RER speaks with Anne Feudner, product manager – mobile generators, Kohler Power, about the company’s new Mobile Paralleling Box, integrating mobile generators, having dialog with rental companies, preparing year-round for hurricane season, and being a power consultant.
RER: What is new technologically for your company in generators?
Feudner: From a technology perspective, one of the most unique products we now have available is our Mobile Paralleling Box. The Kohler Mobile Paralleling Box delivers cutting-edge flexibility by allowing customers to combine different sized generators with different fuel types. The box is designed for use with Kohler gaseous and diesel mobile generators and allows users to mix and match different size generators to meet job requirements. Four of the boxes can be used to parallel as many as eight Kohler generators. The technology incorporated into our Paralleling Box brings unmatched flexibility and a new level of customization to those wanting to deliver reliable power to remote locations or large-scale special events.
On the portable generators side of our business, we recently introduced a Tri-Fuel generator.
This product allows a user to run certain Kohler portable generators on three different fuels – propane, natural gas, and gasoline. To switch between the three fuels, the user simply turns a dial and swaps out the fuel hose. So, users can now easily choose how they want to fuel their portable generator based on what’s available to them either at home or on the jobsite.
What are the latest trends and developments in generators for the rental market?
Feudner: With the assistance of new technologies – like our Mobile Paralleling Box – users are getting more advanced in how they’re integrating mobile generators. We’ve seen more paralleling of generators for applications such as using multiple smaller units to replace a larger generator, providing redundancy to a primary generator in support of critical loads, meeting system capacity demands when one generator is inadequate, or managing generators to be sequenced on or off in a predetermined order based on system output.
RER: What types of trends do you see coming in the near future in generators?
Feudner: We maintain ongoing dialog with rental operations of all sizes to ensure we continue to meet their needs, now and into the future. Looking down the road, we’ll continue to look for ways to make our products even quieter, more durable and easy-to-use. Our goal in this segment is to continue delivering profits to rental companies by helping to enhance the overall experience for their customers.
We are just around the beginning of hurricane season. What advice would you give to rental companies about how to prepare for the impact of major storms?
Feudner: The best time to prepare for the annual storm season is well in advance. I always recommend meeting with key staff during the winter months, when you can all plan together in a thoughtful and measured way. It’s very important to make sure everyone knows their specific roles and responsibilities during an emergency. Also, be sure the equipment that your customers routinely rent in storm situations is fully serviced and ready-to-go when it’s needed. In addition, be sure to update your list of re-rental partners, fuel suppliers, and other important contacts so they can be reached quickly and easily. Finally – something that’s often overlooked – is make sure that you have a backup power plan for your own facility. This will help ensure that your business stays up and running when your customers are depending on you.
As hurricane season begins, what do you as a manufacturer do to prepare?
Feudner: We typically ramp up production to coincide with the beginning of the storm season. We’ll also monitor the weather throughout the season and – if a major event is predicted where there could be significant loss of power – we’ll coordinate with our distributors to move as much emergency power equipment as close to the impacted area as possible. Depending on the severity of the storm and the specific needs of the people in the impacted area, we’ll deploy service technicians and parts to make sure those affected by the storms – including first responders who are on the ground providing aid – have access to clean, reliable power. The safety and security of everyone involved is always our top priority in these situations.
What are the basics that rental companies should know if they want to be successful in generator rentals?
Feudner: Understand how to properly size a generator and then establish yourself as a power consultant to your customers. Help them to truly understand the best solution for their unique needs. As an added benefit, properly sizing a generator will help maximize the life of your equipment while also minimizing repairs and other potential issues.