PacB Group // Electric Generators are Indispensable to South Africa’s Industrial Sector


Electric Generators are Indispensable to South Africa’s Industrial Sector

Electricity is the lifeblood of the modern economy, while also making an important contribution to the lifestyles of billions of consumers in countries across the world. On the local scene, the advent of electrification offered factory owners a more efficient alternative to the steam engine as the source of power for industrial machinery and generators have subsequently become indispensable to many of South Africa’s manufacturing facilities, as well as to the strategically important mining sector.

The power requirements of a typical heavy industry, such as motor manufacturing, tend to be massive. Even if that which they obtained from the nationwide reticulation network could be relied upon around the clock and throughout the year, in many cases, it would still be insufficient to meet the needs of such users during times of peak loading. While those located on industrial estates may only need to produce power on site to meet shortfalls in the mains supply, many of those who, like mining and construction companies, must often operate in remote regions, are often wholly dependent for their electricity on anything from a single unit to a multiple array of powerful industrial generators.

Large or small, these clever devices all operate on the principle known as electromagnetic induction, first discovered by Michael Faraday in August 1831. Just a few months following his initial observations, he successfully applied this newly-discovered phenomenon to create the first machine capable of producing a pulsed electric current – a precursor of the modern alternator. While there are complex equations to define the relationship between electricity and magnetism, the simple explanation is that an electrical current is induced in a copper coil when it surrounds a rotating magnetic field, and this can then be used to perform work. Nevertheless, it was 30 years before these devices began to replace batteries.

To initiate the effect, some mechanical means is required to rotate the field, and most industrial generators make use of a diesel engine for this purpose, although natural gas is now also gaining ground as a means to provide cleaner-burning engines free of toxic nitrogen oxides present in diesel exhaust fumes. The greater the speed of rotation, the greater will be the current produced, and the more work it will be capable of performing. It is therefore particularly important to determine the maximum power requirement within a given facility when planning a purchase. Overloading can cause serious damage to the generating equipment and lead to expensive repair bills or even replacement costs, as well as loss of production and the associated revenue.

The demand for industrial generators has escalated during the years since 2008 after Eskom shocked the nation with the announcement that it was to introduce a schedule of rolling blackouts. Part of a load shedding programme designed to conserve power for industry and share the inconvenience more equably among other consumers, it consisted of three stages. Stage one would target equal numbers of domestic users on alternate days while stage two would target all domestic users at once. Only when implementing stage three load shedding would industry also be subjected to scheduled power outages.

Since then, South Africa’s manufacturers have experienced stage three load shedding on more than one occasion, and have responded by purchasing even more industrial generators. In some cases, these additional purchases may simply be a precaution to ensure having a spare machine on hand in case another unit should fail as a result of increased use. In other cases, it may be that their existing installation would be unable to meet peak loading requirements without the added support of the mains supply.

Whatever their purpose, manufacturers, mining operations, construction companies, and many more are totally reliant on electricity provided by industrial generators. Quality machines and expert technical support are therefore equally essential. Consequently, a growing number of companies are choosing PacB Group as their preferred supplier.

Our qualified technicians offer support and advice in the selection of the right power solution for your needs by calculating your power requirements.

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