According to the National Association of Manufacturers, there were 251,901 manufacturing firms in the United States in 2014. All but 3,749 of them employed less than 500 workers. And of these small companies, 75 percent of them employed less than 20 workers. Altogether, these firms employed 12.3 million workers — 9 percent of the workforce in the U.S.
These numbers are important because, while you’d expect a large manufacturing firm to install a commercial-grade diesel or gas generator to prepare for a power outage, it’s less likely that a smaller firm have such equipment in place, and these smaller firms constitute the majority of manufacturing in the U.S.
With such an important role in employment and economic output, small manufacturers should educate themselves about the importance of emergency power by means of a standby generator.
What’s to Lose Without a Generator
Manufacturers rely on lean production methods, deadlines, and precision control to compete in a global, 21st-century market. Any disruption can therefore mean big financial losses. Consider what happens if a manufacturing plant loses power for even a few minutes and doesn’t have a commercial generator to quickly restore electricity. First, the company wastes the money it pays to its employees for the time they cannot produce. While a few minutes may not account for much lost in terms of one employee, but multiplied out between even a few, it can mean hundreds or thousands of dollars lost in productivity.
Material is also potentially wasted. If manufacturing is disrupted midprocess, some materials may end up ruined or require reprocessing — another potential financial hit. Quality of materials produced may suffer, as well, if the manufacturing process does not flow smoothly.
Machines, too, that lose power may need reset once power is again available, causing additional delay and time lost.
Safety is an additional concern during a power outage in a manufacturing environment. If lights and equipment fail, workers are at risk for various injuries because they cannot see. And if they’re operating equipment, they run the additional danger of injuring it and other goods, too.
When manufacturers can’t get power for a longer period of time and they don’t have a diesel or gas-powered generator, they may have to send employees home. They may miss deadlines. And office tasks also will be impacted, as computers, internet, and phones won’t operate.
Stay Productive with a Standby Generator
There are numerous good generator brands that produce the industrial-level generators you’ll need to remain productive. Four brands we recommend include:
Generac produces diesel and bio-fuel generators for industrial and industrial use. It also produces natural gas generators, which according to the manufacturer emit 90 percent less emissions than do diesel generators and can make permitting easier in some cases. Generac produces gaseous generators up to 500kW and diesel generators up to 2,000kW.
Briggs & Stratton Commercial Generators
Mostly known for its whole house generators, Briggs & Stratton also produces a line of commercial generators. The company’s selection is smaller than those of some of its competitors, and a Briggs & Stratton will fulfill backup power needs just as well. Briggs & Stratton offers low-RPM natural-gas-powered generators between 35 and 200kW. Smaller models are available, as well.
Kohler Commercial Generators
Kohler is a well-known name in the generator industry and remains a popular brand. It’s known for its quality and, like Generac, has its diehard followers. Kohler offers diesel generators up to 4,000kW. It also offers smaller natural gas and propane generators up to 1,350kW.
Cummins Onan Commercial Generators
Cummins, based in Columbus, Indiana, prizes quality and produces some of the world’s top-quality and best-performing products. With 100 years of experience designing and manufacturing engines, Cummins offers a variety of industrial-grade generators that can supply energy needs for manufacturing businesses. It offers generators than run on diesel, lean-burn gas, natural gas, propane, and duel-fuel sources (natural gas or propane). Its largest generators produce 3,000kW of power.
If you’re interested in exploring backup power or need additional power for peak manufacturing, contact Midwest Generator Solutions. We can help you evaluate your needs, provide quotes, and provide both technical and mechanical support after installation.