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Pump-sizing calculator prevents costly mistakes

RIGHT CHOICE
IPR's pump selector algorithm can be used to size any pump in the Atlas Copco range for a customer's specific requirements

RIGHT CHOICE IPR's pump selector algorithm can be used to size any pump in the Atlas Copco range for a customer's specific requirements

15th September 2023

By: Tracy Hancock

Creamer Media Contributing Editor

     

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Identifying the correct pump for the job has historically been a time-consuming process. Pump dewatering and dredging solutions company IPR is helping its customers streamline the selection process with the introduction of Atlas Copco’s online pump-sizing calculator, the effectiveness of which has captured the interest of other industry players.

IPR is the appointed master distributor for the Atlas Copco range of dewatering pumps in Southern Africa, and added this innovative tool on its website about four months ago. The pump selection programme comprises an algorithm that is integrated into a user-friendly online tool. The programme speeds up the identification of the correct pump for a specific application by prompting the user to supply all the necessary information required to realise the best possible outcome.

IPR business development manager Ruaan Venter tells Mining Weekly that, previously, customers often failed to supply enough information on the pump application when submitting an initial enquiry, requiring further questioning by IPR.

The pump selection calculator also speeds up the selection process by automating performance analysis, eliminating the time-consuming process of manually plotting a pump’s performance curve on a graph, as well as hydraulic calculations.

“The hydraulic calculation incorporates hydraulic principles to calculate pressure requirements, flow rates, head losses and other hydraulic parameters based on the user’s input data. Factors such as pipeline dimensions, elevation changes, system restrictions and fluid properties are all considered to calculate the required pump performance,” states Venter.

Whereas these calculations would generally take someone an hour to do, once fed all the necessary information, the programme’s algorithm can reduce selection time to a minute, he says.

The pump selector algorithm can be used to size any pump in the Atlas Copco range for a customer’s specific requirements and provides the user with all the necessary information to support their decision-making.

This includes comparing the pump selection with other available options, as well as providing the proper curve and power rating at which to operate the specific pump model.

“The programme may also provide recommendations for the most efficient impeller configuration, or other performance enhancing features that meet the user’s requirements,” adds Venter.

Depending on the application, the programme may also consider material compatibility, environmental regulations, noise levels and other site-specific requirements to ensure a suitable pump selection.

Thereby the selection programme not only helps IPR’s customers accelerate their pump selection process but also realise cost savings by ensuring that the best pump model is selected for the application.

However, as with all artificial intelligence, the accuracy of the pump-sizing calculator is reliant on the quality of the information input by the user, warns Venter.

“It can still give you the wrong information if you only fill in 10% of the required fields.”

While IPR initially used the selection programme on its customers’ behalf, inputting information over the phone, Venter says the company has not experienced any resistance from its customers regarding the online tool.

“Now our customers use the calculator more than we do, but they still verify the pump model selection over the phone before going ahead with their order. Even pumps companies have asked our permission to use the calculator to specify their own pumps,” he adds.

Incorrectly sizing a pump for an application can have costly consequences.

“It’s all down to the hydraulics of the pump. If it has the wrong specifications or the wrong information is used in the selection process, your efficiency will either be too high or too low, impacting on the longevity of the pump.

“The inner workings of the pump, such as the impeller and wear plates, will be negatively affected, wearing prematurely,” says Venter.

When pumps are over specified, this creates too much flow through a pipeline, causing turbulent flow. This, in turn, creates back pressure which results in cavitation and, ultimately, causes the untimely reduction in the pump’s efficiency.

In addition, motors in South Africa only have a service factor of 1.25, allowing for a 10% margin of error regarding the percentage of overloading the motor can handle for short periods when operating normally within the correct voltage tolerances.

“The selection of the incorrect pump size, therefore, could exceed that safety factor, and your motor will overheat and become damaged over time,” advises Venter.

“These robust pumps are capable of handling high pressures and are resistant to wear and corrosion in challenging environments,” elaborates Venter.

All IPR customers who use the Atlas Copco pump selection programme have access to expert technical support at any point during their pump selection process.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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