Atlas Copco rental gensets get more flexible with the DVC 550
DEIF’s DVC 550 digital voltage controller increases the flexibility of the twin-power genset units of Atlas Copco’s rental fleet, enabling the company to avoid generator oversizing. The DEIF controller also facilitates simple unit management, and Atlas Copco Rental is planning to retrofit DVC 550s on all twin-power units in its European rental fleet. “It’s really nice that it works so smoothly”, says a satisfied Project Engineer.
Atlas Copco is a well-known multinational manufacturer of industrial tools and equipment headquartered in Sweden. It manufactures and sells a broad range of products, from stationary compressors to nitrogen membranes – and thanks to its global Rental division, virtually everything that the company sells can also be rented, including its unique offering of generator solutions for demanding applications such as the oil and gas industry and offshore wind turbine commissioning.
Better AVR needed for innovative twin-power unit
Fully loaded, the Atlas Copco PM 1500+ solves low load issues and reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions up to 40% on variable load applications, thanks to the centralized control panel with an integrated Power Management System that switches the two power packs according to the load requirements.
This approach, which allows designers to avoid generator oversizing, entails several benefits: fuel savings, reduced generator purchasing and maintenance costs, better generator load profiles, and easier compliance with the EU Stage V emission requirements and similar regulations.
In order to work efficiently, however, twin-power units must be able to deliver any voltage between 400 and 690 V, and rental staff must be able to switch voltages quickly, easily, and reliably. The automatic voltage regulator (AVR) units previously used by Atlas Copco Rental proved to be unsuitable.
“Our equipment is often used in pretty harsh circumstances. The complete unit has to withstand the elements as well as quick and operational handling down to the smallest parts. Reliability is crucial, and a malfunctioning switch could have severe consequences,” explains Tom Leenaerts from Atlas Copco Rental. In addition to further improved AVR reliability, Tom wanted to focus on a smoother handling process: “We wanted to automate the process so when we switch from 400 to 690V, we only have to change the alternator and controller settings.”
DVC 550 solves reliability problems and adds flexible control
Looking for a better AVR, Atlas Copco turned to DEIF. After using the DVC 310 digital voltage controller for a couple of years, the company switched to the improved DVC 550 in May 2020. The flexibility, reliability, user-friendliness, and communication options of the DVC 550 quickly proved able to meet the challenges. Atlas Copco Rental twin-power units retrofitted with DVC 550s were now able to reliably deliver any voltage between 380 and 690 V; enough starting power to handle transformer magnetisation peaks.
“Recently, we installed four DVC 550s to overcome transformer magnetisation in a long-term project with two twin-power units. The initial magnetisation peak of the transformer was too high, so once every five times one of the generators would shut down due to magnetisation. When we installed the DVC 550s, the problem was solved. It’s been a couple of months now, and no problems so far”, says a satisfied Tom Leenaerts.
“Recently, we installed four DVC 550s to overcome transformer magnetisation in a long-term project with two twin-power units. The initial magnetisation peak of the transformer was too high, so once every five times one of the generators would shut down due to magnetisation. When we installed the DVC 550s, the problem was solved. It’s been a couple of months now, and no problems so far”
Atlas Copco Rental
Equally importantly, the CAN bus communication options of the DVC 550 mean that voltage changes can be handled from the generator controller (in this case, a DEIF AGC-4) without having to physically adjust the DVC 550. “On the old AVR, you had to set dip switches and bridges to adjust the unit every time you wanted a change in nominal voltage”, remarks Tom Leenaerts. “These components are fragile, and after three to four changes, there is a danger that they will break – and there’s always the risk that someone forgets to set them! The DVC 550 automatically follows the genset controller through CAN communication”.
The close communication between the AGC-4 and DVC 550 also means that run-up synchronisation (called Close Before Excitation on DEIF products) can easily be achieved without having to use external relays and re-route the feed from the exciter. This was an additional benefit for Atlas Copco Rental as it helps achieve reliable and safe operation.
Good support rounds out a complete package
With safer, easier, and faster voltage selection, and a wide choice of voltages to choose from, Atlas Copco Rental have a more flexible rental fleet at their disposal. They can easily adapt twin-power units for the application at hand, and they have several options to choose from when they need to deploy on a new site, or change the setup on an existing one. In addition to these technical benefits, Tom Leenaerts and his colleagues are happy with the support they receive from DEIF.
“I think the cooperation with DEIF is really good. You can always reach technical support, and all calls are really helpful. It’s a pleasure to work with these guys! If something is not working out, there’s always a hotline available”, he says, adding that the user interface of the DVC 550 is quite easy to use for Atlas Copco Rental’s engineers and technicians.
As a result of the positive experience with the DVC 550, Atlas Copco Rental Europe has decided to replace existing analogue AVRs on its twin-power units with the DVC 550 in its entire rental fleet. New generators in the fleet will also be fitted with the DVC 550, and larger, stationary generators may be retrofitted if required by each individual project.
Tom Leenaerts does not hesitate in recommending the DEIF DVC 550 to his colleagues in the generator rental business for the options and flexibility it gives rental fleet owners.
“It has a lot of benefits”, he concludes. “You can better size your generator applications and be more competitive on the market than with analogue AVRs. It’s much easier to adjust a lot of settings since you don’t have to touch the voltage regulator anymore and therefore get safer operation. You just set it once, and you only need to do adjustments in the generator controller. It’s really nice that it works so smoothly!”