24 Jul 2024

Ensuring power in a digital world

Digital power

Andrew Keith, director of load bank manufacturer Power Prove, explains how advancements in load bank technology are making testing quicker and easier than ever and can ensure power in a digital world.

Load banks are a vital tool for power generator testing and validation. But aging equipment is making efficient testing a challenge. As the rest of industrial infrastructure modernises, how can we ensure that load bank technology isn’t left behind?

A marked shift towards a digital mindset and a growing dependence on technology means reliable power availability is becoming ever more important. Load banks play a crucial role in the power management puzzle, providing safe and thorough generator testing. But finding the right load bank setup to meet business needs can be a challenge.

Load bank problems

Conventional load banks can leave a lot to be desired. Older technologies often lack the required precision, leading to poor quality measurements. Resulting inaccuracies in test scores can make it harder to spot problems proactively for timely maintenance. This has a knock-on effect to the generator’s reliability, and for critical applications like hospitals or air traffic control, the consequences can be severe.

Traditional load banks will typically require manual operation. For remote or hazardous environments, such as an offshore generator or a building rooftop, these access challenges can make regular monitoring and maintenance more challenging. It’s likely that these systems will be checked less frequently than those in more easy-to-reach locations, and so problems are likely to go unchecked until it’s too late.

And the increasing connectivity of industry poses another problem. Continued implementation of connected technologies means that manufacturers are starting to reap the benefits, enjoying better visibility over operations and actionable insights to boost productivity. But as we become more and more connected, there’s a risk of older legacy equipment — including the humble load bank — being left behind.

Load bank solution

It’s clear that load bank technology needs a boost if it’s to tackle all these problems. Here, Power Prove aims to do just that with Digiload. This is a complete load bank control system. Thanks to its quad core 1.5 GHz processor, Digiload is one of the most powerful control systems on the market. Capable of sampling up to 6,400 times per second, Digiload provides an extensive view of generator performance to make predictive maintenance much easier. And real-time data visibility means testing and decision-making can be faster than ever.

There are three user control options. Local operation is possible through the touchscreen IPS display. A rugged remote-control option is available for work at a slight distance, and for fully remote operation, Digiload can also operate over an Ethernet or cellular connection. Choice of control means a flexible solution no matter the location.

Digiload can be easily configured with your own custom load step sequences for quick and easy repetitive testing. There’s no limit to the number of sequences saved, meaning that presets can be configured for just about any device that will require frequent testing. This feature is particularly advantageous for portable load banks in avoiding long set-up times.

And Digiload can also help support businesses still in the process of transferring over to Industry 4.0. Test data is automatically downloaded into a suitable format for easy integration within existing data storage and processing systems. This smooth data collection process allows for quicker and easier data analysis, rapidly cutting test times with no compromise on measurement quality.

As our world increasingly shifts to the digital, demand for reliable power will only continue to increase. Load bank technology will play a future role in the ongoing picture of power management, but investing in the right technology is key for a futureproofed, reliable testing system that truly meets the needs of your business.