About 6 weeks ago while driving to work, I decided to do something that had been on my mind for a while: buy a portable generator for emergency purposes since we live in earthquake prone Southern CA. A local hardware store had a reasonably priced 6800 watt portable generator that I liked so I bought it.
I brought it back to Jimani along with a few 5 gallon gasoline storage cans and long extension cords. My employees and neighbors in the business next to us watched and chuckled and we unloaded it. Comments like “What do you know that we don’t?” were freely dispersed. No matter….I felt prepared.
The next morning while driving to work I noticed a few service trucks from a large, local electrical contractor doing some type of work on the main avenue that I take to work each day. I didn’t pay much attention. I had a visitor come in to Jimani that morning. We processed his samples and, as we were getting ready to leave Jimani to go to lunch……bang….total blackout. It seems as though the electrical contractors had been contracted to run some underground cabling for the city and had managed to cut through some underground power lines. Although we didn’t know it at the moment,, we were destined to be without electricity in a 10 block area for two days.
As soon as we lost power I seized the opportunity to try out my new purchase. It took a while because I still had to unpack the generator and learn a bit about it, but within 2 hours we had 3 fiber laser markers, our server, our shipping computers, our phones and our coffee maker running along with enough lighting to let us work. We did all of this with power to spare on the 6800 watt generator. The coffee maker was the biggest load. Needless to say, our neighbors were envious and my employees now want me to pick their lottery ticket numbers.
Aside from giving me the opportunity to have a humorous story to share, this experience made me appreciate how much fiber lasers have changed our business and the laser marking world in general. There is no way that I could have powered up even a single YAG laser marker and its associated, required chiller with this generator, much less any other equipment necessary to keep operating. I took the opportunity of being hooked up to the generator to measure the load on it from our 20 and 50 watt fiber laser markers. A 20 watt Langolier, including computer and monitor, operating at full laser output power consumed 256 watts of electricity. The 50 watt Langolier Fiber laser Marker consumed 310 watts of electricity. We kept three Langolier low power Laser marking systems in full production on less than 1 KW of 115VAC power. Needless to say, the generator paid for itself a few times over with the work we were able to do during the blackout. Go Langolier!