Determining the Right Load Bank Type for Critical Facility Commissioning Tests

Comrent is providing solutions for mission-critical power testing infrastructure.

During a facility commissioning test, you must validate the performance of critical components within your infrastructure. A variety of load bank testing solutions are available to test systems such as back-up generators, uninterruptible power supplies, power distribution units, computer room air conditioning units, and other systems required for facility operations.

To conduct the most successful commissioning test, experts recommend you match testing solutions to the systems and equipment you plan to load test. The following systems call for specialized load bank solutions:

  • Back-up Generators – When utility power becomes unavailable, generators are the long-term source of back-up power. So, load testing them at their nameplate power factor is critical. The testing also confirms the operation of the paralleling controls for multiple generators.
  • Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) Systems – Linkable load banks in the range of 400 kW are typically used to test resistive and reactive loads of UPS systems while simulating a power outage. To test battery strings, you can deploy DC load banks.
  • Power Distribution Unit (PDU) – During commissioning testing, you test both power generation and power distribution systems. Given the nature of PDUs, the load banks you select should accommodate testing in various locations. For example, your load bank needs to function under a raised floor, in a remote power panel or in an overhead bus track.
  • Computer Room Air Conditioning Unit (CRAC) – In addition to load testing your facility’s power systems, you also need to test its advanced cooling systems. When servers are operating at their full loads, they are generating massive amounts of heat. The CRAC needs to provide optimal thermal conditions so constant temperatures and humidity levels are maintained. Load bank solutions will measure air flow and room temperature changes in a variety of room configurations and environments.
  • It is common in critical facilities that all of the above systems are tested at the same time during the integrated system test. This is typically done immediately before the system is turned over for operation.

In addition to matching the load bank solution to the system being tested, you have access to special load banks for unique environments. For example, if your operation requires extreme quiet, you will need to deploy a load bank that minimizes noise as much as possible, or ideally is completely inaudible.

An air-cooled load bank device produces more noise than a water-cooled load bank. If you need a quiet working environment, you should consider a water-cooled solution. You may need to reduce noise inside or outside your facility. For a facility in an urban setting, regulations may prohibit obtrusive equipment or noise generation.

The location of your commissioning test will determine which solution you use. If your load banks will be housed outdoors, they must be able to handle exposure to the elements. If indoors under controlled circumstances, you will need to select a load bank that can be compact enough to be easily maneuvered to the internal location.

To ensure success, you must develop a commissioning test plan that identifies the systems to be tested and matches the best load bank solutions to each of those systems. Partnering with an experienced load bank supplier will help you validate system design and performance before your facility goes into production.

Download Comrent’s Latest eBook…

For a detailed discussion on load bank solutions and building commissioning, download Comrent’s latest eBook – “Using Load Bank Solutions to Optimize Building Commissioning.” This resource discusses the commissioning process and how it is used to validate that the installation and operation of new equipment is performing as required before it supports a critical load.

Comrent’s team of experts is ready to help ensure your system is successfully commissioned. We are offering a complimentary consultation to review your project and propose the right load bank solution for your requirements. Contact us today.

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