This Rusty 20-Year Old Load Bank Comes Back Strong!


Once in a while, we have an opportunity to do a little work that is outside of the normal day-to-day routine. One such opportunity came after visiting a customer to thank them for a recent order. The customer had purchased a Simplex Atlas 1MW portable load bank, to replace a competitor’s product that was not working as expected. This load bank was for daily use in their generator test cell, so the customer was very anxious for the new load bank to be built and delivered. To help keep the customer up and running, Simplex provided a loaner unit, and I visited their shop to make sure it was working as expected.

Loaner 400kW load bank ready to ship

While visiting their facility, I had a chance to look at a 20 year-old Simplex inductive load bank that sat on a trailer in their yard. Inductive-type load banks are specialized load banks, and their high cost represents a large investment for the owner. Looking over the unit, I found that, although some field modifications had been performed over the years and the controls’ technology was dated, the reactive load elements were in pretty good shape. The customer mentioned that the unit still worked well but could benefit from general repairs and a new paint job. With this in mind, we thought it would be worthwhile to consider sending the unit back to Simplex for a “factory refurbish”. If equipped with modern controls and metering, cleaned up and dressed in a new paint job, this load bank could go on to provide useful service for another 20 years. An extra benefit of a potential refurbish was the fact that, with a new control panel, this “old workhorse” would be able to network with the new Atlas load bank that was soon to be delivered to the customer.

After returning to the office, we prepared an estimate for the refurbish work, and the customer agreed to send the old load bank to Springfield, IL to get the work done. Here are some pictures of the “before” condition of the load bank:

LBS OriginalLBS ControlsLBS Electronics

Soon after receipt, Simplex finalized a list of the needed repairs and got to work. Here are the highlights of the work performed:

1. The exterior cabinet was restored with new paint, a new control panel weather cover, new door latches and a new “Saturn” nameplate.
2. The interior panels and components were dry-ice blasted to remove accumulated dirt and grime.
3. All electrical contactors and relays were replaced with new items.
5. The door-mounted cooling fans were replaced with new fans.
6. The old air-sail switches (used to detect a fan failure) were replaced with motor current sensors and new thermocouples.
7. One reactor was found faulty and was repaired.
8. Removed all analog controls and meters, and replaced them with a new PLC-based control panel (removable to allow remote control). This new panel is compatible with the Atlas load bank, and includes new digital power transducers, a large new touchscreen display, a new power supply and a new Ethernet switch.
9. New software was written and uploaded to integrate the inductive load bank with the Atlas load bank.

And here are some pictures showing the results!


The load bank was recently delivered to the customer, and Simplex will be on-site soon to provide complimentary field start-up service and training. The ability to network the “new” Saturn load bank and the Atlas load bank are sure to provide the customer with additional load test capabilities that will be very beneficial for years to come. We are glad to have had this opportunity to extend the life of our equipment and, in the process, provide the customer with a higher return on their initial investment.

If you would like to learn more about Simplex and its load bank product line, please visit this page. To review any specific load bank requirements, please reach out to us, or send us an RFQ. We are here to provide you with the best solutions in load bank equipment.

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