Local industrial component supplier ElectroMechanica delivered pre-assembled irrigation pump panel systems for use in agricultural applications last month.
The panels are scheduled for installation and commissioning, in Zimbabwe, by the end of this month.
The multiple pump panel systems order – worth about R600 000 to the farmers – comprised six panels of between 30 kW and 75 kW each, totalling about 300 kW.
The order was notable because of the speed at which ElectroMechanica had to process and deliver the consignment.
“The client – who will be redistributing the panels to Zimbabwean farmers – needed it in a hurry, so we had to build and assemble the six panels in seven days. It was a very short time, but we managed. When farmers need water, they need it immediately, and so we did whatever we could to deliver it in time,” ElectroMechanica automation manager William Cameron tells Engineering News.
He explains that it was challenging to meet the stringent deadline because it meant that technicians had to work over weekends. This was mitigated by outsourcing the assembly of some of the panels to key external contractors.
The pump panel systems help farmers reduce energy costs, conserve water and increase productivity, owing to preconfigured variable-speed drives, which reduce the energy drawn by the pump motor by controlling the speed while maintaining a constant pressure on the line.
“This is critical in terms of overall efficiency, as even a small reduction in speed results in significant cost savings,” Cameron notes.
The panels also include automatic sleep and wake functions, as well as enhanced motor, pump and drive protection features, such as Class II surge protection.
“The Swiss-made Huba 528 pressure transducers and Delta’s CP2000 pump-purpose drive creates a combination that meets industry demands for robustness in harsh conditions. Many of these panels need to be positioned outside and in remote areas, so they need to be tough,” he says.
The drive’s customised keypad layout means that operational data is displayed on one screen, while submenu settings are simple to navigate.
The pump panel systems are enclosed in weather-tight sheet-metal enclosures that are available in various sizes and variations, depending on the particular requirements of the installation. The panel layout allows for sufficient working space to simplify installation, commissioning and servicing.
The standard features of the irrigation pump panels include a panel mount isolator, drive and control circuit breakers, power and control terminals, manual on/off or automatic selector switch, run and trip indication, cooling fans and vents, as well as a rotary setpoint selector.
The company also offers a standalone photovoltaic pump panel solution, which includes standard features such as a multi-status indicator lamp, an on/off selector switch, direct current fuse protection – including a spare direct current main fuse, no-flow input and underload protection for the pump – as well as maximum power point tracking software and manual override. The photovoltaic pump panel solution has no battery or mains.
Typically, the standard pump panels are used in irrigation applications, as well as ground dewatering for excavation and construction sites.
However, the standalone solar pump panels – while useful in saving on energy costs – cannot maintain constant pressure in the line necessary for irrigation purposes and are, therefore, best suited to other applications such as domestic water supply, fish farming, water for livestock, solar-powered fountains, sprinklers, misters and soakers.