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Power Whisperers: Isuzu Engines Flicks The Switch On Raw Power

Aiming to deliver the best possible transport solutions to its thousands of Australian customers, Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) moved into a purpose-built head office facility in February this year.

The sprawling site houses the entire national operation at Truganina, in the trucking heartland of Melbourne’s West.

As part of the planned build and to support IAL’s national operations, the Isuzu Engines team was tasked with developing and implementing the site’s all-important backup power supply.

The 21,000 m2 site includes the Administration, Sales, Engineering, Service, Parts, Engines, and Care (aftersales) operations. Unsurprisingly, the site has a significant demand on power resources in the event of a power outage or natural disaster.

This power demand sparked Project Whisper, which called for two units of Isuzu’s famed six-cylinder unit, the 6HK1—one of Isuzu Engines biggest and boldest off-highway engines.

These two turbocharged intercooled common rail engines, producing 212 kW each, now provide all the backup power required for the massive site, with off-grid use limited only by the availability of diesel fuel.

Having been tried and tested across truck applications for many years, the 6HK1 engine boasts a modular cooling package designed to withstand ambient temperatures beyond 50 degrees Celsius, suitable for Melbourne’s heat waves.

This engine’s efficiencies come in the shape of the combustion style chamber design, which results in lower fuel consumption levels, while not compromising on performance and output.

Isuzu Engines Manager, Dean Whitford, said the project was a huge challenge and one that pushed their engineers outside of their comfort zones.

“Senior Management came to us at the time to see if we could provide a solution. What was required is something we’ve never dealt with before. It was certainly the largest Isuzu engine to be built into a generator set in Australia, and something that had never been done before.

“Thankfully the development work we’d already done with the 6HK1 meant that this project was more of an extension of that work,” Mr Whitford said.

The project involved several parameters that aren’t always common to many of the jobs the Engines team deal with.

Mr Whitford explained, “We were legally bound by a few requirements, namely the requirement to keep these engines quiet. This involved some soundproofing work, which we hadn’t dealt with until this project.”

Not found anywhere else in the country, Isuzu’s backup power solution is truly world class.

“This was a huge effort by our engineers and I’m extremely proud of what they’ve been able to achieve in this project. Ultimately, what we have in place is complete power backup and coverage, enabling the facility to run as normal indefinitely.”