A power generator is the backbone of your industrial facility, business, or home in the event of a power outage. It’s important to make sure your facility has proper preventative maintenance to avoid the occurrence of potential failures at the time of greatest need.
In this article we will explain the importance of a generator preventive maintenance, how to do correct preventive maintenance on your generator and what to do if your generator fails in a time of need.
Generators bring immense value to your home, your manufacturing, agricultural, or other industrial facilities by providing an immediate supply of backup power. This power allows your family to continue with life without setbacks, your workers to continue with their jobs, or your factory or business continues to operate. Without a generator, your daily family life can be affected and your operations can be significantly impacted after an outage, which affects income.
But having a generator on its own is no guarantee of backup power availability if you don’t take care of generator preventive maintenance.
Power outages are becoming more frequent, and with the alterations generated by climate change even more so. This means that an increase in wildfires, heat waves, thunderstorms, hail and other extreme weather conditions that contribute to blackouts, leaving hundreds of thousands of homes, businesses, and factories without power during extended periods of time. In addition, many companies that supply energy through the public network are recently resorting to staggered blackouts, due to the increase in extreme heat in certain periods of the year and due to maintenance of a public electricity network that is increasingly obsolete and dissociated from demand in other times of the year. Extreme weather seems to be inevitable in the coming decades, while we are experiencing its growing frequency. All of the above means that your generator is subjected to increasingly frequent and demanding operation, so preventive maintenance is essential. An unexpected malfunction can have a significant impact, both due to the inconvenience caused and the associated costs.
examples where the impact of an unexpected failure has major consequences
Not all consequences are the same when a poorly maintained generator fails. There are some failures that have greater consequences than others.
Your family can cope without power if your home generator fails due to lack of maintenance, but there are countless key industries and services that are susceptible to generator failure during a power outage. These cuts are expensive. In fact, one study showed that power outages cost businesses more than $27 billion each year. Your facility is not fully protected from outages simply by having a generator. The risks of power outages are still plausible if preventive measures are not taken in advance by doing the proper preventive maintenance on your generator.
Every industry can experience generator failure in different ways, and here we take a look at a few examples:
Hospitals and health care centers.
These facilities rely on power around the clock to serve their patients. The risks of generator failure during power outages not only affect products, or services, but also lives. Hospitals and care facilities can house hundreds of people at a time. A sudden generator failure during a power outage can cost lives, which is what these facilities cannot afford.
Properly maintained generators can power these facilities to secure all of their medical equipment such as:
- Oxygen supplement machines.
- Heart monitors.
- Dialysis equipment.
- Operating theaters.
- Post-natal services incubators.
- And many other essential pieces of equipment continue to function regardless of power outages.
Not having power available is not an option for medical facilities.
Pharmaceutical or Agricultural Environments.
Although very different, both industries rely on products that must be kept at specific temperatures and climates. Without power, these industries risk losing thousands of dollars in revenue from ruined products. Medications, vaccines, and other pharmaceuticals cannot withstand a fluctuation in temperature control and should be discarded if this occurs.
Fresh or frozen foods, crops, and produce can be ruined by insufficient refrigeration and should also be thrown away. Industrial refrigeration systems that store these products are highly dependent on sufficient power and cannot risk generator failure. Perishable items are greatly affected by power outages due to the necessary temperature and the conservation measures they require.
Assembly lines with conveyor belts stop running during an outage, which affects and discontinues the production. Heavy machinery depends on stable power connections to work and function. In addition to the operations within the facility being affected, the supply chain ends up affected also, leaving your customers waiting for your products.
Another business may rely on a shipment from a manufacturing facility, but with the generator down, your business partner may have vulnerable deadlines that also affect their customers and downstream. Customers who ordered directly from the facility will not receive their products on time, which will affect their reputation and daily oprations. All of these power outage risks can impact the revenue stream of a manufacturing facility.
The generator preventive maintenance eliminates the risks of unexpected failure.
Preventive generator maintenance has many benefits and can eliminate the risks of generator failure during a power outage. Preventive maintenance ensures that your machinery and equipment are running properly and efficiently and can even extend their lifespan. Preventive maintenance can also keep your operations running smoothly by ensuring your equipment is working properly at all times.
Identify potential problems before they happen – Wear and tear happens on all kinds of equipment, even your generators. With preventive care for generators, you can identify errors or broken equipment before you need to rely on them during an outage. Potential problems could be that your generators are not powerful enough to supply the amount of power needed for your facility because they are the wrong size and draw too much load. They may need new oil or new fuel filters to function properly. The cables may need to be adjusted or replaced may they become corroded. Preventive maintenance ensures that the fuel supply is sufficient so that the generator has fuel to burn when needed. Neglecting these potential problems can result in failure.
Improve Generator Performance – Proper maintenance of your generator improves its overall performance. Making sure there is a sufficient supply of lubricant, fuel, and oil in the generator helps it perform properly. This ensures that all parts work as they should and run smoothly with minimal wear and tear because the generator has all the necessary components. Without preventative maintenance, you risk damaging your generator because it can malfunction, which leads to potential damage.
Increase Generator Life – With minimal wear and tear due to preventative maintenance, you increase the life of your generator. Taking precautionary steps to ensure your generator has all the necessary equipment and supplies and is working properly extends its life by allowing it to run as efficiently as possible. When your generator is running efficiently, you won’t have to replace it as often.
The importance of preventive maintenance of generators has many advantages. Ensuring that your generators function properly in the event of a power outage ensures that you will have minimal interruptions to workflow at your facility. Your generators will turn on without a hitch and continue to run to supply power until you turn back on. It improves efficiency in your facility as energy-dependent equipment has no downtime to stop working due to insufficient power supply.
Deadlines should not be overlooked when your facility is still operating efficiently in a power outage. It saves your company money and allows your orders to continue to be fulfilled without missing a beat. Your income will also not be affected by an interruption.
What is the generator preventive maintenance?
Several steps are taken during preventive maintenance of generators, especially given the various elements and components of industrial generators. Field technicians will follow these procedures to ensure your generators are working properly and continue to run during an outage. Some common processes followed for preventive maintenance include:
1. Keep your generator clean.
Keep your generator clean at all times. In an out of the ordinary occurrence such as like oil leaks, broken hoses and other anomalies you will immediately identify them.
2. Basic daily reviews.
- Check the water level daily: make sure there are no leaks in the radiator or hoses.
- Use the dipstick to check the oil level daily.
- Look for leaks under the engine.
- Make sure the fuel tank is full. Check that the lid is on. Make daily fuel gauge checks.
- Is there any flushing on the battery terminals?
- If your battery is a ‘rechargeable’ type, are the battery fluids full?
- Check daily if there has been tampering with the door locks.
- The emergency stop must be OUTWARD and NOT pushed in.
- Check daily that the control panel lights are on and visible.
- Remove any debris from around the generator.
- Check daily that the air outlets are free of debris and dust.
- Check daily that the 13 amp supply to the battery charger and water heater are connected and remain on.
- Make sure the exhaust rain flap is down and operative, not stiff or rusted open.
3. Routine exercises of your generator engine.
Regular exercise keeps engine parts lubricated and prevents electrical contacts from rusting, consumes fuel before it deteriorates, and helps maintain the diesel generator ready for engine switch on.
It is recommended to run the motor exercise from 15 days to 25 days once per year for a minimum of 30 min.
4. Carrying out periodic inspections.
Regular and periodic inspections are performed to ensure that all components of your generator are working properly, especially as the expected life of the generator approaches. Inspections may include:
Component Inspection: Knowing that the oil needs to be changed every 100 hours of use, we recommend to inspect and check the oil levels before that time draws near. Field technicians will also ensure all cables are in tip-top condition with no fraying or evidence of corrosion. Inspecting these cables ensures that your generator does not fail due to worn elements. Other component inspection items include inspecting the air and oil filters to see if they need to be replaced soon and making sure the engine is running properly with all of its moving parts.
System Inspection – On the other hand, field technicians will also inspect the systems within the generator. Instead of individual component inspections, the technician inspects all systems to ensure all moving parts and elements are working together properly for the generator.
5. Track replacement part schedules.
Along with regular inspections, field technicians ensure that all parts of your generator are up-to-date and replaced when necessary according to your expected wear and tear schedules. All parts on a generator have different lifespans that wear out at different rates, so the field technician will make sure all parts are replaced at the right time before they wear out and cause damage to your generator. Allowing old parts to continue to function can deteriorate equipment and ruin the integrity of the generator overall, resulting in system failure.
All of these processes are done to ensure that your industrial generators are running as optimally and efficiently as possible. Regular preventive maintenance ensures that all parts of your generator are efficient and will not cause failure when you need the equipment most. Taking these precautionary steps ensures that your industrial generator will keep your operations running in a time of need.
Don’t let the next interruption affect the correct operation of your generator. Get preventative maintenance for your generator today! Contact Brags & Hayes Generators for all your preventative maintenance needs and make sure your generator is working properly when you need it.