Why Do I Need Load Banks?

Best Practices for Data Center Commissioning with Load Banks

The future forward industries of today rely heavily on the use of load banks for maintenance, commissioning and testing of electrical circuits for proper function. No matter what the primary focus of your business is, load banks are becoming ever-present in a diverse range of industries.

Data servers, diesel generators and maritime switchboards are just a few of the devices, which benefit from load bank testing to determine their fitness and proper function. And new advances, like innovative remote controls, are making load banks more compact, and more accessible to meet growing demand.

The type of load bank necessary to test the grid-worthiness of your electrical system depends upon the range of tests required and the applications involved. Some important questions to ask before selecting a load bank include:

  1. What load type do you anticipate during system operation?
  2. How far is the power source from the simulated load?
  3. How often are power supplies energized and put into temporary operation for system checks?
  4. Is the load resistive, reactive/inductive, or capacitive?

Once the parameters of your project are established, you can begin selecting the best load bank for the job.

  • 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.
  • Resistive load banks are the most common type of load bank used in electrical system testing. Resistive loads describe electrical currents that convert current into various types of energy.
  • INDUCTIVE (REACTIVE). Inductive load bank testing is used with electric motors, transformers, and electromagnets. When used in combination with resistive load banks, reactive/inductive load bank solutions can simulate real-life mixed commercial loads consisting of lighting, heating, motors, transformers and chokes. In other words, you’re able to evaluate performance of the full power system, including generators, voltage regulators, conductors, switchgear and other equipment.
  • Capacitive load banks are often used in telecom and computer system applications A capacitive load bank is similar to an inductive load bank in rating and purpose. However, lightly loaded switched mode power supplies (applied to reduce harmonic currents) and long cable runs cause a system draw, a leading power factor, allowing reactive power to be supplied from these loads to the system and improving the power factor.

Why Do You Need Load Banks?

Load banks are an important tool used by contractors to prepare large electrical power systems to be incorporated into the main power grid. To answer the question of “why” and understand the value of load bank testing to different industries, here are three examples of how load banks help companies move their business forward.

Load Banks for Data Centers

Each of the billions of devices connected to the cloud rely on immense computational infrastructure in the form of utility-scale data centers. Row after row of electrical cabinets, each filled with multiple servers, generate heat.  Cooling systems devour electricity on a massive scale. An uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) provides both emergency backup power to critical systems in a data center, as well as protection against load fluctuations or momentary outages. Load banks are used by contractors to test each UPS for potential weaknesses and to ensure the data center remains in operation in the event of a system failure or interruption in power.

Load Banks Solar PV Power Plants

For managers of solar PV power plants and multi-megawatt solar farms, grid emulation using generators and load banks provide valuable information on the grid-worthiness of inverters, and electrical connections. Proper system function can be simulated by grid emulation and  load banks that  can determine whether or not the circuit is sufficiently prepared for the grid.

Load Banks for Maritime Project Maintenance

Maritime generators and off-shore projects demand a great deal from their electrical systems. When your project is located anywhere from tens to thousands of miles from the nearest port, being prepared with the proper testing equipment for those systems is a matter of mission success or failure. Backup generators, power distribution systems, and emergency switchboards each require “routine maintenance and operational testing,” according to standards established by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA). To meet these standards, portable load banks are used to simulate up to one hundred and ten percent of a typical load. High-tech digital remotes with touchscreen interfaces now allow for full customization throughout the testing experience.

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 will guide your team through a free comprehensive assessment of your load banking needs.

Get in touch with us today to learn more and to find a load bank solution that is right for you.

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