When it comes to electric power generation, renewable biogas energy or natural gas applications, customers want a quality product they can rely on, year in and year out. To meet power needs at hospitals, data centers, landfills, greenhouses, commercial businesses and manufacturing facilities, facility managers worldwide all share a common goal. They want high reliability, low owning and operating costs from their generator sets and superior product support.
At the Caterpillar Lafayette Engine Center (LEC) in Lafayette, Ind., a coordinated approach is taken at every level to ensure quality, reliability and a high degree of engagement with each customer — whether it’s planning a factory visit or testing a generator set prior to delivery.
“The number one comment I hear from customers is how friendly and welcoming our workers are, and how much they enjoy talking to someone in the factory who takes the time to show them what they are working on,” said Becky Barnes, director of visitor services at the LEC Welcome Center.
Located behind the LEC, the Endurance Facility is a dedicated power generation station that includes four generator sets (a pre-production model C175, pre-production G3520E, a prototype G3516H, and prototype G3520H) that run continuously. Beyond supplying 6.5 megawatts of base electrical load to the factory, the purpose of the facility is to evaluate generator set durability, identify key component wear patterns and more accurately establish service intervals.
“This gives us great insight,” said Joe Brunton, a service engineering supervisor for Caterpillar’s gas products. “It provides factory engineers and service personnel with firsthand knowledge about the actual durability and performance of our engines, and what needs to be done to resolve any issues before reaching the customers.”
Over the last 20 years, product development advancements have doubled the power output from the same-size engine. Today, Cat® generator sets use 20 to 30 percent less fuel, with dramatically less NOx and hydrocarbon emissions.
“Our engines are producing more power, and are more reliable at the same time,” said Tim Scott, global marketing and business development manager for Caterpillar Energy Solutions. “So it’s a great benefit for our customers in that it reduces their cost of operation. Every customer’s application is a little bit different. So flexibility and customization are important in our product — details matter — and we work passionately to make sure those details are incorporated into the larger picture of Cat reliability, efficiency and serviceability.”