Generators are an important part of the industrial world. They can be portable or stationary and are designed to provide a significant amount of power in order to run engines and various machines inside of industrial operations. Generator sets can range anywhere from 20 kW to 2500 kW, thus are able to meet the needs of your operation.
When you choose a generator, it’s important to look at whether it runs on diesel or natural gas. It’s also important to look at the different industrial controls available as this will allow you to maintain the highest level of control and alter the performance as needed based upon the environment that it will be expected to perform in.
What is the Control Panel?
It’s important to understand exactly what the industrial generator controls are. Essentially, these are the controls found throughout the control panel that will display all of the different parameters. You will have access to measurements such as current, voltage and frequency.
These controls are found on virtually every generator from Caterpillar to Cummins. What makes them industrial is their ability to work in even the toughest of conditions. They need to be protected against weather, fatigue, corrosion and more. That’s why the meters and gauges will be in a metallic body. Some panels will also be protected under a layer of hard plastic as an additional safety.
Why Are the Controls So Important?
The controls are what allow the generator to work in the manner that you need it to. In the advanced generators, many of the processes are handled automatically, which means it requires absolutely no input on your end. There are thresholds built into the machine and a microprocessor will adjust the internal controls as needed to prevent from overheating.
Many of the control panels will also be outfitted with a switch-off button or a turn-key in order to override the main system. This will allow you to go in and alter the program or make adjustments based upon what the system is intended to do.
There are sensors located throughout the generator that will communicate with the microprocessor. It can detect a power outage on the local power grid and turn the generator on. It can sense heat, moisture, and a variety of other things.
Membrane switches are growing increasingly popular inside of the industrial generator controls because they are affordable and can withstand a significant amount of abuse. This is because the flexible rubber membrane is more tolerable than traditional hard switches. There are also membrane keypads that are temperature and water proof to be used as the main keypad for users to input data into the generator. By using such a keypad, it will allow you to go into the control panel and view a significant amount of information based upon what the sensors are reading. You can find out how much diesel is in the system, how much resources are being drained from the generator and how long it has been running.
Industrial generator controls are found on almost all generators and engines in today’s market. The manufacturer has already established a control panel of one kind or another. Most of the common attributes include an LCD screen, oil pressure sensors, water temperature sensors, set points, start/stop capabilities and some sort of shut-off function in the event of an emergency.
Some of the settings can be easily manipulated while others cannot. For the most part, the generator is going to run without a lot of input from you. The automation is significant in control panels and this is why so many companies are using them.
If you have specific needs, however, you will likely be able to work with the manufacturer in order to obtain a specialized control panel. This will allow you to make some necessary tweaks on your own to ensure that the generator meets the requirements of your operation. Some of the areas where you may want to control include the way that operators interact with the control panel, how the unit comes online and what information is displayed from the sensors.
Acquiring the Right Generator
Whether you buy new or used, it’s important to get a generator that is powerful enough to provide power to all of your systems that you need on-site. You will want to explore a unit that can provide power no matter where you are, indoors or out. It may be an emergency power source or it may be your only power source.
Either way, you will need to define your needs in terms of the controls and ensure they are tough enough to handle the environment they will be subjected to. Different manufacturers have different displays and you can always look into a customizable solution if needed.