At Ferrier Pumps Ltd, design is second nature to us.
As soon as we answer the telephone and our clients begin to describe what they are looking for, what they are trying to achieve and where they are starting from, the wheels and cogs in our salespeople’s brains begin to whirl round as they envisage the problem, react to the challenge and home in on the details. The information thus gleaned then enables our sales engineers and designers to clarify our clients requirements and find themselves in a position where they can make a proposal which provides a solution to our customer’s requirements.
We work on the basis that every large project is a series of small projects that are brought together and melded together to form a larger result.
Sometimes we have to take a very intense look at these engineering challenges before we can offer a solution with confidence and this can take quite a number of days if we are being drawn into unusual or uncharted waters which are outside our normal course of daily operations.
For example, it would be a brave sales engineer indeed who would leap into offering a client a pump for tank emptying, on a suction lift with the onward transfer of thick, radioactive oil and sludge, (viscosity unknown), but which contains a high percentage of 2mm diameter glass beads. On such applications, homework needs to be done !
But on many projects, the pump side of things can almost be one of the most straight forward aspects of the many items of plant our design team have to consider when looking at screens, pipe-work, actuated valves, overhead lifting cranes, M.C.C’s and automated controls and telemetry. All these factors of a project which determine the performance of a pumping project , have to be taken into consideration when considering the overall design of a pumping station. The operation of every piece of machinery in a pumping station or used in a process, has a knock on effect in relation to the other equipment utilised in the scheme. Often, the optimum performance that can be achieved is a trade- off depending on the power available, the terrain that we are pumping over, the bore of existing pipe-work we are tying into and the flow rate that can be accommodated at the outlet.
For example : In recent times, variable speed drives have become the norm in many pump stations. These can be very useful to increase or slow down the flow rate pumping into a treatment works to ensure the works is not overloaded at peak times. But slowing the pumping rate down can also cause problems with pipe blockages should the flow rate be allowed to fall below the installed pipe-works accepted self- cleansing velocity rate. This can be overcome by installing software into the system which allows a pump to operate at a slow speed for say two cycles, but on a third cycle, it will pump at a much faster rate to scourge and clean the discharge pipe of any settlement.
There are many clever gambits which can be employed to improve the performance and reliability of a pump station or a pump system. As we said before, the design of such pump stations is mostly taking a series of little engineering challenges and bringing them together to make a larger, more impressive project.
The trick is to do it well, so that all the equipment works together to enhance the overall performance of the project itself. That is what we call our “Design Capability“