As data center operators are forced to focus on the primary power constraints that must be overcome to meet the demand for new data center facilities, there is another type of power that cannot be overlooked. Emergency standby generators, or gensets, are the life-support systems of the data center, ready to kick in to keep the lights on and the data flowing in the event of a power grid failure.

Santiago Paredes
Santiago Paredes, CEO, IGSA Power – IGSA Power

IGSA Power is a Mexico-based manufacturer of emergency standby generators, founded in 1970, which works in partnership with a range of blue-chip companies to produce customized backup power solutions for the data center industry. DCD had an opportunity to chat with CEO Santiago Paredes, who can teach us a lot about the generator market – where it’s been, where it’s going, and how to find the right solution for you.

There has been substantial change in the market over the past five years. Paredes looks back at how current demands have evolved, emphasizing that backup power is more important than ever: “As industries expand and modernize, their power needs to grow accordingly, and clients are now seeking gensets with higher capacities to ensure they can meet their increasing power demands reliably.

"With the critical nature of uninterruptible power supplies, clients prioritize reliability more than ever, opting for larger gensets to ensure robust emergency power systems that can withstand fluctuations and outages without compromising operations.”

Technological advances have made these higher capacities possible, and newer units often offer the increased power required, without the need for an additional footprint in increasingly space-constrained environments.

The environment itself is a consideration, as Paredes explains: “With stricter EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) regulations and emission standards being enforced globally, clients seek gensets to comply with these regulations without compromising performance, equipped with advanced emission control technologies and alternative fuel options.”

At the heart of IGSA’s approach are its partnerships with a range of named brands including Baudouin, Mitsubishi, Volvo Penta, John Deere, and Perkins. Parades talks about the value that these collaborations bring to IGSA’s portfolio :

“We partner with brands globally recognized for their commitment to quality, reliability, and performance. By incorporating their engines into our genset solutions, we ensure that our products meet the highest standards of excellence, providing customers with peace of mind regarding the durability and longevity of their backup power systems.”

Igsa new 1
– IGSA Power

These partnerships bring a range of benefits to customers, from technical knowledge in design and manufacturing to ensuring clients receive “exceptional parts and service support”. It also makes IGSA Power more agile:

“Leveraging engines from multiple renowned brands offers production flexibility, and allows us to customize genset solutions to meet the specific requirements of each project. Whether adapting to various building loads, environmental conditions, or integration with existing infrastructure, our partnerships with these brands enable us to tailor solutions that precisely match our customers' needs.”

For IGSA Power and its customers, designing gensets capable of maximizing power output for each liter of fuel used is the key to giving the performance required by modern workloads, whilst simultaneously reducing operational costs and environmental impact. These gensets are all offered in a modular form that meets National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) 110 standards. The generators are designed to start up and transfer 100 percent of the building's electrical load in under 10 seconds.

Paredes says: “These modular engine designs streamline service and maintenance processes, as well as allow our team to optimize stock and parts inventory management. This allows for greater efficiency in serving multiple genset models, reducing downtime, and ensuring optimal performance over the generator's lifecycle.”

As a welcome side-effect to this approach, IGSA Power has improved its production process, allowing it to offer significantly shorter lead times to its customers.

“IGSA Power has optimized its production processes to streamline the manufacturing and assembly of the gensets packages. By leveraging advanced production techniques and efficient workflow management, IGSA Power can produce generators in as little as 40 weeks from order placement to delivery.”

This target, offered in partnership with Baudouin, can supply up to 10,000 engines per year. Paredes compares this to competitors who offer delivery on generators larger than 2,000kW an average of 104 weeks, with some lead times as long as 152 weeks. The advantages are obvious:

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– IGSA Power

“We can reduce the lead time, not only to acquire a generator but to build your data center. Our clients are satisfied by getting something up and running quickly, and not having to wait for the two to three-year lead times that our competitors have.”

Once the genset is installed, the story doesn’t end – it begins. Regular testing of diesel generators is crucial to ensure their reliability in those moments of need. Paredes tells us:

“Typically, the generators need to be tested at least once a month to verify operational readiness. However, testing frequency may vary based on specific regulations, industry standards, and critical data. This is done based on how critical the application is, as IGSA Power recognizes the importance of regular testing for gensets but acknowledges the environmental impact associated with diesel generator operations, particularly during testing procedures.”

As well as a range of advanced emission control technologies, such as exhaust after-treatment, which are said to reduce the environmental impact of diesel emissions, IGSA Power is committed to finding maintenance regimes to further minimize impact. This commitment comes along with alternative fuel options, such as biofuel, renewable diesel, and HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) to further reduce carbon emissions:

“IGSA Power can develop efficient testing protocols that minimize the duration and frequency of testing while still ensuring a thorough assessment of generator performance by optimizing testing procedures, thus reducing fuel consumption and emissions associated with testing activities.”

Another important aspect of efficient genset operation is the ability to control equipment at a granular level. Paredes tells us why this matters: “By monitoring multiple controls on the generator (amperage, voltage, frequency, temperatures, pressures, etc.) we can integrate real-time performance data that can be overseen from remote locations so you can proactively address situations.”

We’ve already looked at the advantages of partnerships that underpin IGSA Power’s products. It also puts them in a position to pool all that knowledge and experience into an overriding partnership with its customers.

– IGSA Power

“IGSA Power boasts a team of highly skilled and experienced engineering professionals, who specialize in power generation solutions, making them well-equipped to assess the effects and advise clients on the most suitable solutions for their specific needs. These experts have in-depth knowledge of generator technology, industry regulations, and application requirements. Our team works closely with clients to understand their unique needs, assess their power requirements, and recommend the most appropriate generator solution tailored to their circumstances.”

This ties in with a consultative approach to client engagement, allowing them to understand operational challenges, power demands, budget constraints, and environmental considerations. Says Paredes: “We recognize that one size doesn’t fit all. Based on our comprehensive understanding, the engineering team provides personalized recommendations and guidance to help clients make informed decisions regarding generator selection.”

By partnering and consulting with customers, IGSA Power can find solutions that don’t just suit today, but offer an individualized genset array that takes into account expectations of a market that moves at breakneck speeds, as Paredes tells us:

“IGSA Power assists clients in future-proofing its generator solutions by prioritizing regulatory compliance and scalability of technology integration, lifecycle planning, and ongoing customer engagement. By taking a proactive and holistic approach, IGSA Power ensures the client's emergency backup solutions remain reliable, efficient, and compliant with future requirements.”

With 250 staff and growing, IGSA Power has been able to attract a wide knowledge base, at a time when talent acquisition is challenging in every sector. Paredes tells us why this is so important: “The IGSA Power team includes engineers, technicians, and specialists with deep technical knowledge and expertise in power generation systems, including diesel generators, paralleling control systems, electrical distribution, and regulatory compliance. Technical proficiency enables the team to design, install, and maintain complex power solutions ensuring optimal performance and reliability.”

Another advantage IGSA Power presents is that their offerings extend beyond gensets themselves, and alongside their partners, they can offer a comprehensive backup power offering:

“IGSA Power manufactures its diesel fuel tanks, as well as aluminum and steel enclosures, which represent a strategic advantage in the market. Vertical integration allows IGSA Power to have greater control over the quality customization and cost efficiency of its generators, providing added value to customers and enhancing its competitive position. As customer needs become increasingly diverse and specialized, IGSA Power can offer customized solutions.”

As IGSA Power looks to increase its certifications to cover California’s Office of Statewide Planning and Development (OSHPD), International Building Code (IBC), and Tier 4 Final generators to show its commitment to sustainability, how would Paredes sum up IGSA Power and the future of the genset market?

“As demand for reliable backup power solutions continues to grow globally, IGSA Power can leverage its expertise and product offerings to tap into emerging markets and address evolving customer needs worldwide. Overall, the future of the generator market for IGSA Power looks bright, characterized by innovation, competitiveness, and commitment to delivering high-quality, environmentally responsible power generation solutions. Keeping an eye on these developments will provide valuable insight into IGSA Power’s growth trajectory and continued success in the market.”

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