Successfully Overcoming Project Disaster

The Challenge

In 2019, Collicutt was approached by one of our clients who had just won the electrical design and build contract for a new residential high rise to be built in downtown Los Angeles. Part of that contract included the supply of an emergency backup generator that would provide power for the building during a power grid outage that is so common in California.

Besides the usual backup power requirements for a building of this type, there were a few challenges that made this project unique:

  • This unit was going to be placed on the ninth floor of the building.
  • Once the unit was in place on the ninth floor, the building would be completed around and above it.
  • The crane doing the lifting was being removed immediately following the generator installation to make way for the remaining building construction. This meant that the generator was on the construction schedule’s critical path.
  • Because this building is downtown LA, the logistics surrounding the lift of the generator were very complicated. Traffic restrictions had to be minimized and the lift radius of the crane was restricted due to the surrounding buildings and infrastructure.

The Solution

When the contractor started their design process, they reached out to our team at Collicutt. We worked with them and their engineering teams to understand the building electrical loads, design constraints, construction schedule, and the lifting constraints.

We proposed a customized MTU 12V4000 DS1500 solution complete with:

  • IBC rating (earthquake rated)
  • Rypos DPF and custom mounting rack
  • Custom sound attenuating enclosure
  • Custom tank to meet fire code for a rooftop design in downtown LA

Disaster Strikes!

The project kicked off and proceeded smoothly until the completed unit left our fabrication facility. But then disaster struck!

Shortly after the truck carrying the generator left the fabrication facility, we received news that they drove under an overpass without checking height restrictions and our custom built generator struck that overpass and was totaled in an instant! The only good news was that no one was injured in the accident.

However, we now had a huge problem! We needed to get a new generator built in record time in the middle of one of the worst global supply chain challenges we have seen in recent times. If we failed to get the generator to site before the building crane was dismantled, we would be on the hook for obtaining permits to close roads in downtown LA and assembling a crane capable of lifting a 1500kW generator to the ninth floor of a building that was already constructed!

We immediately placed the order for the new generator and worked with MTU to expedite the build of the generator in any way they could. We also worked with our fabricator and had them build the enclosure and other custom components ahead of time so that they would just have to set the components in place and bolt them down once the generator was ready. To maintain schedule our fabricator’s staff agreed to work around the clock to complete their work once the generator was delivered to them!

Talk about team work!

The Outcome

Although there were many tense moments throughout this build process, we were able to pull our team together and work through supply chain issues and other manufacturing logistics to get the generator produced as quickly as possible.

In addition to this, thankfully, the building construction had been delayed due to unrelated issues so the building crane was still in place to lift our generator!

This left one final challenge that we had to overcome. Much of the building had now been constructed so the options for lifting the generator to the ninth floor were limited. The building crane had limited lifting capacity and it had limited lifting radius due to the proximity of the surrounding buildings and roadways.

To overcome this challenge, we had the generator transported to a riggers yard where we drained the fluids (oil and coolant) and removed the enclosure. We then dismantled the generator package down to it’s frame. This would allow us to lift the frame, engine, alternator, and radiator in individual lifts.

See the photos below for some of the teardown progress:

  1. Completed unit arrived at riggers

2. The enclosure was removed

3. Removal of components began

We transported the components from the riggers yard to the construction site over a two day period and lifted each component starting with the frame. The video below illustrates the tight lifting window that was being navigated:

As each component was lifted, we secured it into place and “rebuilt” the generator package on the ninth floor of the building! After two days of crane picks and placements, we had the generator back together in its final location ready for commissioning and startup! This allowed our client to complete construction of their building and remove the building crane without the generator scope causing any further project delays!

This project is a great example of; applied expertise, project management, technician talent, and overall teamwork being used to overcome huge challenges!

 

For more information on our power generation services or solutions, contact us via email or at the number below:

888.682.6888 or info@collicutt.com

 

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How to Properly Design and Size A Generator

Introduction

Specifying and sizing a generator for your project can be an overwhelming task . . . but it doesn’t have to be! Collicutt and MTU have a great tool available to assist with this task and simplify it as much as possible.

The tool is called PSSPEC and it is available for download using this link.

What follows is a brief introduction to the PSSPEC tool and how it can be used. This is not meant to be a detailed user manual but it does provide enough detail to get you off to a great start on your generator sizing project.

Should you have questions, want training on the tool, or need further assistance, please reach out to our Collicutt team at the contact information at the bottom of this article.

Getting Started

Once you download, install, and open PSSPEC, you will see the following screen:

 

Select the “Start a New Sizing Project” button. The following screen will appear and this is where the real work begins!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From this screen you can enter:

  • Customer data and add new customers
  • Project specific Notes
  • The Basic generator information – This is where generator information such as; frequency, voltage, fuel type, rating type, temperature rise, load factor percentage, UL2200 requirements, customer supplied cooling system, and PMG requirements are checked.
  • Specific Site Conditions – this contains the location, elevation, and temperature data
  • Intermittent Loads – This is where you define the loads that your generator will be expected to handle (there is more information on this below).
  • Intake and Exhaust information
  • Advanced options – this allows you to select the % THVD limit

Note that this is an active menu system so an entry in one menu adjusts the menu selections in the other areas.

Once you are completed your entries, click on the “Accept” button and the following screen appears.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adding Loads

This is where you need to understand the electrical loads that your generator will be powering.

A project’s electrical loading contains a sequence of steps that are defined by the user. Within each step, loads are placed that fit the requirements of the application. All loads within a step are assumed to start at the same time, and steps occur sequentially one after another once the previous step has reached steady state (i.e., generator set has fully recovered to nominal voltage).

PSSPEC offers templates to use for many different types of loads (see graphic below). These templates allow easy selection of the needed variables for the selected load type. The PSSPEC application makes assumptions based on the load type, load criteria, and information entered by the PSSPEC user and populates default values for each load parameter accordingly.

 

 

 

You can select these loads for a particular step by selecting the step and clicking on the “Add Load” button. The screen shown above appears and you select one of the options which will bring you to a screen that allows you to adjust specific parameters for the selected load.

One you are finished adding load steps and loads, you can select the “Sizing and Rating” button on the left side of the screen. This starts the generator sizing and selection process.

 

Sizing and Rating

When you click the “Sizing and Rating” button, PSSPEC runs its calculations and selects the recommended best fit generator using all of the data that you have provided. This is illustrated in the graphic below.

 

 

Note that this window will also display oversized and undersized generator sets that may meet project requirements.

Any generator set in the list can be selected and a sizing report can be generated to provide a ‘mini spec sheet’ for the user. Multiple sizing reports can be created for different generator set models. Just select the generator sets you are interested in and click the Report button that shows up on the left of the screen (see the graphic below).

 

 

These reports can be used as a convenient quality check to ensure the generator selected meets your design requirements and then included as part of your generator specification package. If you find errors or things that you missed you can go back through the process described above and make the changes and additions and recreate the report to include your changes.

In Conclusion

This was a very condensed tutorial which illustrated only a small fraction of PSSPEC’s capabilities. The best way to understand it’s capabilities is to dive in and start sizing some of your projects!

If you would like us to provide some training for your organization or just need to have some questions answered, be sure to call us or email us at the link below.

888.682.6888    info@collicutt.com

 

Note: Sizing of the generator is the responsibility of the “engineer of record.” Input data and the output from PSSPEC must be reviewed and approved by the responsible engineering firm.

 

Finally, see these article for related content:

 

Want to learn more? Collicutt has a new PSSPEC webinar available that will give you a thorough walk through on how to utilize the tool.

 

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Customized Rental Solution!

One of our customers in Beverly Hills was doing a major office renovation and they required temporary electric power for the duration of the work. This seemed like a simple enough request for our rental group to handle but there were some challenges that had to be addressed!

The Challenge

The challenges were generally centered around the constraints of the job site and included:

  1. The temporary generator could not be parked on the street due to city bylaws
  2. The only other available locations for a temporary generator came with their own challenges:
    • A very small underground parking stall with extremely tight access and inadequate ventilation to allow an engine to run for an extended period of time
    • The top of a parking structure which would require a crane to lift it into place
  3. Noise restrictions were in place due to the proximity to other businesses
  4. California  has some of the strictest emissions requirements and building code requirements in North America. This means that power generation equipment must be able to meet the strictest emission standards and must be designed to handle earthquakes which are also common to California

 

The Solution

Our rental team worked with the customer to determine the potential power demand that they would experience during their office renovation. Once our team understood this requirement, we began to look at our rental fleet and selected a few potential options. From these options we narrowed down the selection to a rental unit that was the correct size, met the noise restrictions, and met the emissions requirements.

We then worked with our customer to provide a temporary venting solution for the generator exhaust. This had to meet the local building code requirements as well as the exhaust venting specifications for the generator. Once this was done, our rental team coordinated the generator drop off and set-up (props to our delivery team for backing this unit into place!) ensuring that our customer had the electric power they needed for the duration of their office building renovation project!

 

For more information on a rental solution or any other power generation solution, contact us via email or at the number below:

1-888-682-6888 or info@collicutt.com

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2250

Data Center Expansion

One of our data center customers in southern California had recently been experiencing an increase in demand so they began expanding their center’s capacity. As the number of data servers increased, their requirement for emergency back up power was also increasing. Unreliable power is the biggest threat a data center can face! Power quality issues can cause equipment failure, downtime, data corruption or data loss, none of which are acceptable outcomes. So, this requirement to upgrade their emergency generators was critical!

Because Collicutt has been providing service work for them and their existing 2250kW generators for a number of years, we sat down with them to understand the challenge that they were facing.

The Design Challenge

Our customer had a few design constraints that needed to be solved. They obviously had a emergency power shortage but they also had the following issues that had to be addressed:

  • Size restrictions with their facility limited the footprint of the generators that they could use
  • California  has some of the strictest emissions requirements and building code requirements in North America. This means that power generation equipment must be able to meet the strictest emission standards and must be designed to handle earthquakes which are also common to California
  • Noise restrictions due to the proximity to other businesses
  • An existing generator that was no longer up to code and could not be made compliant
  • Switchgear upgrade project running concurrently with the generator upgrades
  • Programming to ensure paralleling of the units worked seamlessly with all the upgrades underway

The Solution

For the first unit they required, we designed and provided a custom 2250kw standby generator with a level 2 sound attenuated enclosure and a 3540 gallon subbase fuel tank. The fuel tank is UL142 double walled with secondary containment and rested just beneath the generator base. The enclosure had fixed intake louvers and a vertical discharge plenum to help hamper excessive noise to protect surrounding businesses. The enclosure was custom made with aluminum side and roof panels to ensure a non-corrosive housing designed for prolonged life. We also provided a critical grade silencer to quiet the large generators exhaust to meet city noise restrictions.

When the trucks showed up on site with the first generator and all its components, the customer’s crane company was a “no-show” due to equipment failure. As the old saying goes, “time is money” and a data center construction site is no exception. Collicutt was able to call on one of our crane contractors and get them out to site on short notice. They were able to successfully offload all of the equipment and maintain the schedule!

Our customer has now placed an order for a second 2250kW with the same basic specifications. Collicutt will be removing their non-compliant generator to make room for this second 2250kW. We will also assist them in selling the non-compliant unit using our  surplus equipment website and sales team.

In addition to this, we we able to provide paralleling programming and implementation so that when the new generators are installed and the switchgear upgrades are completed, they will be able to parallel these two new units with their existing generators.

This solution will provide them with high quality emergency power for years to come helping to guarantee their customers have secure data and data processing regardless of inevitable utility power outages.

 

 

 

For more information on this or any other power generation solution, contact us via email or at the number below:

1-888-682-6888 or info@collicutt.com

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Emergency Power for a High Rise

A few years ago a customer approached us with a project that they were about to take on in Southern California. They were looking at building a 600 unit, residential high rise apartment complex complete with some major retail stores in the ground floor. They were required to provide an emergency power generation system for this building and this is where Collicutt got involved.

The Design Challenge

There are always challenges to sort through with any project and this one was no exception. Besides the usual design constraints associated with projects in California like strict emissions compliance and seismic ratings, this project had some unique aspects that had to be addressed.

  • First, the generator would have to be installed in the parking garage of the building prior to the construction of the upper floors of the building. This put us on the critical path for project construction. We had to deliver on time!
  • Second, because the overall building design was still in process, we needed to allow for late changes prior to placing the generator into production in the event that we would need to upsize or downsize the generator and its components
  • Third, because of the seismic requirements and the fact that the generator was to be installed inside the building, the fuel tank had to be equipped with ballistic rated retainer walls. Basically, this is a double walled fuel tank that is filled with cement between the inner and outer wall to provide a puncture proof solution for fire rated indoor applications
  • Fourth, because the unit was located indoors, it needed to be equipped with a special exhaust silencer to meet the city sound requirements for indoor applications.
  • Finally, the installation of the generator would need detailed planning, coordination, and safety oversight. Due to the construction site location, offloading and placing the generator would require local road closures with the added challenge of dealing with overhead power lines. This meant that we would have to coordinate a crane and the trucking company within a very tight timeline while ensuring we had the time for a safe lift!

The Solution

Our Collicutt team worked closely with our customer throughout the design phase of this project. As the design progressed the customer realized that their electrical load had increased. Because of this, we upsized the original 1000kW generator to a 1250kW unit designed to provide enough critical power to meet full load requirements with a reserve factor of 10%. The model we selected was a 16V2000 DS1250 with IBC rating, complete with a roof mounted DPF and a UL2085 rated fuel tank.

In addition to this, there were various automatic transfer switch changes and breaker adjustments that the customer requested and we were able to accommodate within the time constraints. We were also able to coordinate the appropriate air quality permit for the customer so that their generator has all the permits required for operation.

The end result was that our customer received the generator at site on schedule. Our trucking and crane contractors were able to safely unload the generator, lower it two stories into the parking garage, and remove their equipment within the allotted road closure permit constraints.

It was a great team effort and now the building program can go on!

 

For more information on this or any other power generation solution, contact us via email or at the number below:

1-888-682-6888 or info@collicutt.com

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The Importance of Load Bank Testing

How do you know your emergency generator will work when the power grid fails? You have invested all this money in a back up generator but what assurance do you have that it will work when you need it most?

We have all heard the stories of businesses that have had to stop production or send employees home because of power failures. Then there are the situations where power failure puts the organization at risk of loosing their inventory or even the extreme case of risk of life at a health care or elder care facility.

The loss of power for any business or organization is not an acceptable outcome!

What Can You Do

So what can you do to make sure your back up generator is ready for use?

One of the best things you can do to ensure your emergency generator is ready for service is to complete a periodic load bank test. A load bank test evaluates the generator’s performance by simulating up to 100% of the generator load within a controlled environment.

What Does Load Banking Do For Your Generator?

 When a load bank is performed on your generator it:

  1. Validates Overall Generator Functionality – Completing a load bank test allows the generator to run under a load and validates all of the components of the generator. Voltages and currents are monitored along with temperatures and other critical operating parameters.
  2. Burns Off Unburnt Fuel – The generator has the opportunity to remove any unburnt fuel that may have accumulated in the DPF, a condition called wet stacking.
  3. Removes Carbon Build Up – The generator needs to run at operating temperature to allow for any carbon build up to burn off from injectors, rings pistons, in the DPF, etc.
  4. Checks Coolant System – Load Banking allows for the validation of proper coolant temperatures and the radiator functionality while the generator is at full load.

Take Action

Rather than just assuming that your backup generator will work properly when the power fails, take action now and have your generator load banked. Technicians will monitor all aspects of your generator during the load bank process and identify any areas needing adjustment or repair. This will prepare your emergency generator for any utility power outage!

Call us if you need any assistance with load banking. We have factory trained technicians and load banks ready to provide service to any make or model of generator!

Also, check out these related posts for more generator maintenance tips:

  1. Top 6 Reasons Why Your Emergency Generator Will Fail to Start
  2. What is an ATS and Why Should You Care
  3. Preserving an Engine
  4. How a Pre-Lube System Can Save You $500,000
  5. How to Avoid DPF Failure with These Easy Steps
  6. The Number 1 Reason Your Generator will Fail

 

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