Engineering supplies specialist Incledon Pumps & Irrigation (IPI) has developed a customised pumpstation for the Thika Greens golf course, in Kenya. The system is en route to Nairobi and will be commissioned this month.
Landscape design group DDV approached IPI to design a fully containerised pump-station to supply water to sprinklers on the fairways and greens on a permanent basis.
To ensure that only the operator-prescribed volume of water is delivered, the company used variable-speed-drive (VSD) inverter systems, which enable the control of line pressure and allow the pumps to be gradually introduced to meet varying water demand, removing the resultant wear and tear seen on the conventional hard-start equipment used in the past.
“These VSD systems offer power consumption and water use efficiencies. The systems usually employ two jockeys and one or two variable-speed-driven slaves and a required number of hard-start slaves to produce the required volume and pressure on a course. This design philosophy is used extensively on applications that require efficient flow and pressure production where flow requirements vary dramatically,” says IPI national product manager Romeo Giannone.
The system components were sourced from South Africa and Italy, and the development and design of the system were done in-house in South Africa.
Giannone says the biggest challenge was getting pipe manifold construction done accurately to facilitate flawless and trouble-free assembly within the confines of containers used to house the new pumpstation. He reveals that expansion bellows were used to mitigate inaccuracies.
The containerised pumpstation enables easy installation and ensures a reduced lead time for the golf course pumpstation.
The container is semisubmerged below ground level, enabling the pumps to be installed much closer to the water supply levels and reducing net positive suction head issues that are commonly experienced in traditional above-surface stations. The semisubmerged container also improves aesthetics. Landscaping around the pumpstation will eventually eliminate the view of the structure.
Another challenge was the issue of insufficient space to fit one 40 ft container in a viable position, says Giannone.
“We had to design and construct the complete pumpstation in two adjoining 20 ft containers. This was a real challenge. The two containers will be positioned next to each other with their doors side by side. This means that the pipe manifolds have to be accurately aligned in each box so that the connecting pipe manifolds between them can be flawlessly installed,” he explains.
The positioning of all the components was achieved using three-dimensional design software, and the proportions and weight spread were also considered during this process.
As the containers are being transported by sea, they had to remain seaworthy and reasonably well balanced for delivery. The system was built almost Meccano-set style.
The whole system was built in about five weeks, two-and-a-half weeks ahead of schedule, adds Giannone.
“Incledon plans to improve the construction of these plants where possible and market them as virtual ready-to-use equipment. The revamping or replacing of an entire irrigation system pumpstation on a golf course could leave the grass and plant life vulnerable if the changeover from new to old equipment takes longer than a week.
“With this type of ready-built system, the changeover can be done in that time and one is not caught by surprises as is the case when doing a conventional upgrade and discovering that some equipment does not fit. The course can have a new plant fully installed next to the existing system and it take less than two days to reroute the suction and delivery lines,” says Giannone.
To expand on this type of plant, the company plans on building it on a smaller scale and intends standardising certain components to allow future construction and installation to run more efficiently.
By the end of this year, Incledon plans to have these systems working with reticu- lation boosters in building basements or similar applications.
The company also undertakes systems planning with clients.
Giannone believes the company is pre- pared for incorporating the need for energy saving systems and the required production lead time into a plant that services both these aspects.
However, he says there are now more market players in certain pump segments as a result of easier access to worldwide supply.
“The market needs innovative and cost-effective measures and it is a good thing that pump requirements are increasing in infrastructure supply. However, the chal- lenge in the industry would be to keep margins at acceptable levels and to stay competitive,” he states.
Meanwhile, he says the company is trying to develop its renewable-energy product portfolio, along with the best- quality energy efficient devices, such as a complete range of VSD equipment.