Anyone in here a water system engineer?

mat3833

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Long story short, I need someone to check the math on a water system to feed the machines at my job. We can't get an engineering firm to look at it because it's a bit of a unique situation.

I can give total head, pump specs, machine requirements, etc.

This SHOULD be a paid job, but I need to check with my boss.

Matt
 

hispls

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The manufacturers who will sell industrial size pumps will absolutely have some nerds on staff that can figure out what you'll need for your application. What's more is that you would have an implied warranty that whatever they sell you is fit to perform the task they claimed it would perform for you.
 

mat3833

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The manufacturers who will sell industrial size pumps will absolutely have some nerds on staff that can figure out what you'll need for your application. What's more is that you would have an implied warranty that whatever they sell you is fit to perform the task they claimed it would perform for you.
Yep, that's usually how it works if you are buying new stuff. Unfortunately, my boss bought a VFD pump system at auction that was made by a company that no longer exists.

Matt
 

hispls

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Yep, that's usually how it works if you are buying new stuff. Unfortunately, my boss bought a VFD pump system at auction that was made by a company that no longer exists.

Matt
So what's the plan if and when some part of that pump needs repair/rebuild/modification to work?
 

mat3833

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So what's the plan if and when some part of that pump needs repair/rebuild/modification to work?
It's not a single pump. It's a VFD triplex pump system. There are 3 separate 10hp Baldor motors driven by a control board. It's set up to run as an on-demand pump right now. One pump runs, I'd demand exceeds that single pumps capability a second kicks on, etc.

All of the parts are available still. It's not super old, the company was bought out and the new company was only able to provide basic information about the pump, not flow characteristics or anything of the sort. The only part that can't be sourced or identified is the actual impeller/impeller housing. The gaskets, seals, motor bearings, etc have already been serviced.

Even if an impeller were to grenade, all of the flanges are van-stone so it would be a simple matter of getting an off the shelf impeller/housing combination and replacing all 3.

The pump is way over-capable for what our water demands are. The questions we have are directed at the current plumbing setup and how the pump skid will be fed.


This is not my first pump system. I built the one currently running the shop including the water reclamation, settlement, and flocculent system. We simply out-grew it's capabilities, so it's time to upgrade. Im not a certified engineer of any kind, so I requested that the owner have someone look over the numbers to make sure we wouldn't have any issues with Suction head or supplying a specific demand at a specific outlet without causing huge pressure differentials. This system is going to total upwards of 60k, so I'd rather have someone with a degree look over my math and do the thing they went to school for and suggest any changes BEFORE we shut the shop down for a week and find a problem during production.

The plumbing in place is a nightmare since the building was not built specifically for our needs. All of the plumbing for the machines and polishers is in the ceiling, and each machine is fed with a drop down.

So, are you a water systems engineer that can help? Or would you like me to break down the concerns I have and talk about system demands at specific dynamic head numbers, machine pressure and flow requirements, and real-world system layouts?

Matt.
 

hispls

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So, are you a water systems engineer that can help?
No. I need to pump cold maple syrup here and that's the extent of my industrial pump research. I can tell you that we called up some industrial pump companies and they had proper nerds on staff who could tell us precisely what would do what, how fast and with how much lift and gave us some options.

One thing I have learned is that things do break and I try to consider "what happens in X years down the road when this thing fails?" Had issues already buying old/used equipment and stuff from China. Gotta ask yourself if/when something goes wrong what is the downtime going to cost you vs. just buying something new from a place you KNOW you can get quick support out of when you need parts/repair?

Anyway, good luck and outside of calling a company that builds/sells that sort of system I wouldn't even begin to guess how to find someone who has experience and is qualified to really give you a reliable answer.
 

audiobaun

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Just need to get it wired up if its single phase, 2 phase or 3 phase. Hopefully it came with its own controller? But Find a place that test pumps and have it ready to do a flow test. They can use a Hose Monster and a Petot gauge or flow measurment tools(Flow Nozzles) to get the GPMs and measure the current draw with a Fluke. It cost approx $500 bucks around here on a high rise annually
 

audiobaun

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That will also ensure that the pump testing Tech. can make sure the shaft isnt bent or may need to be aligned properly and the packing and seals and bearings are in good shape, the POV isnt clogged and working properly, and the RPMs
 

mat3833

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That will also ensure that the pump testing Tech. can make sure the shaft isnt bent or may need to be aligned properly and the packing and seals and bearings are in good shape, the POV isnt clogged and working properly, and the RPMs
OK, the pump skid is already functional. It has been checked and serviced. This isn't a pump selection issue, it's a plumbing and or Suction question.
 

mat3833

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No. I need to pump cold maple syrup here and that's the extent of my industrial pump research. I can tell you that we called up some industrial pump companies and they had proper nerds on staff who could tell us precisely what would do what, how fast and with how much lift and gave us some options.

One thing I have learned is that things do break and I try to consider "what happens in X years down the road when this thing fails?" Had issues already buying old/used equipment and stuff from China. Gotta ask yourself if/when something goes wrong what is the downtime going to cost you vs. just buying something new from a place you KNOW you can get quick support out of when you need parts/repair?

Anyway, good luck and outside of calling a company that builds/sells that sort of system I wouldn't even begin to guess how to find someone who has experience and is qualified to really give you a reliable answer.
Yep, I totally agree with that thought process. Unfortunately I don't make all the decisions. My boss is friends with a guy that does pump systems for commercial sites and he got the VFF system from an auction because he knew James was looking to upgrade. It only has 15 hours of run time on it. It was a backup system for a hospital, ment to supply the bathroom/sink water to the upper floors. He got it for 3 grand, put 2 in it for servicing, and here we are. Getting a similar system new would cost at least 30k, so I understand why they want to use it.

This really boils down to the cluster-**** that is the plumbing in the ceiling. I'm confident in the cleaning system upgrades. I just think the pump may be able to run the supply tank dry before the levels can equalize in the storage tanks. I'm also a bit concerned that getting the required pressure at the furthest outlet is going to cause crazy high pressure at the closest outlet.

It's alot more complex than I'm comfortable signing off on in this case.

Matt
 

metalheadjoe

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Yep, I totally agree with that thought process. Unfortunately I don't make all the decisions. My boss is friends with a guy that does pump systems for commercial sites and he got the VFF system from an auction because he knew James was looking to upgrade. It only has 15 hours of run time on it. It was a backup system for a hospital, ment to supply the bathroom/sink water to the upper floors. He got it for 3 grand, put 2 in it for servicing, and here we are. Getting a similar system new would cost at least 30k, so I understand why they want to use it.

This really boils down to the cluster-**** that is the plumbing in the ceiling. I'm confident in the cleaning system upgrades. I just think the pump may be able to run the supply tank dry before the levels can equalize in the storage tanks. I'm also a bit concerned that getting the required pressure at the furthest outlet is going to cause crazy high pressure at the closest outlet.

It's alot more complex than I'm comfortable signing off on in this case.

Matt
If you know the variables, a PLC can take care of the rest. You can program it to start/modulate pump speed based on any number of variables: system pressure, pressure differential, tank level... you get the point. Adding a BAS may or may not be adding unnecessary complexity; tough to say without knowing the details of your task.

I'm also a bit concerned that getting the required pressure at the furthest outlet is going to cause crazy high pressure at the closest outlet.
This sounds like a separate issue from the pump situation, as any pump moving a given amount of water through a circuit will create the same pressure in the circuit. So with that in mind, can you get an engineer to at least design the plumbing side of things?
 

mat3833

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If you know the variables, a PLC can take care of the rest. You can program it to start/modulate pump speed based on any number of variables: system pressure, pressure differential, tank level... you get the point. Adding a BAS may or may not be adding unnecessary complexity; tough to say without knowing the details of your task.


This sounds like a separate issue from the pump situation, as any pump moving a given amount of water through a circuit will create the same pressure in the circuit. So with that in mind, can you get an engineer to at least design the plumbing side of things?

The primary issue here is the plumbing. The pump system itself is rated for 3.5x the flow and 4x the head our system has. The building was already built when it was bought for the shop. A literal halo of 2.5" pvc was hung in the ceiling, the pump feeds this "halo" and the machines are fed from drop downs from this halo. I was not part of this halo contraption.

As I said, I'm not an engineer in any form. But plumbing is usually pretty simple. The plumbing situation is going to cause some kind of issues, I just don't know what kinds. There are 4 machines with 3 different water requirements, the closest 2 machines have the "medium" demands, the third has the highest flow but lowest pressure demand, and the furthest has the highest pressure but lowest flow.

We have to meet the minimum pressure and flow requirements for each machine, so setting the target to the highest requirement on the pump control unit should work fine. However, there is literally 150 feet of pipe difference between the closest machine with a 45psi requirement and the furthest machine with a 60 psi requirement. Pressure is a function of flow and resistance, so naturally I would assume pressure would drop substantially over the 150 feet of pipe. Raising the pressure target to maintain the 60 psi required at the furthest outlet makes my brain throw red flags about the first machines getting WAY too much pressure and/or having to upgrade solenoids or install some kind of relief system/bypass.

Matt
 

metalheadjoe

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The primary issue here is the plumbing. The pump system itself is rated for 3.5x the flow and 4x the head our system has. The building was already built when it was bought for the shop. A literal halo of 2.5" pvc was hung in the ceiling, the pump feeds this "halo" and the machines are fed from drop downs from this halo. I was not part of this halo contraption.

As I said, I'm not an engineer in any form. But plumbing is usually pretty simple. The plumbing situation is going to cause some kind of issues, I just don't know what kinds. There are 4 machines with 3 different water requirements, the closest 2 machines have the "medium" demands, the third has the highest flow but lowest pressure demand, and the furthest has the highest pressure but lowest flow.

We have to meet the minimum pressure and flow requirements for each machine, so setting the target to the highest requirement on the pump control unit should work fine. However, there is literally 150 feet of pipe difference between the closest machine with a 45psi requirement and the furthest machine with a 60 psi requirement. Pressure is a function of flow and resistance, so naturally I would assume pressure would drop substantially over the 150 feet of pipe. Raising the pressure target to maintain the 60 psi required at the furthest outlet makes my brain throw red flags about the first machines getting WAY too much pressure and/or having to upgrade solenoids or install some kind of relief system/bypass.

Matt
The benefit of a VFD is you don't have to run the pump on/off or full-bore all the time. You can either modulate the pump speed using an external signal or you can set a static speed anywhere from 0-60hz or even higher when spec'd. The pump being oversized is a non-issue when it's run off a drive; you can throttle it down to meet the other system requirements.

If the plumbing isn't being changed, I don't see how it will be an issue with the new pump but not the old pump. I apologize if I missed it: are you saying the equipment that requires water was replaced with equipment that requires higher pressure? If so, I think you need to do something drastic like redesigning the entire loop or adding booster pumps or 3-way valves as you already mentioned. It sounds like the whole system needs to be reevaluated, though I suspect that's already the plan if the bill is $60k.
 

metalheadjoe

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It's not a single pump. It's a VFD triplex pump system. There are 3 separate 10hp Baldor motors driven by a control board. It's set up to run as an on-demand pump right now. One pump runs, I'd demand exceeds that single pumps capability a second kicks on, etc.
I have never seen a single drive stage multiple motors, though I have seen a single drive modulate three motors, so long as the drive is big enough for the combined load.

If each motor is on its own drive, you can use the same control outputs (assuming dry contact) that currently start the motors to start the drive. Just set "start source auto" parameter to DI1 and set "minimum freq" parameter to whatever speed you want the pump to run. "Freq ref" parameter won't matter because you won't have anything going to it, and it will run the pump at the minimum frequency you specify.
 

mat3833

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I have never seen a single drive stage multiple motors, though I have seen a single drive modulate three motors, so long as the drive is big enough for the combined load.

If each motor is on its own drive, you can use the same control outputs (assuming dry contact) that currently start the motors to start the drive. Just set "start source auto" parameter to DI1 and set "minimum freq" parameter to whatever speed you want the pump to run. "Freq ref" parameter won't matter because you won't have anything going to it, and it will run the pump at the minimum frequency you specify.
OK, ignore the pump. It is 3 pumps with their own drive controlled by a single Triplex unit. It is ment to rotate what is the lead/lag pumps to equalize wear on the pumps and increase output to match demand. It is a working, fully functional, programmable, self-contained unit.

This is an example of the system we have: https://towle-whitney.com/water-booster-pumps/triplex-water-booster/


Yes, the plumbing is going to be changed, but due to how the building is layed out and machine locations there is going to be a very large difference in dynamic head between outlets. The concern here isn't anything to do with the pump, it's before/after the pump. Before the pump is the water storage system that the pump will draw from and after the pump is obviously the supply for the 4 machines, 6 hose bibs, 5 handheld water polishers, and one small nozzle for flushing the runoff trenches.

Matt
 

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