Innovative design, engineering and high-performance testing highlight the KSB pumping system to be installed 85 meters beneath the River Thames.
by Pumps & Systems Staff
One of the Image 3. One of the "rag monsters" generated by the historic four-month rag testing. Photo courtesy of GIW Industries.

KSB and GIW fulfilled the customer’s requirements, but they did not stop there. There was an opportunity for further internal scientific testing to learn what the pump could truly handle.

“We wanted to find out how rags behave in a closed system,” Ulmschneider said. “When do they clog the system? When does the pump start to fail? This test is groundbreaking, not only for KSB but for the wastewater industry as a whole. It is the first comprehensive rag test of this magnitude. We met the contractual requirements of the customer and then really pushed the pump to the edge. We discovered what it could do. We now know at what point the pump will begin to struggle and when it will shut down.”

Testing, Part Two—Performance Tests

Complete hydraulic performance tests were performed on each of the four Super Pumps and each of the four motors at KSB Halle’s Q-Loop Test Field, one of six state-of-the-art test fields at this location. Performance testing included the pump running continuously at four different duty points for two hours, explained Dr. Thomas Hennig, KSB’s test field engineer. The maximum speed (critical point) is a flow rate of 3,000 l/s with total head of 87 meters. At this point, the pump should absorb the power of 3,000 kilowatts (3 MW).

The highest absorbed power ever tested at the Halle facility is 3.4 MW, Hennig said. This test field has the capability to test up to 10 MW.

It was a goal to come as close as possible to a real-life situation in the pumping station. The total height of the Lee Tunnel test rig is 10.4 meters, including the original carbon cardan shafts of 1.2 meters.

The KSB test rig for the Super Pump hydraulic performance testing.Image 4. The KSB test rig for the Super Pump hydraulic performance testing. Photo courtesy of KSB.

Another challenge was that the clear height on this test field was limited to just 10.6 meters because of the maximum height of the cranes. Only 203 mm (8 inches) were available to maneuver, which is not a lot of space when it comes to moving such heavy equipment (see Image 4).

Each test lasted about five hours and required an additional cooling system, which KSB was prepared to handle.

“Within KSB, we have several test fields all over the world,” Ulmschneider said. “This test field in Halle is the only KSB test field that can allow for the electrical power, dimensions and functionality that can comply with all the testing requirements for this project. But even this test field needed extra cooling for the continuous two-hour test.”

KSB invested 18 million Euros in 2009 to build a testing facility that would accommodate pumps of this size. This included the test field, test field hall and XXL machining centers. Two cooling towers were built at that time, but space was made to accommodate six.

Two more cooling towers were added specifically for this project. “We doubled our cooling capacity to accommodate the long-term, two-hour permanent tests for this project.” Ulmschneider said. “When we built this test field, we made provisions—from cooling size and electrical power input size—that maybe we would need to test even larger pumps one day. Today, we don’t build many pumps that need 10 MW of power, but we are prepared for when we do.”

The first part of the performance tests involved two hours of continuous running at the specified 3,000 l/s. KSB measured the time gaps in 10-minute intervals. For the test to be successful, the average flow rate/total head should remain constant for two hours. The winding and bearing temperatures of the motor and bearing temperatures of the pump were measured. During the two hours, the temperatures rise. The temperature time test determines the estimate of the temperature values after a long period of constant running. Maximum limits were measured, not overloads.

The second part of the performance test measured one complete performance curve by changing the flow rates. This was measured four times at four different speeds: 326 rpm, 315 rpm, 166 rpm and 150 rpm. Four performance curves were determined. These tests also measured vibration, bearing temperatures and noises.

The final part of the testing involved measuring net positive suction head at a speed of 326 rpm.