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Sep 21, 2012

Supplier launches new genset controller

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Italy-based electrical equipment manufacturer Lovato launched its new RGK800 generating set (genset) controller unit in South Africa this month.

Specialist electrical equipment supplier Electromechanica hosted the launch event at its Johannesburg and Cape Town offices, having flown in two Lovato product specialists to showcase the new genset controller.

Available as a standalone model or with an automatic mains failure function, the RGK800 features all the basic functions of the initial RGK60 model, with some advanced features that extend its customisation capability and ease of communication.

The RGK800 can, for instance, control the generator with a mobile phone and has been designed for application wherever the engine-protection and engine-starting functions must be managed.

It can also be mounted outdoors, as it features a rubber gasket between the device and the panel, as well as an ultraviolet filter on the display.

The generator voltages and load currents of the RGK800 can also be continuously monitored, as there are voltage and current inputs for all the phases.

Further, the wide power-supply range can keep the device operative during cranking, at 5.5 V direct current.

Another key characteristic of the genset is its numerous built-in connections, such as resistive analog inputs for the fuel level, as well as oil pressure and water temperature readings.

The product also features a communication port on the front of the device, which uses infrared technology. This eliminates the need to open the electrical panel, usually situated at the back of the device, which disconnects the power supply.

This is particularly useful, as it is often necessary to connect a personal computer, smartphone or tablet to the genset to change one or more parameters on the generator, read measurements or download data, such as engine working hours and maintenance time.

Lovato’s genset RGK800 controller unit promises convenience and guarantees safety, as there is no danger of physical contact with high voltages, owing to the front communication port.

Market Acceptance

Electromechanica MD Dave van den Berg says Lovato is renowned for its genset controller units in South Africa, particularly the RGK60, which is used extensively by companies in the country, including telecommunications group Telkom and banking firm Standard Bank.

“We have sold more than 10 000 units in the country in the last six years,” he tells Engineering News, adding that the company could not keep up with orders during the peak of South Africa’s energy crisis in 2008.

“Load-shedding was good for us because it created a market for generators, which, in turn, created a market for controllers,” he says.

Most of Electromechanica’s clients have already installed Lovato’s RGK60, however, which does not bode well for immediate market acceptance of the new model of controller.

Many of the supplier’s clients have numerous gensets installed in the country – some with more than 200 installations. “The physical changes between the two models are also different, which makes it difficult to convert from one model to the other.”

Van den Berg is hopeful, however, that the launch of the Lovato RGK800 will “sufficiently whet industry’s appetite” and that the product will be attractive enough for customers to want to use the newer model.

“I’m sure our clients would love to replace the RGK60 with the newer model, as there are a lot more features and facilities included in the RGK800,” he says.

Further, Van den Berg hopes that, over time, when companies start replacing and repairing their controllers, Electromechanica will eventually be able to phase out the RGK60 so that it can focus on the newer range.

Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn
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