Any type of power outage, no matter how short, can place crops and farm animals at risk – which is why a reliable source of backup power has become vital for agricultural operations to operate efficiently and safely.
Power disruptions on farms are even more damaging due to the economic pressures and the difficulty of surviving in this ever-changing market sector. Today, there are many factors outside of the farmer’s control that can affect profitability. Modern farming methods are also increasingly assisted by a range of automated equipment that relies upon a steady supply of electricity to do its work.
The rural and often isolated setting in which many farms operate make them even more vulnerable to power cuts and damaged power lines, as electricity supply generally takes longer to restore – thereby aggravating the impact on normal farm activities.
The result is that agriculture – like many industries – can experience catastrophic consequences as a result of power outages, and this has made it a business imperative for every farm to have a sustainable and secure supply of energy.
The good news is that solutions are available, to empower farmers to get the most out of their farming equipment without having to risk a power outage turning into a disaster. A good, dependable backup diesel power generator set – or genset – can effectively keep everything running smoothly until mains power is restored. While a quality genset does require an initial capital outlay, the benefits and cost saving in the long run turns it into a positive expense.
Industry experts like the Zest WEG Group offer the experience and capacity to design and provide high quality agricultural generator solutions with top engine brands, for reliable backup or continuous power in various farming applications.
The right solution begins with making the appropriate generator selection, by considering the load size, voltages, running cycles, access to site and delivery constraints. The Zest WEG Group – which locally manufactures generator sets at its Cape Town facility – offers fit-for-purpose solutions that are either standard off-the-shelf units or custom-built for specific applications.
The Zest gensets can be supplied in stationary or mobile configurations from 10 kVA up to 3 350 kVA – and their capacity can be increased upwards with multiple synchronised sets. All generator sets are supported by customised service and maintenance agreements.
Integrated packages that include mechanical and electrical manufacture and assembly as well as electronic design incorporating in-house control panel manufacture are available. The company also provides supply and installation of transformers, cabling, bulk fuel systems and sound attenuation with standby generators on a turnkey basis, together with project management, installation, commissioning and maintenance.
Zest WEG Group’s power generator offering comes in three ranges: the value range; the premier range; and the custom range. The value range is a cost effective 10 kVA to 2 250 kVA 50 Hz/60 Hz solution with the option of FAW, Doosan or Mitsubishi engines. The premier range is also made up of 10 kVA to 3 350 kVA 50 Hz/60 Hz units, but with engine offerings from Perkins, Volvo, Scania, Cummins, MTU and Deutz. The custom range is tailor-made for customers, built and installed for their specific applications.
The company is able to assist customers with correct generator sizing by calculating their required kVA generator load based on their unique on-site load requirements.
To keep costs down for farmers, Zest WEG Group also offers WEG softstarters and WEG variable speed drives (VSDs), which reduce the required genset power capacity.
VSD technology reduces the electric motor’s start-up current, which assists with peak load demands, and also eliminates the need to oversize the generator which would have been a requirement without a VSD.
Another important benefit of using VSDs is the power saved by controlling the output speed of the electric motor, ensuring that the customer uses less energy. Using a VSD allows for the right sizing of the generator which means that the diesel engine will run at its rated loads and maintenance and operating costs are significantly minimised. In many cases, engine capacity can be reduced, with reductions in oil and fuel consumption being realised as a result. Using a smaller engine will also have a positive effect on the cost of parts.