Power Bytes

Let's Talk Generator Paralleling Basics

April 01, 2020 Caterpillar Inc. Season 1 Episode 4
Power Bytes
Let's Talk Generator Paralleling Basics
Power Bytes
Let's Talk Generator Paralleling Basics
Apr 01, 2020 Season 1 Episode 4
Caterpillar Inc.

In the first of a series on Advanced Controls, Caterpillar's Don Dentino talks about paralleling capabilities that exist "on-package".

Show Notes Transcript

In the first of a series on Advanced Controls, Caterpillar's Don Dentino talks about paralleling capabilities that exist "on-package".

Intro to Podcast: Welcome to "Power Bytes" sponsored by Caterpillar, the leader in power generation for over 90 years.  Here on Power bytes we will be discussing important topics related to power generation. I am your host Lou Signorelli and as always we appreciate you, our listeners and hope you find our topics interesting.  Please feel free to leave us comments or send us an email at Powerbytes@cat.com, or leave us a 5 star rating where ever you listen to your favorite podcasts

Lou: You can't really talk genset power without talking about Paralleling and paralleling strategies.  Joining me today is Don Dentino. Don was a member of the US Navy where he served as an electrician and power plant operator on nuclear submarines. He has both a BS and MS degree and Don added to his global experience selling switchgear around the world.  Don joined Caterpillar in 2001 where today he is responsible for defining and driving the controls strategy for Caterpillar.  Don, thank you for joining us today.

Don: Thanks Lou.  I appreciate the opportunity to join in on the topic and to be a part of this exciting new Podcast series!

Lou:  Don, can you outline Cat's paralleling strategy at a high level to help us level-set for our discussion today

Don: Absolutely!  We like to talk about our paralleling strategy in three primary categories:  First, Paralleling Switchgear .  Second, "Controls only" paralleling and Third, what we will refer to as "OnBoard" or "on genset paralleling."
In each case, you will see Caterpillar products and services designed to meet customer expectations in those general categories.  Caterpillar has a long history in the Paralleling Switchgear space, where we integrate paralleling controls (typically in the form of PLC controls) with Distribution Switchgear.  We have controls only solutions for those customers or applications that require the paralleling controls mounted separate from the distribution switchgear and/or the generator set.  And then, we have our On board capabilities - most notably with the EMCP 4.4 model Generator set controller.

Lou: As Digital capabilities continue to surge, I'm intrigues by the on-package paralleling prospect.  Can you shed some light on that specifically for our listeners?

Don: Yes.  That is a new and exciting world for everybody.  Kind of the new frontier.  This digital space really seems to be in its infancy and the Cat Digital solutions are evolving every day.  You are definitely going to see more value add features coming as it relates to the emergency power system - which includes the paralleling technology we are talking about right now.  In fact, we recently released a remote monitoring and service solution for our Switchgear product - which better enables factory based engineers to support field installations - in real time.  Very cool stuff!  Remote Monitoring. Remote Servicing and even some manner of Remote Control.  But with Digital or remote capabilities comes the issue of security.  You know that we at Caterpillar are going to ensure that our customers are not at undue risk.  Definitely more to come in this area Lou!

Lou: Ok, let me ask you about paralleling with the utility.  Is that possible with an "on package" controller?

Don:  Yes.  that ability to parallel a single generator set to a single utility source is available today! More specifically, we are controlling both the generator output circuit breaker as well as a Utility Tie circuit breaker.  We also provide the ability to parallel multiple generator sets to utility using our Master Control Panel.  That solution works with the individual genset paralleling controls to provide a lot of additional capability, including the more advanced utility paralleling features.  

Lou:  Why is being able to parallel with utility important.

Don: There are some key applications that makes use of this function.  Often times, customers want to parallel generator sets with utility for an extended period of time.  You will hear the term Peak Shaving - which is finding favor right now especially with Gas generator sets.  You also have those applications where you either Import power from or Export power to the Utility.  The application might also be a bit more simple, where the generator set is serving in Standby and only momentarily parallels with the Utility.  But, when you return to Utility power, you don't want to lose power even for that momentary period (Closed Transition return to Utility).  There is a lot of versatility to our controls platform and we strive to keep improving and adding those features that bring more value to our customers and how they use our equipment.

Lou:  And all that can be done on package?  No external controller?  That sounds like a considerable cost savings.

Don:  Correct.  That’s done on package.  While there is no external controller, some functions like Import and Export Control do require a load equivalent signal from the Utility.  Again, our solution is very versatile in that it will accept that signal from existing sensing or protective relays that may already exist in the system.  If that doesn't exist, we can provide that sensing equipment in a small panel - all pre-wired and configured to work with the EMCP 4.4. controller.  Your local Cat dealer can get you all set up with the right solution for your application.  

Lou: It appears that for the vast majority of applications or sites, Cat has come up with a controller that can greatly reduce site installation costs while delivering the latest in digital reliability and capability.  Am I seeing things correctly?

Don:  Yes.  That's it.  These Digital technologies are proven and they are helping our customers in many ways:  in some cases, that is helping to reduce site installation cost.  In others, it is giving them more site information at their fingertips.  It's an exciting time for the industry and an exciting time for us at Caterpillar.

Lou:  There you have it.  Thank you for joining us here on Power Bytes.  For more information on this and other topics please contact your local Cat dealer or write us here at powerbytes@cat.com, visit Cat Electric Power on facebook or on LinkedIn.  Till next time; thanks for listening to Power Bytes.