Power outages this summer could cost supermarkets and fresh food retailers hundreds of thousands of dollars in damaged or destroyed fresh food.

A sudden brownout or blackout, with increasing numbers of homes and buildings drawing on the power grids, will catch many owners and staff unawares forcing expensive loss of goods.

Australian Industrial Rental (AIR) has developed a solution for supermarkets and fresh food retailers, and the fresh food industry, with a power generator that automatically synchs with the power grid.

The AIR 500 generators can auto-synchronise with any power grid to ensure minimal loss of electricity in emergencies, and plans are afoot to introduce remote management of the unit using 3G technology.

The AIR 500 generator delivers 500kVA capacity in temperatures up to 56 degrees centigrade and is already being used by some Woolworths and Coles supermarkets.

AIR’s Adelaide general manager and one of the developers of the generator, Wade Bailey, said the synchronisation and instant start meant there was absolute minimum down-time between power outages.

“Its size and capacity makes it ideal for supermarkets and shopping centres, food manufacturers, warehouses and storage centres,” said Bailey.

“A 20 per cent smaller footprint, better fuel consumption and remote control capabilities that allow it to be switched on or off via landline, mobile or satellite provides a rapid response solution in emergencies.

“Stand-alone generators cannot be synched with the power grid. With the AIR 500 the combination of the remote control and synchronisation means the load shifts to the generator and back again, as necessary. The end user doesn’t notice any difference in power supply.”

Utility companies such as South Australia’s ETSA and Western Australia’s Western Power have already expressed interest in the new generator.

The AIR 500 is a utility-spec version 4 generator designed specifically to meet the needs and purposes of utility companies and it meets environmental certification. The fully digital engine management system, coupled with the air control operating system, allows precise control over the generator.

Chief executive officer of AIR, Simon Mair, said that it was expected that within six months the company would be able to offer a secure cloud computing environment for each AIR control generator.

“This will remove the costly set-up of intranets and IPs for our client base.

“Our secure cloud computing environment will operate over the 3G network and offer live data streams for monitoring.
“This will allow the operator to control the machine from any point in the world and obtain real-time information about its performance and any issues it may encounter.

“It can even allow remote intervention using portable devices such as notebooks to gather updates on performance, any incidents or telemetry readings or access the log file for analysis,” said Mair.