This piece was originally published in the July 2016 issue of electroindustry.
Matt Schneider, Director Global Product Management, ASCO Power Technologies (Emerson Electric)
As data centers continue to transition to co-location and cloud-based designs, the need for rapidly deployable, modular architectures continues to increase. Recent developments give facility managers the option to consider pre-packaged, transfer switch–based power systems for paralleling generators as an alternative to circuit breakers.
These new transfer switch–based solutions synchronize, parallel, and provide load sharing for a wide range of distributed generator systems (known as gensets) of different sizes and manufacturers, providing flexibility to facility managers when they plan site expansions and equipment replacement. Additionally, floor space is reduced since it consolidates the paralleling controls and contactors for two generators into a single section.
Built on closed-transition technology, packaged power systems take an innovative approach that can be quickly configured for easy commissioning and rapid deployment. They eliminate job-specific engineering requirements for either prime or emergency power applications involving paralleling two, three, or four genset installations. Such systems are capable of paralleling two to four genset installations and managing four to eight transfer-switch load blocks at distributed data centers, commercial and telecom operations, oil and gas processes, and healthcare, government, agricultural, public, and educational facilities.
Transfer switch–based paralleling systems include features such as load bus optimization, generator load demand, and generator power metering to satisfy the control and management requirements of distributed, data center, and other mid-sized applications. Since power continuity is of upmost importance, a system’s automatic controls include managing generators by runtime usage, assigned priority or load requirements, and distributing power by load prioritization. This kind of system also can manually add and shed loads, manually start gen-sets, and connect to the load bus.
Finally, with new, intuitive touchscreen user interfaces, access to performance data and graphics are the operator’s fingertips to enabling monitor and control with minimal navigation. Screens may include metering, event and alarm logs, bus optimization and load demand set up, and manual paralleling. Password protection allows individual account management and auditing, as well as privilege assignments, to enhance system security.
Transfer switch–based systems bring high-power capabilities into a single section to help facility managers rapidly grow their installations.