With 1350Kw of raw power produced by a massive V16 diesel motor, the SABS in conjunction with KSB Pumps  and Valves has tested one of the most impressive pump sets to be assembled on South African soil in recent times.

Due to the critical nature of the application to suppress toxic gases in an emergency situation, engineers took the unusual step of pre-testing the complete pump set to ensure the unit performs exactly as required. In this instance, even KSB’s own world-class testing facilities in Germiston were deemed too small to deal with the sheer size and power of the set. This necessitated the use of the SABS’ larger facilities in Pretoria.

KSB contract manager, Geoff Havenga, explains the set, comprising a heavyweight KSB a RDLO 400-935A pump, V16 Quad-Turbo Mitsubishi motor and David Brown-manufactured gearbox, is part of Sasol’s Natref Hydrofluoric Acid Cloud Mitigation project and is required to rapidly produce a spray water to “knock down” any gas cloud that may form in an emergency spill situation. As a result, the pump set needs to be ultra-reliable and ready to spark in to action in an instant to pump approximately 770 litres of water per second at a head pressure of 13 Bar.

Impressive scale

‘The test is unusual as components are usually tested individually and again on commissioning. This time, however, the units were tested separately – the pump in Germany pre-delivery to South Africa, the diesel engine by Mitsubishi in France and the gearbox by David Brown here in Benoni. Due to the nature of the project, further tests were then required of the entire unit including capacity, head, power, efficiency and net positive suction of the pump to ensure further conformity with specifications.

‘KSB usually performs these tests on our own standard equipment, but this time the size of the motor was a limiting factor and required us to use the SABS facility. Here, testing was done under the supervision of the customers, KSB and SABS personnel and ran for four hours before being deemed to meet all specifications and requirements,’ says KSB’s test field manager, Norman Taylor

‘These kinds of string tests are done to ensure the entire units work correctly considering that the diesel motor requires to produce a staggering 1015Kw of power just to handle the required absorb-power needed to produce the 2800 m ³ of water needed per hour. Also, the forces at play when you consider this power is generated at 1500RPM and reduced through a reduction gearbox to 1000 which is the optimum range of the KSB a RDLO 400-935A pump.’

Trusted type

Havenga continues, ‘With the unit weighing in at an impressive 32-tons it is particularly impressive that we have facilities in South Africa where our customers can witness the performance of the equipment that they have purchased, in this instance by Worley Consulting Engineers on behalf of Sasol.’

‘The kind of pump used is widely operated in high volume applications in raw and potable water industries and is capable of reliably pumping high volumes on a continual basis. Well known for their reliable operation, they were deemed as the ideal pump for this critical operation.

‘We have a long relationship with both parties and proven service levels across our large installed base in Sasol and similar operations across the continent,’ he concludes.