As residents of the United Kingdom there can be no escaping the floods that have affected our day-to-day lives over the past few years. The UK is experiencing harsher seasons and adverse weather conditions command consistent coverage in both print media and television. We’ve all seen the scenes of villages cut off from the outside world and swollen rivers that have burst their banks. The knock on effect this has for businesses cannot be underestimated.
One caravan park, situated on the beautiful south coast of England near Selsey in West Sussex, decided to take an innovative and proactive approach to flood management. Recognising the threat that flood water could have on its business, the management of the Warner Farm Touring Park approached Arun Electrical, a Parker Hannifin SSD drives products customer to provide a cutting edge pumping system to minimise the threat of flooding.
After significant flood damage during 2013 Warner Farm set themselves the challenge of pumping the water efficiently and swiftly from the grounds to protect customers and the grounds themselves. The concept is based on a series of interconnected ponds and pools on site. The water drains into the first pool and is then pumped into the second, then third and so on, eventually returning the water to the sea. Parker Hannifin were asked to provide an interconnected and intelligent drive system to control the pumping process. The Parker AC30 variable speed drive is at the very heart of the system.
AC30 has been designed to provide users with exceptional levels of control for pump applications, whilst being both flexible and modular in design. In addition to Ethernet as standard, AC30 also offers a wide range of optional communications modules which can be added or removed as required. In this application these features really show their value.
The AC30 system controls water levels via an internal proportional integral derivative controller (PID). The user sets the desired water level for each of the pools, ensuring that the set level will allow for efficient natural drainage. If the water rises above the pre-set levels then the pump will work faster, and if below, slower, ensuring that the water levels remain within the safe pre-set boundaries. The system can also be programmed to take into account seasonal variations in water levels allowing the user to specify pre-set values for summer and winter.
The communications capabilities of the AC30 gives the user a real-time system overview right in the palm of their hand. The drives can be programmed to send out a series of SMS messages via a low-cost modem to the mobile phones of maintenance personnel should certain predetermined events occur. Specific text messages will be sent in the instance of pumping being initiated by the drive, power failure, RCD trip (stating exactly what caused the trip), water level change, pump stall or any a number of other pre-determined triggers. This gives maintenance teams the ability to not only remotely monitor the system but also take immediate corrective action when required.
Controlling the motor via a variable speed drive in this application also gives benefits in terms of efficiency. The VSD matches system demands by matching the workload of the motor to the pumping requirements, keeping running costs to a minimum, reducing energy wastage. The drives are installed into fully outdoor rated enclosures and, unlike many other drives in this class, the AC30 is also conformally coated as standard for harsh environment protection (3C3 as standard with 3C4 for hydrogen sulphide as an option).
“The AC30 offers significant advantages over other drives in this class” stated Dave Kemp of Arun Electrical. “The inbuilt software and programmability negates the need for a PLC. What’s more the functionality was exactly what was needed in this application. The technical support team at Parker were able to listen to our requirements and support us in building our customised system”.
Commissioned in December 2013 the installation had a real opportunity to prove its merit during some of the worst weather the UK has experienced on record. It effectively protected Warner Farm from floodwaters that devastated so many people’s lives across the UK. Due to its effectiveness the team at the park identified other potential risk areas and have added more pumping stations to safeguard their site.