As a way of providing guaranteed electric power, generator sets have been around for a long time and the simple economics of securing power mean that for many people they are a strong consideration.
FG Wilson has been manufacturing generator sets for more than 50 years, with over 600,000 units installed since 1990 (as far back as their computer records can go). Graham Scandrett, area manager of FG Wilson for Africa, spoke about why generator sets are a popular choice. He said, “There are many ways to store or produce energy but when it comes to guaranteeing standby or emergency electrical power, in terms of cost, flexibility and responsiveness, for many people, the best option is a generator set.”
In its simplest form, a diesel generator set has an engine driving an AC generator/ alternator which produces an AC electrical output. The engine and alternator are fixed to a rigid steel chassis which usually contains a fuel tank.
That has been the basic principle for a long time and for several decades FG Wilson has been at the forefront in driving efficiency of generator sets to new levels. Graham said, “Our 6.8 – 25 kVA range is probably among one of the most popular choices for farmers, and FG Wilson has really focused on making it among the most efficient generator sets available.”
The range was originally designed for telecom operators for whom efficiency is very important. Most units are installed in remote locations and are required to be reliable with a long working life and operating costs are very important.
That starts with the engine, a Perkins 400 Series, which offers a 1,000-hour service interval. Not only does this reduce maintenance frequency, it also cuts costs, with fewer parts needed over the lifetime of the generator set. FG Wilson estimates that over a 10 year period, with moderate usage, this can save up to US$15,000 versus a unit with 250-hour service intervals or save US$10,000 versus a unit with 500-hour service intervals. The engines are also designed for a long working life: among FG Wilson products, it’s very common to see engines working hard well past 20,000 hours.
And that’s just the beginning. Graham noted, “Most generator sets come with a fuel tank allowing 8 – 10 hours of usage. The FG Wilson 6.8 – 25 kVA range offers tanks of 600, 1000 and 2000 litres, single or double-walled. That means long endurance before refuelling: running 4 hours a day, the FG Wilson 11 kVA generator set has a maximum fuel endurance of 55 days for the 600-litre tank, 92 days for the 1,000-litre tank and 185 days for the 2,000-litre tank. That gives real peace of mind.”
Fuel is valuable and the range has security features to prevent theft or vandalism: fuel pipework is concealed between the base and fuel tank, enclosures are lockable and the range comes with optional GPS tracking.
A range of enclosures protects generator sets from weather and also reduces noise to comfortable working levels. Enclosures are made of high-grade steel protected by powder coat paint which gives them automotive industry levels of finish. And there is a choice of three enclosures, offering different noise levels, which means that customers only buy the one which is right for their needs, and avoid an over-specified enclosure design. Enclosure design is based on modular principles which mean there are interchangeable components for easy on-site repair or replacement. And lift-off doors and access panels mean they also have good access for service and maintenance.
As with any equipment, service plays a huge part in maintaining efficient operation over a long lifetime. FG Wilson has a long-established network of dealers across Africa, helping customers to specify a generator set, offering installation and all the parts and service needed through the lifetime of a generator set.
Graham commented, “Local, effective support is very important. Our experience shows that over a 10 year product lifetime, being able to resolve a product issue with one fewer visit to the site can save customers an average of US$6,000 for every generator set. That means local dealers who carry parts and who are trained to diagnose issues right first time. FG Wilson puts a very big priority on this.” That means a global parts operation carrying 11,500 parts lines, taking 500 orders a day and shipping up to 3 million parts a year to dealers who know the products better than anyone.
For Graham, that adds up to a strong package. “If you’re thinking of buying a generator set, it really is worth buying the most modern design which is within your purchasing budget. It will pay for itself over time with savings on fuel and efficiency. For me, FG Wilson generator sets are right up there: they are easy to install and operate, they are reliable and designed for a long and productive working life, and they are excellent value for money over their lifetime.”
To find out more about FG Wilson, visit www.fgwilson.com