A phone call in the middle of the night can be a startling and worrisome occurrence, but for the generator rental team at Steiner Electric, it is just another day of the week. The team is available 24-hours, 7-days-a-week to bring power to its clients when the power goes out.
In addition to reacting to emergencies, the Rental Sales department under the Power Systems Division provides a number of other services such as preventive maintenance programs to increase the reliability of in-house generator system. Preventive maintenance services include planned maintenance programs, load bank testing, fluid analysis, and vibration testing (See sidebar, at end.)
As an authorized distributor of Kohler generators, the department rents a range of Kohler models for a variety of applications. “We carry from 20kw to 400 kw, and if someone needs some other model type, we will get it for them,” says Tim Morris, rental manager. “Whatever they need, we will get it for them.”
The team assists contractors, electricians, maintenance people and other customers to select the appropriate generator, transfer switch or switchgear.
“Most electricians know what they are going to need,” says Morris. “They will measure the panel and if it is an emergency no matter the time of day or night, the electrician will usually tell me what they need and we get it to them ASAP.”
Steiner Electric rents the equipment on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. “Some businesses don’t want to buy the generators because then they are on the hook for maintenance and repairs,” Morris adds. “By renting from us, they get our experience and repair capabilities and they do not have to worry about fixing any problems themselves.”
The sales team can also set up the customers who have frequent power failures with an emergency power transfer box, also known as a Powertron Tap Box. The Tap Box is permanently installed and the rented generator plugs into it. The units can help restore power minutes after the generator appears on the scene.
When power goes out, work can stop in places outside the walls where the outage occurred. For instance, an automotive parts manufacturer’s power recently went out, which essentially shut down production at other factories that needed those parts to build the cars.
“As I was coming into work, the emergency service called me and said that we have a customer in Rockford that needs to talk to me right now,” Morris says. “As I’m taking that call, someone else from the (auto parts) company is calling us to tell us they need a generator ‘right now.’ That is how desperate they were. We got a generator up there in a couple hours and got production up and running again.”
In another instance, a high power line that stretched across the DesPlaines river broke and the power line was in the river. It took maintenance crews 3 to 4 days to get the power lines restrung. A food retailer was facing the prospect of disposing of $1 million worth of meat unless they could get power established within 24 hours. Needless to say, Steiner was able to deliver. The food did not spoil.
One of the company’s largest customers is a grocery store chain that keeps a backup, 750kW generator at Steiner Electric. “We store it here, in Elk Grove, and maintain it,” says Morris. “If they have an outage, we deliver where it is needed to protect their food from going to waste until they get their primary power working again.”
Each store has been surveyed and power requirements noted, and so the generator equipment will work basically in any of the company’s locations. “The way they look at it,” Morris says, “they save money by keeping the generator here and maintained so that it can be towed to any store, instead of buying one permanent unit for every store and paying all that maintenance and storage. ”
One of the most valuable services offered by the Steiner generator rental sales teams is a preventive maintenance program that will increase the reliability of the equipment.
The team will schedule maintenance to give the generators a thorough checkup. “One time, a generator had no oil pressure,” says Anthony Luzbetak, a service technician. “We pulled it all apart, replaced the oil pump, replaced the pressure relief valve, pretty much the whole system. When we were done, it ran perfectly.”
While most customers require standard equipment, there are times when some unusual needs must be met.
Typically, most generator applications require 120-240 V single phase, 120-208 V 3-phase, and 480 V 3-phase, but there are some customers who require a 240 V 3-phase unit. “Few people can handle that, certainly most distributors can’t, but we can,” says Morris.
Chicago has a lot of old infrastructure that still use the 240 V three phase, Morris explains. “We built a generator ourselves for one of those projects,” he says. “We converted a generator. We ripped all the wiring out and rewired it and just tapped it for 240 delta. We had to make our own controller. Now that we have it, we think this is a good little unit that is going to be busy.”
Sometimes the rental teams’ expertise can be a life saver. In most instances, the contractor or maintenance person knows exactly where to place the diesel generator. In one case, however, an electrician made a mistake and installed it in the courtyard of a 10-story, U-shaped building. “Every unit in that building was getting diesel-fuel exhaust in their apartments through their windows,” says Morris. “We found the problem, and we wound up having to move the generator almost a football field away.”
Keep Your Generators Maintained Before a Problem Occurs
|A preventative maintenance program will increase the reliability of your generator system. In addition to scheduled maintenance and a load bank test, a fuel polishing program will provide early detection of small problems to reduce costly repairs and down time. Our factory-trained technicians can service most makes and models of generator systems.
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