What Is A Load Bank?

A load bank is a crucial device for companies across a wide swath of industries, with load bank testing serving as an invaluable tool for assessing primary and secondary power sources and ensuring a smooth continuation of production in the event of a power outage. 

An electrical load bank serves an integral purpose for everything from manufacturing plants to automobile batteries, mimicking the amount of power used in a given time period (usually a day) to ensure a central power source is functioning at peak capacity and efficiency. 

In particular, a generator load bank is simply the most effective and accurate way to test a generator’s ability to handle the daily demands of a fully-operational facility. Load bank testing of a generator is extremely controlled and won’t tax a power source with current types it hasn’t handled before. 

What is a load bank?

The right electrical load bank could save a facility thousands upon thousands of dollars by helping to identify deficiencies in primary and secondary power sources before they falter and grind operations to a complete standstill. 

What Are The Different Types Of Load Banks?

There are three common types of electrical load banks:

  1. resistive load banks
  2. inductive load banks
  3. capacitive load banks

Resistive load banks are the most common type of electrical load bank. These particular generator load banks offer equivalent loading to generators and prime movers, with the same kilowatt or horsepower amount of load applied to a generator by the load bank also being applied to the prime mover by the generator. In load bank testing, resistive load banks are used to mimic resistive load types such as heating loads and are the usual choice for testing the wherewithal of domestic power sources such as automotive batteries.

Inductive load banks are usually used in conjunction with resistive electrical load banks to conduct load testing of an entire power system. The iron-core reactive element of an inductive electrical load bank works in concert with resistive load banks to create a lagging power factor load. When these two types of banks work together in load bank testing, a wide variety of generators, load tap changers, conductors, and other equipment can be accurately assessed with currents that are out of phase with the voltage.

Capacitive load banks are akin to inductive load banks in many ways, but differ in that leading power factor loads are created by the generator load bank. With reactive power being provided by the loads to the entire system, there’s a significant uptick in the overall power factor. Capacitive load banks are the electrical load bank of choice for the non-linear load testing needed for computer and telecommunications facilities.

There are also a host of combined load banks that can serve multiple functions in load bank testing across a wide variety of industries and domestic power source concerns. In short, there’s an electrical load bank out there for almost any power testing scenario you can think of! 

What Are Some Main Applications For Electrical Load Banks?

There are way too many uses for a proper generator load bank to list here in full, but here’s a snapshot of the different applications for load banks across a gamut of different industries:

  • Conducting load rejection tests.
  • Ensuring stand-by generators are fully operational in the event of an emergency.
  • Engine cell testing to ensure new engines can handle the variety of loads common during normal usage.
  • Generator testing for generator manufacturers who want to double-check the stability and overall strength of a newly-manufactured generator. 
  • Eliminating the problem of wet-stacking in diesel generators by stopping the common buildup of grease and oils which occurs when a diesel generator isn’t consuming fuel at optimum capacity.
  • Load bank testing of batteries and UPS systems.
  • Factory load bank testing of turbines to ensure they are functioning at peak capacity.
  • Key excision of carbon buildup on generator piston rings to keep generators healthy and capable of running at top efficiency.

Why Should You Care About Load Banks And Load Bank Testing?

A quality generator load bank could spell the difference between a full-scale power outage emergency and maintaining a full or partial semblance of a crucial status quo. If your company’s backup generators are out of date and unable to withstand the normal load of operations in the event of a primary power source outage, you’ll be completely out of luck and see profitability plummet dangerously as a result.

With the right generator load bank testing at your disposal, you can identify problems in primary and backup generators right away and utilize that information for either replacing them or conducting necessary maintenance. 

A top electrical load bank identifies problems in generators, batteries, engine cells, and other power sources before they become problems. Planning ahead for inevitable breakdowns and outages with regular load bank testing could save both consumers and companies thousands of dollars in everything from repairs to tow truck costs if an automobile battery fails in the middle of nowhere.

Load bank testing is also an undeniable necessity for those customers looking to purchase a generator for industry or domestic usage. Electrical load banks are used to run generators to demonstrate their overall performance so a customer can make sure they’re not getting a raw deal and a bum generator.

The truth about generator load banks is that they’re a vital tool in taking the emergency out of power outages through proper load bank testing of backup generators’ efficiency and efficacy. In addition, electrical load banks as a whole can test primary power sources and work as a potential preventative measure for power outages altogether.

Those who care plan ahead. Any factory of a facility which requires a hefty electrical load to keep the doors open and the process is rolling the dice by ignoring the integral role of electrical load banks. 

A proper load bank will help ensure that the lights stay on and the money keeps flowing in, regardless of primary power outages or other potential electrical malfunctions.

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