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COVID-19 Facility Reopen Plans For Industrial Generators

Industrial facilities should front load generator preparation into COVID-19 facility reopen plans

Facilities around the world are beginning to reopen and come back online from COVID-19-related closures Depositphotos_64933097_xl-2015.jpgand operations teams should integrate generator-specific considerations into their startup processes.  Taking these important steps will help mitigate additional delays or damage to other equipment and machinery.

Teams should front load generator testing during reopen procedures to ensure that reliable power is available to protect sensitive processes.  Manufacturing processes are often sensitive to momentary losses of power, requiring additional procedures to restart operations (e.g., ovens to temperature, loss of spoilable food produce).  Ensuring that emergency generators, ATS (Automatic Transfer Switch), and UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) are capable of picking up the facility stead-state load to reduce rework during startup.

Jodi Brutto, Director of Client Support with Halliwell Engineering, a leading forensic engineering firm, cited more than 60% of Halliwell investigations involving machinery and equipment break down were due to a lack of maintenance and as much as 25% occurred during startup.
Assess startup-specific power needs and plan power requirements accordingly.  Many industrial processes require additional electricity for startup, far exceeding normal operating requirements.  Operations teams may need to coordinate with local rental agencies to procure additional generators to provide power to startup specific processes or to back up startup procedures during an outage.  In areas with many industrial facilities restarting operations after COVID closures, facilities may experience temporary rental generator shortages.  Early coordination with rental agencies can help secure power equipment to support planned startup timelines.   

Jodi also noted having a clear path to review your equipment would reduce delays that affect business interruption and supply chain demands.

Test backup generators for functionality if they have not been maintained or exercised during the Depositphotos_8607315_xl-2015.jpgshutdown.  Generator engines require preventative maintenance and service to be fully capable.  If a facility’s generator(s) does not automatically exercise, a thorough inspection and operational test will ensure backup power availability.  If significant issues are detected, contact your local generator maintenance provider for assistance or field repair.  Short operational tests without an electrical load can verify basic mechanical functionality but longer tests with utilizing a load bank provide the resistance necessary to test the entire generator system.

Verify and re-fill diesel supplies to ensure adequate run time in case of a power outage.  Diesel is the lifeblood of most back up generators and a low tank will limit run time during an outage.  If the facility’s generator automatically exercises, these tests may have depleted the fuel level during the facility closure.  Contact the local diesel provider to fill the tank to maximize availability during an outage.
Taking the above steps will safely insure the value of the facility’s backup generators and minimize interruptions to the broader startup process and getting your operation back online and ‘Back to normal”.

Kyle Smith | 6/3/2020 2:21:11 PM | 0 comments
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