In 2019 American manufacturer Generac will celebrate 60 years in business and, with the recent acquisition of the Pramac brand, a powerhouse across a diverse range of sectors is now in place. Construction Plant News reports on a new chapter in an already distinguished story.
Despite that long history, UK contractors and hirers would until relatively recently have been largely unaware of this North American corporation, but, with the takeover of first Tower Light in 2013 – and its most recent 2016 investment in Pramac – the name has evolved on these shores with some speed. One company and two brands – that’s now the ethos behind Pramac-Generac and, with a new national hub and distribution centre strategically located in Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent bringing the two organisations together, this is a business that’s now perfectly positioned to supply its considerable combined portfolio of products to the industry.
What the new premises provides is a significantly increased stock holding capacity, together with enlarged workshops, and plans for the addition of a training facility. The 21,000 sq ft space is nearly double the previous premises in Crewe, in fact, whilst there’s also 9,500 sq ft of yard space for larger gen-sets and wash racks. The increased size means all PDI and warranty checks can now be carried out on the Staffordshire site, whilst customer repairs are also undertaken by the Stoke-on-Trent engineers.
The combined Pramac-Generac portfolio is now extensive, encompassing materials handling solutions, generators, tower lights, pumps, dust suppression equipment and wash racks – with a number of significant launches on the horizon. All of the lighting towers and dust suppression units are now under the Generac umbrella, with the company positioning itself as a pioneer of new technologies in the field. The Cube+ Next, for instance, is a hundred per cent battery tower light, that will find its place in the increasingly stringent emissions standards of our inner cities, or in applications where noise might be an issue and, with fully dimmable lights, it will equally address light pollution concerns.
The battery bank will take six hours to reach full charge and, because those lamps are dimmable, that will then provide anywhere from 40 – 60 hours of lighting. In addition, with the technology advancing exponentially in terms of size and output, the next generation of Generac lighting towers has been future proofed with a design that will easily accommodate further batteries, boosting that run time still further. This sub one tonne machine is easily transported, and has been designed to be straightforward to operate. Indeed, the unit can be set to the convenience of auto mode, providing illumination when dark and shutting down in daylight.
“We listen to what our customers want and that’s reflected in the finished product,” explains Pramac-Generac Managing Director, David Oates. “One of the most recent additions to the Generac family, the V20 Hybrid is specifically designed with rail, event and construction sites in mind, for instance, with a number of features that will suit that industry.” That’s why this four lamp head configuration lighting tower has been given increased ground clearance with safe wind speed capabilities and for towing on rough terrain, but that’s far from the only improvement. One of the principle areas for development on the first VT-Hybrid was to review an overly complicated control panel, an issue which has been addressed on the new V20 Hybrid, with a much simpler and more intuitive display.
The V20 Hybrid light will increase automatically according to the level of darkness whilst it’s possible to manually intervene and set the desired level, lowering it to preserve battery power, for instance. Not only that, but, with a simple push of a button, it’s also possible to override that battery at any point and switch over to the engine. Temperature control features as standard, with sensors activating an extractor fan, and the gull wing door access makes servicing simplicity itself.
Generac’s experience in the US market has also allowed the company to bring solutions that are already well-established across the Atlantic to the European market. Indeed, the manufacturer can boast a North American market share of over 80 per cent in its residential gas range and has ambitions to fully acquaint the UK with the benefits with the introduction of 8, 11, and 13kVa residential gas gensets which will fall under the sister company’s brand and genset heritage of Pramac. Operating on both LPG and natural gas, the units are easy to install, and are aimed at home workers, properties with critical medical or security systems, farms and small businesses in rural locations, or where refrigeration units or communications will need to be maintained.
The construction industry’s attitude to contaminated water has been under scrutiny of late with new regulations designed to clean up the sector’s act, but here again Generac has answer in its wash rack service. The company is actually in command of the whole process of supplying its wash racks from site survey to commissioning and installation, with builders’ merchants, and hirers amongst the biggest customers. These are a genuine sustainable solution, with significant water savings accrued from their use, of up to 70 – 80 per cent annually. The 15 tonne maximum capacity modular array, will send dirty water through a four stage filtration system, and then back to the pressure washer in a closed loop system, whilst Generac will provide a full service around three times a year to remove any build-up of residue.
In the Pramac-branded power range, the E3200, P6000, and GRW, represent the core construction spec products. The first of these, the 230V, E3200 will supply small power tools, whilst the P6000 will run small portacabins or dust suppression units and is notable for market leading noise levels.
Originally, the GRW genset range, developed in collaboration with Speedy Hire, this is a power generation solution that specifically answers the demands of end users, and has since been improved and evolved to become the flagship of the fleet. It’s the small details in the design that can often make the difference on site and that’s certainly the case with this Pramac solution.
All of the internal sound attenuation material, for instance, is fully waterproof, which means it can be pressure washed clean without affecting the noise-deadening capability of the material itself.
The GRW range has over three years of prototyping under its belt to ultimately deliver a generator that satisfied the rental firm’s specific size, weight, noise and accessibility requirements.
All this manufacturer’s products are subject to constant renewal, and Bauma will be the stage for the introduction of a Stage V GRW, whilst a hybrid version with an output up to 100kVA is equally available, with power outputs on conventional diesel models up to 550kVa.
The challenge for any manufacturer is to maintain the footprint of existing models, whilst introducing the new technologies that hybrid or low emission standard units demand. That’s why the design team at Pramac have kept the same canopy on the hybrid GRW, with identical size, similar weight, and accessibility, into the bargain.
Dust has been a preoccupation of the HSE for some time now, and that has translated into much tighter on site controls. No longer is a labourer armed with nothing more potent than a hose and a water butt deemed acceptable, with dedicated solutions now required. Generac already supplies its proven DF 7500MPT machine but hire companies asked for something smaller – and that’s just what this manufacturer has provided. With its own power generation and water store on board, the Dust Fighter DF 3000MPT, is an all-in-one unit, that’s light enough to be towed behind a van. A telescopic mast raises a cannon that can cover a 20 metre area (wind dependent) whilst the water is also nebulized in order to combat silica dust, a potentially carcinogenic material if inhaled, and reduces water consumption.
Modern contractors and hirers are increasingly demanding connectivity on their machines and the genset sector is no different, and that’s why all Pramac 1,500 rpm and above units can have telemetry added. A GSM modem simply slots into the back of the control panel and, once installed, the generator can be completely controlled remotely, whilst information such as location, fuel levels, hours run, or service interval can be accessed. Maintenance and repair can be streamlined by interrogating a fault remotely before a technician is dispatched to site, whilst fleet managers can assess whether a unit is being either under- or over-used, ensuring that the gen-sets they have in place are properly sized for the application and fleet managers can be kept informed of the most pertinent information via text message. Similarly, the comparable Generac Tower Light system will supply information on hours, fuel storage, or battery status in the case of hybrids, and can equally be retrofitted to existing units.
Generac is already a $2 billion+ global operation, with 5,400 employees worldwide, and its investment in the new Stoke head office, together with the introduction of a swathe of new products, is an indication of its commitment to the UK & Ireland. Today there is now a distinct focus for the Generac name on dust, tower lights and wash racks, whilst power and materials handling are the preserve of Pramac. With either name, what is evident is a commitment to the latest technologies, and a willingness to work with its customers to find solutions in specific sectors.