PacB Group // Industrial Generator Sales Remain High as Mains Outages Persist


Industrial Generator Sales Remain High as Mains Outages Persist

Contrary to the common belief that Thomas Edison was the father of mains electricity, the world’s first public supply can actually be traced to a small town in the English county of Surrey. Built in 1881, a year earlier than Edison’s steam-driven generating plant, it employed a water wheel to drive the Siemens alternator that produced power for both street lighting and homes. Ever since these early efforts, the demand for electricity has continued to grow, as have industrial generator sales.

Although South Africa has a history of electrification that dates from the mid-nineteenth century, there was no nationwide distribution network. Generating services were localised to perform specific locations, such as railway stations docks, parliament, and the mines, and were provided by independent bodies like the General Electric Company, the Rand Central Electric Works, and some municipalities. Those enterprises not served in this manner helped to fuel the growth of industrial generator sales.

This scenario changed dramatically, in 1923, with the establishment of the state-owned Electricity Supply Commission – Escom, more often written as Eskom. As the parastatal’s infrastructure expanded, more industries became reliant upon it to provide them with mains electricity. Over time, it became the largest producer of electricity in Africa, providing about 95% of South Africa’s power requirement. Whether due to poor planning, insufficient funding, or politics, the national service provider was forced to introduce rolling blackouts in late 2007. Despite brief respites, load shedding continues and is, once again, leading to an increase in industrial generator sales. At the same time, many small businesses and homeowners are also needing to rely on a standalone power source when their lights go out.

Although power cuts may be bad news for consumers, the good times have definitely been rolling for manufacturers, such as Perkins, Hyundai, Scania, and Volvo.  The same engines produced by these companies to power private cars, trucks, and agricultural machinery are also used to drive the alternators upon which so many of South Africa’s industries now depend, either because they are remote from the national grid or because they are unable to rely on it.

The companies involved in industrial generator sales are required to do more than just supply them. They must first learn the task for which it is to be used and then design a genset that will be guaranteed to meet the power demands of that task. It might, for example, be required to augment the mains supply at times when this alone is insufficient to meet the peak load of a factory. In other cases, it may simply be required as a spare to use when another unit must be taken offline for routine maintenance or repair.

Today, however, the bulk of industrial generator sales are prompted by the need for a standby machine. In such cases, the company that supplies it should also have the expertise to install an automatic switching facility. This is designed to detect a critical dip in the mains supply and respond by bringing the standby machine or machines online to compensate. Alternatively, a control panel can be programmed to manage scheduled outages.

Also frequently included with industrial generator sales, in this case, the unit is started automatically, a few minutes before the scheduled interruption, in order to synchronise its output with that of the mains before taking over. Once its sensors detect that the mains power has been reinstated, the standby machine is then automatically taken offline.

Electricity is the lifeblood of South Africa’s industries and, in turn, their ability to operate uninterrupted is crucial to the nation’s economy. Industrial generator sales and the services of innovative power solution providers, such as PacB Group, have never been more essential than they are today, in the face of the onging problems with the national power network.

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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