator would typically be underused and would not run at full load. “Often, only half of the power a generator can produce is used on the site,” said Shive. Giving the customer more power than they need serves as a safeguard — more is always better, right?
This is not the case on today’s job sites. Moving away from the one-size-fits-all mentality can create opportunities for improved operations. “Implementing multiple smaller generators promotes a more efficient work site,” said Shive. “Strategically placing several generators around the site to provide the power that’s needed, when and where it’s needed, ultimately saves run time, prevents downtime and gets the job done in a timely manner.”
This not only helps your customer power more efficiently, but reduces the potential for downtime, meaning your equipment is turned around faster.
You need just two pieces of information to equip a customer with power for their job site: the overall power demand and the demand timing. Once you have that information, you can determine how many generators the customer actually needs for the job and how many running watts they need per generator.
Breaking away from the tradition of putting one large generator on the site offers the crew flexibility. “Having multiple small generators allows crews to distribute power around the job site to exactly where it’s needed, cutting down on long runs of cabling and providing effective power across the site,” said Shive.
Multiple generators in strategic locations also provide the power needed at the time it’s needed. “If your customer has a large piece of equipment that needs power but doesn’t run eight hours out of the day, you can rent them a generator specifically for the time they’re running that equipment while supplying power for the rest of the job with a secondary generator,” advised Shive.
Power in Pairs
In the past, if a generator was faulty or required maintenance, downtime was a given. With this new method on the job site, multiple generators give your customers peace of mind. “If something happens to one generator, they can bring the second unit over so the entire job site doesn’t shut down,” said Shive. The reliability of on-demand power ensures the job is never interrupted, saving costs and preserving productivity.
The implementation of Tier 4 emission regulations also greatly impacts the value of running several small generators at full load, versus having one large under-utilized generator. Tier 4 engines use diesel particulate filters to limit the amount of particulate matter that is emitted through exhaust. The use of these filters, however, means that if your customer doesn’t run your generator at a nominal load, those particulates begin to block the mesh and can cause airflow to stop.
If the airflow is interrupted, the generator will shut down. “Now, you’re looking at one hour of downtime while the generator goes through its regeneration process to clear out particulate matter,” said Shive. “That’s an hour that you can’t power the job site, and without power, there’s no productivity.”
The New Job Site
By changing the way you power your customer’s job site, you can improve their operations, increase uptime and ensure productivity — all while meeting the new Tier 4 emission regulations. Swapping traditional large generators to integrate several strategically placed units across the job site provides reliable backup power that won’t lead to downtime and the need for unplanned maintenance.
Equip the job site with the power it needs — in the areas it’s needed — for a more efficient operation. Welcome to the new job site.