Anybody can go out and buy an industrial generator. However, matching up the right generator to the demands and needs of a facility can be another story entirely. In fact, proper industrial generator selection is one of the most critical elements of such a purchase. The bottom line remains the same regardless of brand or model – if the unit can meet demand when it’s needed, the unit is worthless. In fact, choosing the wrong model can actually make a situation worse by either destroying the generator or devices and assemblies connected to it.
There are different models and functions available, and a new buyer would not be blamed for being confused within the first five minutes of looking at inventories. Trying to make sense of standby, versus motor-starting, versus single or three phase, kW, or KVA is enough to make a person’s head spin at least once.
First off, one needs to understand there are multiple generator sizes to choose from. These categories are separated by power supply capacity levels ranging from 5 kW to as much as 50 kW for individual use. For industrial use, the figures get bigger, ranging from a base of 50 kW to as much as 3 Megawatts, or a small power plant. Industrial units often serve the needs of offices, data centers that need uninterrupted power supply, and industrial or factory needs. As a rule of thumb, choosing a bigger generator than assumed as needed is better. Having more capacity is a far better position to be in than not having enough in an emergency.
Second, fuel type needs to be considered. Gasoline-driven generators are common, but they don’t necessarily work in every environment. For example, in very cold environments diesel is a far better choice as it is not nearly as susceptible to freezing. Supply for the location can be an issue too. Some fuel types may be far harder to obtain locally or under emergency conditions than others. Consideration of these possibilities can help choose the right machine for most situations a business may face.
Third, the generator chosen needs to be a reliable one. It’s often the case that the generator is needed because the main power source has either gone out, been taken down because of some kind of repair or maintenance, or used as a backup system for preventative measures. Whatever the case, when that generator has to be turned on, it needs to do so every time a demand hits. Otherwise, it’s just a big heavy piece of junk. So going with a cheap, unknown brand to save a few dollars can be a big mistake operationally. Going with proven generator manufacturers who have been tested and have a proven track record will avoid a lot of heartburn down the road.
There will be plenty of details and technical know-how to cover, but the above three categories are critical to choosing the right industrial generator. It doesn’t hurt to have an electrician’s advice as well, especially for specific hookups and load needs that will be occurring. However, the buyer will still have to make the final decision, and going too small can be a major error the first time the generator has to be fired up.