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Spotlight on Power Generation

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What is power generation?

Power generation is required where the mains are either unavailable or insufficient. Typical applications in construction include cranes, conveyors, concrete mixing/pumping, pile driving, substation outages and the supply to hand held power tools.

A generator is a piece of equipment that basically converts diesel fuel into electrical power.

There are three types of generator which are stand alone, island and parallel.

Stand alone – is not connected with other generators or the utility. As an isolated unit it supplies power to all connected load. Examples: emergency generators, aggregates or portable diesel generator sets.

Island – in island operation, a generator is connected with other generators but not with the utility. As an isolated system the generators supply all power to the connected load. Examples: power systems on ships, on offshore platforms or in the desert.

Parallel – two generators working in parallel (load sharing) are used mainly for events where power loss would be costly and inconvenient. If for one reason one generator fails, the other generator will take over the load without any power interruption. Each generator must be capable of handling the full load alone.

What you need to know when you require a generator

Most of our customers size a generator in two ways:

  1. By stating the number of Amps. kW or kVA
  2. By telling us what electrical equipment requires power

What we need to establish is if it is a single or three-phase generator that is required. These are typical items that require single or three-phase:

Single phase:

  • Single cabin
  • Most power tools
  • Site lighting
  • Domestic appliances
  • Small electric motors (under 4kW)

Three phase:

  • Large cabin complex
  • Electric motors (above 4kW)
  • Industrial/commercial applications

The next thing is to calculate the loadings for equipment to be used. Typical ones are:

  • Single boiling ring    1.2kW                   
  • Microwave               1.4kW                   
  • Convector heater     3.0kW                   
  • Fan heater              3.0kW                   
  • Fluorescent light      0.1kW                   
  • Kettle                     3.0kW
  • Fridge                     0.6kW
  • Photocopier             1.4kW
  • Computer                1.0kW
  • Printer                    0.3kW

Understanding how many appliances will be on at any one time should also be considered (this is known as the diversity factor).

Our range of generators runs from several hours to 24 hours with a standard fuel tank, but this can be increased by adding an external tank or reducing generator load.

When siting a generator we ensure that exhaust fumes will not affect personnel and the unit has sufficient airflow to keep it cool. No other equipment or buildings should be within two metres of any of the four sides and a greater distance may be required from the radiator.

Questions you may be asked when hiring a generator

  • What type of generator is required?
  • Length of hire?
  • Capacity required in kVA to power equipment?
  • Duty: unlimited hours, set number of hours per week, or standby?
  • Position of generator?
  • What is it to do? Power motors, heating, lighting?
  • What phase? Three or single?
  • What loading is there? Amps/Watts etc.?
  • When is it required?
  • Will it be attended or unattended?
  • Collection/delivery required?

To find out more about our power generation range or to make an enquiry, please contact 0370 050 0797.


Posted in The Wider World


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