So, you’re preparing for a big job. You know you’re going to need industrial power, but how much? Is 100kW enough? 200? 500? The answer to this question is not so simple. The maximum power output of a generator is often referred to as its “size,” so when we say size here what we are really referring to is the power output in watts. Here’s why getting the right size generator is so important and how you can go about determining your needs.
Why Sizing Right Is So Important
The size of a generator is no small consideration. Getting it right is vital if you want a useful generator for the job and not a dangerous hunk of steel. Here are just a few of the issues that can result from an undersized generator:
- Unexpected system failures
- Damage to tools or other assets
- Increased risk of fire
- Poor performance
- Reduced generator lifespan
So not only will it be more difficult to do the work with an undersized generator, but you also introduce a safety risk for everyone on the job site. Assets that aren’t receiving enough power may still work, but they could easily short out or overheat, and this poses a significant risk of fire.
You’ll Have to Crunch the Numbers
It’s never a good idea to size a generator based on instinct; you need to be very deliberate when assessing your power needs. This holds true whether you’re buying a small generator for your home or a heavy-duty generator for a major industrial job. To put it as simply as possible, if you want a realistic picture of your power requirements you’ll need to do the following:
- Make a list of every asset that is to be powered by the generator
- Determine the required wattage of each item
- Add them up and calculate the total power requirements
If you no longer have details on the wattage requirements of a particular piece of equipment, you’ll need to get in touch with the manufacturer. The same tool from different manufacturers can have different power requirements, so you can’t simply rely on a generalization.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Sizing a generator is a careful balancing act. Too little and you won’t be able to get the job done effectively. Too much and you are wasting precious resources. It never hurts to leave a little headroom to account for minor changes or expansions at the job site, but there’s no need to go overboard.
Say for example you’ve done some math and estimated your power needs at around 400kW. Sizing up a bit to 500kW wouldn’t be a terrible idea to avoid the issues discussed above, but clearly there would be no need to buy a 2000kW industrial diesel generator unless you are very deliberately factoring in job expansion.
The main takeaway here is that bigger isn’t always better, but as we mentioned before, bigger is always better than smaller.
Quality Is Just as Important as Power
When it comes to doing a job right, power is important. What’s equally important, however, is reliability, and reliability can’t be boiled down to a single number that easily. The quality of the components used to manufacture the generator, as well as the overall craftsmanship, are going to have a big impact on how well it performs. Purchasing a high-quality generator that will get you through the entire duration of the job is obviously better than buying cheap and having it fail on you halfway through.
When it comes to overall generator quality, the biggest predictor is the engine. Look for generators with engines from respected manufacturers with a history of producing reliable generators. They will usually come with a generous warranty as well, a sign that they are confident in the quality of their generators. You can also look at factors like the thickness of the steel construction and the control panel to gauge quality. Sturdier construction and expansive control panels usually indicate higher quality.
The answer to whether or not a 500kW generator is right for your job is not trivial to answer, and it depends on many variables like the type of job, the tools you will be using, and exactly what the generator will be used for. Hopefully, you ended up with a better understanding of how to determine requirements and size your generator appropriately after reading this.
For more help sizing your generator, please contact us at Depco Power Systems. We can help assess your power needs and job requirements, both in the short-term and the long-term, in order to find the right generator for the job.