Electrical Testing Solutions | Load Bank Testing for Generators

load bank testing

When a power outage occurs, your operations rely on standby generators to keep things running. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that your standby system is properly maintained by certified professionals. We recognize that most maintenance is preventive in nature and offers planned maintenance agreements to thoroughly inspect and service your generator.

A load-bank test is an essential part of any preventive maintenance practice to ensure your standby generator performs in the event of a power failure. This test checks the generator engine’s ability to perform and provide the required horsepower needed in an emergency. A generator typically runs at a level less than the unit’s rated output capability, so a load bank test provides an artificial load that brings the engine to an acceptable operating temperature, ensuring functionality when your business needs it most.

Triple Switch Diagram

Generators installed in the field must be periodically tested and exercised to ensure that it will operate as intended when a power outage actually occurs. Service groups use load banks to apply a load that mimics the load of the facility the generator is protecting. Any problems with the generator can then be identified and rectified in a non-critical environment.

Over time, lightly loaded generator sets develop wet-stacking and carbon buildup in the combustion chambers and exhaust system, which can lead to increased oil and fuel consumption and poor engine performance. The use of a load bank helps prevent this and determines the generator’s capability to produce maximum output in terms of amperage and horsepower.

With a generator, merely starting it up is insufficient. Operators need to know it will actually run, fully loaded.  That is what load bank testing does – takes a power protection system for a drive in a controlled environment.

In the case of a standby generator, a load bank test will indicate the engine’s ability to provide the required power; the alternator’s capability to provide the required voltage stability; stable frequency; efficiency of control systems under varying conditions of load; performance of the whole system; oil and fuel pressure. It will also help remove deposits from pistons, engine castings and exhausts. It will also identify potential weaknesses and record results and any work that needs to be done.

Load bank testing will ensure that the components within the power protection system will work and perform together as intended when called upon to support a critical load. At minimum, a load bank test should be performed on an annual basis to improve the life of the engine and alternator. The test gives you peace of mind that your generator will remain reliable throughout power interruptions.


Arc Flash Safety

How do you stay safe in case an arc flash would occur?  Check out our infographic on arc flash safety


What is NFPA 70E?

NFPA stands for National Fire Protection Association.

NFPA 70E is related to the National Electrical Code.

NFPA 70: National Electrical Code(NEC)  will describe how to design and install eletrical systems, but not how to perform the work.

NFPA 70E covers the requirements or the "how" an employee  can maintain a safe workplace. It covers and focus on practical safeguards that will still ensure productivity within their job functions.

The NEC and NFPA 70E share many of the same definitions and have identical scopes, they cover wiring the inside of buildings and similar structures. Neither standard covers utility consutruction.

NOTE: Anywhere electical construction and maintenance work happens is classed as a "Workplace" from hospitals to manufacturing facilities to superstores.

Some examples of what NFPA 70E will cover:

  1. Planning the project and ensuring all the correct permits are in place.
  2. Ensuring the correct Protective Clothing Characterisitcs have been met 
  3. Ensuring the project has been De-Energized when ever possible.
  4. Specifically Addresses Electrical Hazards
    1. Arc Flash
    2. Arc blast
    3. Electic Shock
  5. Restircting access
  6. Work aprroval signatures

In summary

The NEC covers the safety of electrical installations.

NFPA 70E covers how the workers themsleves will work safely while installing or maintaining electrical systems within the "Workplace".


How to Prevent an Arc Flash?

Human error is impossible to eliminate, a simple drop of a tool or accidental contact is made with an electrical system and an Arc Flash can occur.

Although training is one of the most important steps to protect workers, in addition to being OSHA's certified workers need to practice safe working practices and encourage this in others. Everyone has a responsibly when working in a area where an Arc Flash could occur.

Constantly reminding the less experienced or new members of the team the importance of keeping a close eye on the the insulation of extension cables every time they are used, wearing the correct PPE clothing, obeying warning signs and labels or even as simple as keeping a clean working environment is critical for their future and for creating a safe working environment for everyone.

For more information or to schedule your Arc Flash Analysis with Electrical Testing Solutions, please Contact Us.


What is an Arc Flash?

An arc flash (or arc blast) is a release of energy that results from a low impedance connection to ground or another voltage phase in an electrical system.  This rapid release of energy creates a fiery explosion that devastates everything in its path, creating deadly shrapnel as it dissipates.  It is a deadly workplace danger that annually causes unnecessary human injury and high costs associated to property damage and downtime.

10 Steps to an Effective Arc Flash Program

  1. Implement an arc flash analysis – no matter the cost. It may be expensive, but it is a small investment compared to potential damage, injury, and even death. Don’t wait for an accident to happen.
  2. Purchase flame-resistant clothing with the proper reference. An arc flash analysis will let you know for sure what type of arc flash clothing you will need to properly protect workers.
  3. Purchase insulated tools that are not too bulky for employee tasks. Many insulated tools on the market are made for larger equipment. Make sure your employee’s tools are not too big and bulky.
  4. Keep up with the changes to the electrical system. Whenever major changes are made (or every 5 years), they should be documented to keep the arc flash analysis up to date.
  5. Don’t forget your arc flash training or electrical safety training. Workers need to know how to properly understand the program, read labels, use PPE, etc.
  6. Have a short circuit study and protective device coordination study conducted. These are essential in mitigating higher risk hazards which can reduce or eliminate risks and costs.
  7. Implement the corrective recommendations from the report! Follow the recommendations to keep your employees from being exposed to potential arc flash danger.
  8. Remember shock hazards. Shock is a greater threat and should be kept in mind when purchasing PPE, writing safety policies, and training workers.
  9. Implement a preventative maintenance program to support equipment safety. By staying on top of your equipment condition, you can identify possible hazards before they become huge risks.
  10. Enforce the policies you implement. It is a waste of time and money to do otherwise. Not enforcing these policies keeps the risk of death, injury, or damage associated with arc flash high.

For more information or to schedule your Arc Flash Analysis with Electrical Testing Solutions, please Contact Us.

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