By Neil Courneya
One of the most important facets of the rental business is the need to continually look for ways to expand your product offering or find new ways to create additional revenue streams. In the rental industry, using generators for temporary power has been one of the core product offerings of most stores.
By Neil Courneya
One of the most important facets of the rental business is the need to continually look for ways to expand your product offering or find new ways to create additional revenue streams. In the rental industry, using generators for temporary power has been one of the core product offerings of most stores. Why? Because at the outset of most projects, a permanent power supply may not be available so the contractors require a generator to give them a power source to run their tools and equipment.
Generators come in a wide range of models for all types of applications. Contractors use everything from 3,000-watt models right up to 200,000 W and above depending on the size and scope of their projects. Many stores have 5,000 to 8,000 W models as smaller units and 20,000 or 25,000 W units are the most common for mid-size, with 35,000 to 100,000 W generators used frequently as well. It really depends on the contractor’s requirements.
The generators your contractors rent from you give them an available power source at their work site. One thing that limits them, however, is a minimal supply of receptacles.
Most have one or two 15/20 ampere duplexes, one 20 A and/or one 30 A, 240-volt receptacle and maybe a 50 A receptacle. The mid-range sizes and larger usually come with a set of lugs to hardwire equipment in as well.
Most contractors will tell you the limited number of receptacles can be an issue as they have multiple pieces of equipment or tools they need to run simultaneously. Another limiting factor is the distance they can operate from the generator. On a regular duplex receptacle, you can only go 50 feet with a 12-gauge extension cord, or 100 feet with a 10 ga cord before voltage drop becomes a major issue. Once renters surpasses those distances, they will have voltage drops greater than five per cent and this becomes a code issue as well as causing unforeseen damage to your equipment or theirs. This same scenario applies to temporary panels constructed at the site, as these are stationary and cannot be moved easily.
So how do you give your clients more options, better accessibility and virtually unlimited mobility, and do it while meeting all codes and guidelines? You rent them power distribution equipment with the generators. There can be significant operating costs for contractors using generator sets because they burn a lot of dollars in fuel. Running multiple generators at a site can be extremely costly so there needs to be an effective way for the contractors to use all the available power from a generator and be able to distribute it over a wide area quickly and easily. They can also use systems that are fully plug-and-play, which allows them to set up quickly and be mobile with their power over much larger areas. This gives them the opportunity to have power whenever and wherever they require it, quickly and (most importantly) safely.
You have all had the scenario where your customer calls and says your pump or your heater is not working. They will blame the equipment. Then, when a service tech gets there, they see he has 200 feet of extension cord plus 25 or 50 feet of cord on the pump or heater. They are now getting a voltage drop of 15 per cent or greater depending on their cordsets, so nothing is going to operate properly. It adds up to wasted time and money on everyone’s part. Why do customers run 200 feet of cord? Because the generator is way over there and it is difficult to move everything. Or maybe there are piles of snow or equipment or puddles in the way. What is the solution? They need to get the power supply closer to where they’re working to eliminate voltage drop problems and allow everything to operate the way it is designed.
Hy-Cor is one company that specializes in power distribution. That means assisting you with making the power available, user-friendly and efficient for your contractors.
Depending on the contractor’s secondary power requirement, you can supply 50A distribution boxes that will give them six additional duplex outlets plus a 30 A, 240 V circuit.
These are used with 50 A, 240 V, 6 ga cable that can carry the 240 V up to 300 feet with no voltage drop. That solves a lot of issues right there. If they require more twist locks or larger circuits for running multiple pumps, heaters, vibrators, power tools, lighting or whatever, you can supply 200 or 400 A distribution panels designed to offer 15/20 A/120 V to 20 and 30 A/ 240 V as well as 50 A/240 V receptacles all on one panel. Contractors can hardwire these to gensets or they can use camlocks for quick plug-and-play setup.
Do you ever have requests for 600 V applications? You can now supply step-up/step-down transformers that also will have secondary power distribution available. They can come with 600 V, three-phase receptacles so the customer can just plug in large pumps or welders or have a straight 600V supply.
The most important aspect of temporary power distribution equipment is the safety features. When sourcing this equipment, make sure it is built right in and that all the units are certified by the various authorities for use in Canada (for example, CSA, CQPS, CETL or ULC). Check that everything comes with the appropriate breakers, ground fault interrupters and IPDM monitors.
One of the consistent things Hy-Cor receives calls on daily is assisting customers with sizing generators for applications. Sending a generator too big is as inefficient as sending one too small. We also assist in sizing the secondary power requirement so you can supply exactly what your contractors need.
As with any equipment, understanding how it works, what it does and how it functions is essential in expanding your market for sales and rental opportunities. Hy-Cor has developed a full-day training program to educate your staff on temporary power and power distribution equipment. This training program was instituted at the start of 2011 and over 600 rental people have completed the certificate course. The training covers basic electrical circuits; a temporary power overview; how to determine temporary power requirements; sizing and application of generators and transformers; 200 and 400 A power distribution panels; 50, 60 and 100 A power distribution centres; proper cordset requirements, including sizing, nomenclature, voltage drop and GFCI; how to wire devices into temporary power supplies; temporary lighting, including stringlights, lighting for high bays and wide areas, task lighting, and work area lighting; system designs and certifications; hazardous duty applications; and explosion-proof lighting.
Temporary power distribution equipment can increase the use of your entire fleet of generators, create a new revenue stream and provide solutions for your contractors.
Neil Courneya is the president of Hy-Cor International. He can be reached at 1-877-657-2220. Courneya will present a seminar on temporary power at the Canadian Rental Mart, March 18 and 19, 2014.