Is your business connected to the internet? No doubt, that with the rise of connected industries and devices, and the widespread adoption of Industry 4.0 principles, your business is likely one of millions that have become more reliant in recent years on big data and powerful electrical systems.
To ensure proper functioning, these systems and the equipment that powers and protects our data must undergo strict load testing before and after the commissioning process. Data centers, solar farms and microgrids, mining and maritime generators, and backup generators are some examples of the critical power systems that require continuous observation and should receive periodic testing.
The preferred method of testing involves the use of load banks, modular load devices that can be configured to test operation of an electrical system. There are three main types of load banks, each with a specific purpose and set of applications.
What Type of Load Bank Do I Need to Use?
The type of load bank used to prepare your electrical system for delivery to the grid may vary, depending on the range of tests needed and the applications involved. Some important questions to ask before selecting a load bank include:
- What load profile do you anticipate during system operation?
- How often are power supplies energized and put into temporary operation for system checks?
- How far is the power source from the simulated load?
- Is the load resistive, reactive/inductive, or capacitive?
Once these parameters are established, you can begin the process of selecting the best load bank for the job.
- INDUCTIVE (REACTIVE). Inductive loads include electric motors, transformers, and electromagnets.
- Direct current (DC) resistive load banks may be used to test UPS systems and DC generators, while alternating current (AC) load banks are used to test a variety of power supply systems, up to 5MW, and can be combined to 100MW.
- Capacitive load banks are often used in telecom and computer system applications.
Benefits of Remote Load Banking
One of the latest innovations in load bank testing is the use of intelligent remote devices. These hand-held controllers can guide between one and fifty load banks through the testing process. In addition, they give testers the capability to perform many load bank functions remotely that used to be done manually and took substantially more time to complete.
Whether you are preparing to commission a multiple-megawatt solar farm or conduct routine maintenance testing on the generator set providing emergency power for your 1,500-foot-long supertanker, 2,000 miles offshore, there are a number of advantages to using remote load banking that you should be aware of when selecting the right load bank for your project.
- Smart Connectivity. The latest generation of load bank controllers enables their users to interface with up to 50 networked load banks at any given time throughout the testing process. Each remote load bank becomes a “smart” component that can be added or removed from a load sequence, have its capacity adjusted automatically on the fly, and allows cooling fans to be controlled with precision from up to 250 meters away.
- Location. By having the ability to control load banks remotely, technicians now have the option to place multiple remote load banks in areas that would otherwise be difficult or inconvenient to access for testing purposes. Scenarios like this often play out in offshore settings, as well as in massive data
- Safety, Efficiency. Remote load bank testing enables contractors to operate large numbers of load banks out of harm’s way from heavy machinery and high decibel environments. And by not having to address issues onsite at each load bank, test operators can complete their commissioning or maintenance testing in a shorter amount of time. Phase switching, capacity adjustments, and section testing are among the many functions made safer and more efficient with the use of remote-operated load banks.
- Data Collection. Most controllers on the market now include USB ports where real-time data can be collected and exported in spreadsheet format. This means that if an electrical system experiences a failure at any stage of a test, the data corresponding to that failure can be retrieved and fed into a spreadsheet for analysis
Whether you are in the process of selecting a load bank for testing, commissioning, or regular maintenance of your electrical system, ComRent’s load bank experts can guide your team through a comprehensive assessment of your load banking needs.
Get in touch with us today to find a load bank solution that is right for you.