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Glasgow’s new screw pumps secure long-term sewage treatment

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ECS Engineering Services has recently commenced works as part of the latest phase of Scottish Water’s £250m city-wide programme to improve sewage management in the Glasgow area. Over the next eight months ECS, in association with Landustrie, will be installing and commissioning 14 new screw pumps at the Shieldhall water treatment works, which serves most of the centre of the city.

Shieldhall is the largest of the Glasgow area’s waste water treatment works and serves a population of about 600,000 in the south of Glasgow, Newton Mearns and Renfrew areas.

The Shieldhall site has been modernised several times over the years to meet the growing demand of an ever-expanding population in Scotland’s largest city. As part of the current programme it was realised that the 14 large Archimedes screw pumps that drive the process were getting towards the end of their service lives and needed replacing.

There are four low level and six high level screw pumps, each weighing 13 tonnes, being 16m long and 2.4m in diameter and capable of pumping 960 litres/sec. There are also four larger RAS (return activated sludge) pumps, each 16m by 2.6m with a flow capacity of 1580 litres/sec.

The recent contract award was to provide like-for-like pump replacements, but ECS realised that this would have meant service engineers working in the original concrete troughs, hand screeding the screw pumps for several weeks to create the formed pumping troughs. This process exposes the engineers to unnecessary risks, so in conjunction with Landustrie in the Netherlands the design team looked closely at the design of the equipment to eliminate as much of this as possible, whilst ensuring the client still received the best standard of equipment currently available on the market.

In conjunction with ESD, Scottish Water’s supply partner, several design upgrades were made, the most significant being the alleviation of the requirement to hand screed the new machines into the concrete trough. The pumps were assembled in the factory complete with the new steel coated troughs, these can be moved into position relatively easily, without the fitters having to work in confined and potentially dangerous spaces. Upon successful installation of the new pump and troughs the whole machine will be backfilled with concrete giving both strength and durability far better than the original installations for many years to come. This design upgrade was a major health and safety gain that both Scottish Water, its main contractor ESD and ECS were keen to embrace.

Scottish Water specifications stated that a v-belt drive system should be used, with a direct-on-line drive configuration. This simple but efficient arrangement is appropriate because the slowly rotating pumps run continuously so there are no regular start-up impulses or shock loadings. To compliment this further, ECS has installed new high efficiency motors, which over the course of their long working life will save a considerable amount of energy.

ECS has also delivered further long-term savings thanks to the installation of Landustrie stainless steel ECO, sealed-for-life bottom bearings that are maintenance free for the lifetime of the bearing. Together, the complete installation will provide long-term reliability and efficiency for the treatment works for many years to come.

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Water Pump Market and Infrastructure Development

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Water pumps are the ancient and best widespread machines, which are used in wide range of applications. They are different products which are configured, engineered, and are standardized using significant secondary equipment. Newly developed water pumps offers improved act and perform reliability with well-organized and effective results. They are classified on the basis of methods of displacement including centrifugal pumps and positive displacement pumps.

Water pumps are used and operated in a huge range of end use industries including waste water treatment plants, chemical, oil and gas, and several industries including food and beverages, pulp & paper manufacturing, power generation, and mining.

The important factors that are anticipated to increase demand for water pump are increasing usage of water pumps in the oil & gas sector, rising demand for energy especially in developing countries, and advent technologies in water pumps enabling efficient separation processes for gas and liquids. In addition, rising need for wastewater treatment in the industrial sector and rapid infrastructural developments the ongoing developments in the industrial sector, especially in power and energy and agriculture.

Growing reliance on groundwater for other agricultural purposes and irrigation instead of monsoons in developing nations, such as India, is expected to increase the demand for water pumps in the agricultural sector is also driving the market growth. In addition, government initiatives for recycling wastewater for reducing water pollution globally. The major factor that hampers the market growth is decreasing the cultivation and farming of agave plant, fights in Mexican countries, rising energy and fuel prices.

One of the opportunity observed in the target market is need to drink clean water for maintaining a disease-free and healthy lifestyle, the construction of water recycling industries, and the increasing demand for solar water pumps.

The global water pump market is segmented into type, application, and region. Type segment is sub segmented into reciprocating pump, centrifugal pump, and rotary pump. Centrifugal pump segment is growing due to they are usually used in various applications and are available in various configurations including single-stage pumps, axial and mixed flow pumps, multi-stage pumps, sealless and circular flow pumps, and submersible pumps in order to encounter the problems associated with flow control across various end use industries. Application segment is sub segmented into oil & gas refines, chemical, and water & wastewater. Water and wastewater is growing due to higher investment in power & energy sector in emerging economies.

North America has the largest share for the water pump due to increasing domestic and household activities in developed nations, like Canada and the U.S coupled with rising government initiatives in the U.S. for recycling wastewater. Asia Pacific market register significant share due to high growth in water & wastewater treatment and power sector. Europe is also having the moderate growth share due increasing water scarcity and higher demand for better sanitation in UK, Germany, Spain, and France. (Source: scoop.market.us)

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A lot of hot air

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Water treatment facilities rely on filtration systems to remove waste products as part of the process to recycle the water before it returns to the river. These filters are periodically cleaned by backwashing them with air bubbles produced by large blowers. Following two unexpected blower failures, Sulzer was asked to investigate the cause and improve the reliability of the system.

In the UK, one of the regional water companies has an agreed framework contract with Sulzer for the repair of the blowers on its sites. The contract came about through a need for the company to have a single source for blower repairs, rather than having to deal with numerous original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Fortunately, Sulzer has engineers at its Bristol Service Center that previously worked for blower manufacturers and can offer considerable expertise to the customer.

Matt Knight, blower repair engineer at Sulzer, explains: “We have a contract to repair blowers from any manufacturer. All the work that Sulzer carries out is done in-house, which means that the customer always knows how a repair is progressing and they can come and see for themselves.”

Unexpected problems

In this case, the water treatment works operates three blowers as part of a complex cleaning cycle for the media in its filtration system, but two of them had failed in quick succession and been sent to Sulzer’s service center. The repairs were completed, and the assets returned to be installed by the site’s own engineers.

The maintenance team on the water treatment works had only just reinstalled the two repaired blower units and shortly after they were commissioned, they failed again. This left the aeration process with only one blower, the bare minimum for operation, but there was also considerable concern for the reliability of the remaining unit.

The units were removed once again and returned to Sulzer’s service center. Once they had been stripped down, it was clear that they had both suffered from overheating which had caused the rotors to expand and become seized.

The intensity of the heat build-up in the blowers was evidenced on one of the units by the fact that the plastic cabinet extraction fan had melted. Once the blowers had been disassembled, it was found that the rotor had friction-welded itself to the housing.

The fact that both blowers exhibited the same failure mode, suggested that the cause of the problem was not related to the unit itself, it was more likely to be a restriction, either on the inlet side or in the discharge line.

Investigation resolves issue with blowers overheating

Matt continues: “We have a very good working relationship with this customer and the blower repairs are just one aspect of the service we provide. The fact that we complete all of our repairs in-house gives us complete confidence in the quality of the repairs that we deliver. It also means we can give progress updates whenever they are required and return the repaired equipment with minimal delays.”

As soon as the blower repairs got underway, Sulzer offered to carry out an investigation at the treatment works to find the root cause of the problem. The engineers inspected the inlet filters along with the discharge pipework, using a borescope, but no obstructions were found.

Attention then turned to the pressure relief valves (PRVs), which were situated inside the acoustic cabinets, and should have lifted in the event of the blowers operating against a restriction or excessive load. Both PRVs were removed and found to be seized, however, while this accounted for the failure of the blowers, these valves were not the cause of the restriction.

Understanding the application

The blowers operate on a 24-hour cycle, producing scour air that backwashes the filter media. During the cleaning cycle, the blowers are not required to operate all of the time, and they are regulated by an unload valve, which vents excess air to the atmosphere. This avoids stop/starting of the blowers during the cleaning cycle.

All three blowers are regulated by this valve, and closer inspection found that the diaphragm chamber was full of water, preventing it from operating. This, combined with the PRV failures, had led to the blowers becoming distressed very quickly; only the proper function of the remaining PRV had prevented the last blower meeting the same fate.

The unloading valve was stripped and cleaned, but the recommendation was to replace all of the PRVs as well as the unloading valve to be sure the blower circuit would continue to function reliably. With over 15 years of service, these valves had performed well, but without a regular maintenance schedule, their operating condition remained unchecked.

Delivering the solution

While the on-site investigation was completed, the engineering team at the Bristol Service Center removed the damaged rotors and, using OEM drawings, machined the rotors and the casing back to original dimensions, ensuring the correct clearances were provided. The blowers were reassembled and returned to site, where they were reinstalled.

The Sulzer engineers compiled a field report for the customer that detailed the findings of the investigation and recommended implementing a maintenance routine for the PRVs, the unload valve and the non-return valves, to ensure continued, reliable operation.

Matt concludes: “Without the on-site investigation, we could have just repaired the blowers and they would have continued to fail. The combination of our technical expertise and application knowledge has been invaluable in resolving this issue and ensuring long-term reliability for our customer.”

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Mastering the waterways of Fuzhou

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In the capital city of China’s Fujian province, water is plentiful. Located by the sea and established on top of several rivers, commanding the water has always been key to the people living here.

People say 100 rivers run through Fuzhou. Water has been shaping the city since it was founded more than 2000 years ago. For better and worse. Sharing the riches of
the nearby sea with the citizens and pouring rain from the neighbouring mountains on to them.

Today, water remains a decisive denominator for Fuzhou. It is now attracting the eyes of China, when cities from near and far seek inspiration as to how to effectively manage water, being one of the country’s Sponge Cities. Societies, where smart design and solutions allow them to absorb, integrate and treat water in ways that help preserve the resource, and handle the effects of problems like flooding.

“We experience many challenges with water. During rainy periods, we have all too much, while the dry periods leave our waterways stagnating. That is one reason why we depend upon our floodgates to distribute water to where it should go, whether it is too much or too little,” says Pu Jiang, CEO and Co-Founder of Fuyuanxing Mechanical and Electrical Company.

Better living, great reliability

Wang Chuan Qi walks around the floodgate. He routinely inspects the station, making sure everything is running as it should. It is. He has primary responsibility for its operation at this point. This floodgate is built on top of one of the city’s many small rivers, the Chating. And here, its main function is usually making sure the waterway does not stagnate and leave water black and smelly, and a nuisance to the citizens of the area.

“It has to work. Always. Normally to make sure that water flows satisfyingly to the benefit of the people living here, but also in times with a risk of flooding. From my perspective, one of the great things about this solution is that the great performing Grundfos pumps are installed directly in the floodgate, which makes them easily accessible for service and maintenance. This allows us to conveniently make sure things work at all times,” says Wang Chuan Qi, Vice General Manager and head of the engineering team at Fuyuanxing. 

He is supplemented by Mr Song Zhi Guo, General Manager for the Fuzhou Water Environment Project at the Beijing Enterprises Water Group, and he is particularly happy about the support his company has gained from Grundfos, and the new options the floodgates present to him:

“Grundfos devoted its core products and competencies to the project in Fuzhou. The technical competence of the team and the user-friendly equipment have won great recognition from our company and Fuchou Municipality as well. With the pump gate system, we are able to create flow in the waterways. Residents can walk and live along the river. They are very pleased that clean water is brought to their doorsteps,” he says.

Perfect stepping Stones

While the pump gates of Fuzhou help ensure the right flow in the city’s rivers, they also attract the right attention. The Sponge Cities are great examples to follow, and this makes being part of their solutions highly valuable. The solution in Fuzhou is quite unique. The propeller pumps are built directly into the floodgates, allowing both ease in operation and maintenance, when performing their important task.

“Managing water intelligently is one of the largest challenges society faces. In China and globally. Being part of the solution in Sponge Cities like Fuzhou allows us to put our expertise to work in solving issues of flooding, while also making the city more pleasant to live in, thus making a difference for the people and supporting the Sustainable Development Goals. While also developing our own knowledge, so we can continue to make a difference,” says Leo Jie Zhang, China Business Managing Director, WU at Grundfos.

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