Specialist UK engineering company SMS Alderley has replaced two of the oldest Crestchic loadbanks still in operation, located on a British Ministry of Defence base on the remote Ascension Island in the South Atlantic.

The Ascension Island Base benefits from generator backup power in the event of a mains power failure. To ensure that the genset is maintained correctly and tested regularly, it is supported by two loadbanks, testing up to 200 and 250 KW of power respectively, in adjustable steps.

These were originally installed in 1985 and commissioned by Crestchic co-founder, Jim Gould. The loadbanks have been used for regular testing, every single month, for 30 years to ensure the generator is in full working order. Founded in 1983, Crestchic is headquartered in the UK and is an international manufacturer of loadbanks.

Ascension Island is inhabited by just over 800 people, with some working at the Ministry of Defence base.

Paul Brickman, sales and marketing director at Crestchic, said: “We believe the two loadbanks being replaced were some of the earliest off our production line in Burton-on-Trent. When the lead came in, we were all thrilled to hear the loadbanks were still going, as it was one of our company’s first jobs.”

SMS Alderley was consulted by the defence division of international support services and construction group, Interserve, who are responsible for the maintenance on-site, for the  replacement of the generator, associated control systems and loadbanks.

The teams from SMS Alderley, Interserve and Crestchic worked collaboratively to reduce the risk of downtime at the Ascension Island base. As the equipment was too large to manually transport through the main entrance, they engineered a system to remove the roof of the building and ensure a swift installation.

Steve Plant, senior project engineer at SMS Alderley added: “The loadbanks provide the necessary load conditions the generator would see in the event of a mains failure. This allows us to test all the functions of the generator set properly, also ensuring that the batteries are fully charged so that the set starts correctly. It also provides the opportunity to run the set for a period of time – about about an hour – and make sure that there are no fuel issues as well as checking for any oil leaks. This project is testament to the quality of the loadbanks that Crestchic produce and shows that, if maintained correctly, they will last the long haul.”