Reliable power supply is critical to Pace Farm's new egg production facility at Wattle Ridge in central west NSW.

Inside the Pace Farm's new egg production facility the environment is controlled to the enth degree.

Five new Cummins generator sets are on standby to provide emergency power at Wattle Ridge, where Pace Farm has 720,000 birds that are producing around 690,000 eggs a day.

From the outside there is no indication that this is one the major egg production facilities in the southern hemisphere.

At Wattle Ridge, Cummins has installed five standby generator sets to ensure there is no interruption to productivity in the 12 large sheds if there ¡s a power outage.

According to Pace Farm, almost every element of the environment in it –such as temperature, humidity, oxygen content, lighting, static pressure is controlled so it is critical that there is no power shortage.. It is essential to ensure the welfare of hens and so a continuous power supply underpins all these elements.

Temperature is maintained at 22°C to 24°C regardless of the conditions outside, where it can reach 50°C in the summer and plunge to minus 5°C in the winter. Air inside the sheds also needs to be exchanged with fresh air at a controlled rate to ensure constant oxygen level.

Against this scene of a world-class egg production, it is easy to understand why power supply is so crucial.

According to Pace Farm, it simulates a power outage each week to check that all its generator sets and warning systems are operational. Pace Farm actually runs the generators for an hour each week.

Pace Farm’s electricity supply from the grid is reasonable but not perfect. Since Pace Farm started in mid-2003, it has had three outages where the generators have had to run for any length of time.

The requirement for correctly specified and packaged generator sets for emergency power was understood by Pace Farm. Product quality and guaranteed service support were a priority for a business in the national food chain spotlight.

Pace Farm wanted a low emissions package that met its own environmental standards and those of the EPA, which applied fairly stringent emissions limits to the site.

Working closely with the Cummins Power Generation team at Wetherill Park in Sydney, Pace Farm decided to install the new technology diesel generator sets in the form of Cummins DFEK units with a 440 kW standby rating.

These are mains-fail/auto-start units and feature the advanced 15-litre Cummins QSX engine.

The efficiency of the QSX15 focuses on its Quantum System (QS) platform, which incorporates a full-authority electronic fuel and engine management system allowing compliance to the stringent emissions standards in the world.

To cater for the high temperature variations at Wattle Ridge, the Pace Farm generator sets have 50°C ambient capability radiators, water jacket heaters, and alternator anti-condensation heaters.

The generator sets were also installed with Cummins PowerCommand PCC3200 paralleling controller.

This microprocessor-based controller provides an operator interface to the generator set with enhanced monitoring, metering and control features. The control utilises digital voltage regulation, digital governing and superior generator set protective functions.

The integration of these functions into a single control system provides enhanced reliability and performance compared with any conventional control system.

Pace Farm has new Cummins generator sets at two other facilities, in Griffith. These include a DFEK unit and also an 888 kW standby DFHD powered by the Cummins QST30 engine.

Pace Farm wanted a supplier that could assure it of back-up support, and Cummins was able to do that through its facilities at Leeton and Wodonga.