Saturday, October 24, 2020

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Guest Article- FG Wilson Asif Pacific

Powering On Or Powering Out?

There are many facets to buying a generator, operating it, and maintaining it. MITHILESH SINGH, MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS, FG WILSON ASIA PACIFIC, explains the various decisions that go together into buying it, and addressing all these facets.


If you’re working on a construction site, the likelihood is that you’ll have a generator set running to provide temporary power, possibly running all day for the duration of the project. Buying a generator set can be an important decision and once you have it installed, some simple advice can help you maintain it for a long and productive life.

There are many different generator sets in the market and all of them fill a useful niche. The best one to buy depends a lot on what you need. If a generator set is going to be used infrequently and not worked very hard, it’s worth looking at lower cost products. But when it’s going to be relied upon and used more regularly, lifetime cost, efficiency, and durability, really need to be weighed up and this is probably going to be true for most people in the construction industry. It’s always worth buying the very best that your budget will allow, and as far as possible, look for products with the most modern engines. They might cost a bit more, but the fuel savings and engine life mean that over time, it will pay for itself, not only in terms of durability but also in terms of fuel usage, if you’re going to use it regularly.

It’s important to think about parts and support during the lifetime of the generator set. Local, effective support is very important. That means local dealers who carry parts and who are trained to diagnose issues right first time.”

Efficiency and lifetime costs are important considerations but sometimes the simplest actions can bring the greatest results. In any diesel engine, it’s very important to think about filters and fluids. Our experience is that over the life of a generator, these account for only about 3 per cent of operating costs but they have a huge impact on all the other costs and on the effectiveness of the generator. Whatever generator set you own, it’s important to fit genuine filters and change oil as specified in your operator manual. To save money, it’s tempting to use lower cost filters or to let routine maintenance slip but in the longer term, this is only going to cause problems and cost more money. The internet makes sourcing parts easy, but it’s very important to source the right parts and the best parts. Don’t wait until you see a problem before you think about changing the filters or oil. It could be too late.

Also think about the fuel: be careful to buy diesel only from reputable suppliers and make sure that the tanker which delivered your fuel isn’t containing diesel one day and something else the next, which could contaminate the fuel. Try to keep your tank full of fuel as this prevents condensation from forming which is the number one cause of algae growth within the fuel tank. And if you don’t run your generator regularly, remember the shelf life of the diesel in the tank: diesel fuel starts to deteriorate after about 100 days. The fuel begins to break down, clusters up and drops to the bottom of the tank as a dark sludge. This can block filters and injectors, reduce engine efficiency, and leads to engine smoke.

Once installed, just as with any machinery, there are some very simple steps you can take to look after a generator set and ensure it starts first time in all weather:

  • Check fluid levels (oil, coolant, fuel) before the onset of cold weather
  • Check rubber components such as hoses, fan drive belts weekly
  • Drain any water from the fuel system
  • Once started, don’t power off the engine until it has reached a minimum operating temperature of 80°C. This prevents intake valves and exhaust valves from sticking
  • Check air cleaners and the air intake daily, more often in snowy conditions
  • Fill the fuel tank when the generator set is powered off
  • Keep all the batteries fully charged and warm (this is especially important if the generator set is not operating regularly)

Sometimes, the simplest steps are also among the most effective. Some of the most common reasons why generator sets fail to start are because the battery has lost its charge, the unit has run out of fuel, or had poor quality fuel pumped into the tank. These are easily taken care of with a low cost battery charger and just keeping an eye on the fuel situation.


Cutting Edge Technology

In its simplest form, a diesel generator set has a diesel engine driving an AC generator/alternator which produces an AC electrical output. The engine and alternator are fixed to a rigid steel chassis which usually contains an 8 – 10 hour fuel tank. That’s been the basic principle for a long time and for several decades FG Wilson have been at the forefront in driving that concept to new levels. Designers of generator sets face a constant battle to control noise and heat. For FG Wilson, that means generator sets are designed to operate effectively in up to 50°C temperatures. That kind of sweeping statement is much easier said than done. Because this needs a detailed understanding of airflow through enclosures, and it’s expertise, which we’ve grown over decades to the point where we can count on a vast library of documented test data to support all of our design work. This is really important in high ambient temperature environments. It’s not difficult to put an enclosure around a generator set, but it is much more challenging to make it work in a high ambient temperature.

A range of enclosures protects generator sets from weather and also reduces noise to comfortable working levels. Enclosures are made of high grade or galvanised steel protected by powder coat paint which gives them automotive industry levels of finish. Their design is based on modular principles which means they have interchangeable components for easy on-site repair. Lift-off doors and access panels mean they also have good access for service and maintenance.

Control panels are where most interaction with generator sets occurs and these are designed to be compact and intuitive. Panels include traditional key-start analogue control panels for straightforward functionality and reliability; digital control panels suitable for use in mains failure applications, providing advanced metering, protection and diagnostics; and the next generation of advanced synchronising panels with integrated load management capability, able to synchronise up to 32 generator sets.

What really distinguishes FG Wilson is the way products are validated and tested. Since 1990 we've installed over 600,000 generator sets with a total capacity of almost 90GW - more than the total installed mains electricity capacity of a country like the UK. With that number of machines operating across the world, we take no risks with quality or performance. We don't accept engine performance data without validating it ourselves in the environmental conditions which our products will see. When someone buys one of our products, we can safely say that wherever it will be operating, it will have been tested for that environment.


About FG Wilson

Founded in Belfast, United Kingdom in 1966, FG Wilson quickly grew to become the largest generator set manufacturer in Europe. For 50 years, its generator sets have been trusted to provide essential power to critical applications globally including hospitals, airports, data centres, telecommunication networks as well as residential properties and factories. With manufacturing facilities in the United Kingdom, USA, Brazil, India, and China, FG Wilson has the capacity to produce over 130,000 generator sets per annum.

Continuous investment in FG Wilson facilities, production capabilities and Dealer network, ensure they are best placed to deliver your reliable power, when and wherever you need it. Its 400+ global Dealer Network, delivers not only power but local knowledge, expertise and support to customers in over 150 countries.

FG Wilson is a trading name of Caterpillar (NI) Limited.


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