Zero Failure Emergency Power

Standby power relies on rigorous preventive maintenance

Sharp Metropolitan Medical Campus is the San Diego region’s largest health care provider, with a 2.87 million square-foot campus that consists of three hospitals as well as other facilities. To ensure continuous power supply across its entire campus in any emergency, Sharp relies on four Cat® 3512 diesel generator sets for emergency backup power.

Armando Montes, operations manager for the central plant facilities, and the facility management team work closely with Cat dealer Hawthorne Power Systems to provide expert maintenance to the system, including regular service and inspection, load bank testing, oil servicing, Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) maintenance, and more. Housed in the central plant, the standby units must be kept in prime condition to support critical life systems. The gensets, including three that are more than 20 years old, undergo a rigorous preventive maintenance program to discover problems before they can compromise patient safety.

Toby Henry, central plant shop lead, believes redundancy and peace of mind go hand-in-hand. He says, “Our goal is zero failure. We have backups for backups for backups. I don’t do anything without four plans waiting in the wings.”

Cat generator sets are an essential part of those plans, powering the system within eight seconds of a grid power interruption. To be self-sufficient in an emergency, Sharp has 30,000 gallons of diesel fuel on hand, enough to power the gensets for more than two days.

The system was put to the test when a water main failed on the campus, sending hundreds of thousands of gallons of water coursing through the campus and posing potential threats to patient safety. Sharp switched to the Cat generator sets, which powered the campus for several hours while the water main was repaired, all while keeping patients safe and comfortable.

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