Pumps take control
It’s not just phones that are getting smarter. Pumps are, too. Glynn Williams of Grundfos Pumps explains the implications for commissioning systems.
The topic of commissioning may not make the pump headlines very often, but the significance of getting pumps up and operational, quickly and effectively is a very important aspect of a successful building-services project. This is not least because not undertaking commissioning properly can lead not only to pump malfunction but also to actual system breakdowns, which will have some serious consequences.
The main reasons for commissioning pumps and systems include ensuring that energy use is optimised and to reduce future maintenance requirements.
Getting pump selection itself right has many rewards, as we all know that pump affinity laws predict the effect of changing speed on a centrifugal pump and show the effect of rev/min, flow and head on power consumption. Even a small flow reduction will result in significant power reductions and, hence, energy consumption.
These laws are thus the foundation of energy savings, as when one of the variables involved in pump performance is changed the other variables can be calculated.
For example, a speed reduction of just 20% results in a power saving of 50%. If the speed is further reduced to 50% the equivalent saving is a massive 87.5%. So getting it right initially offers incredible benefits both for the consultant, contractor, end-user as well as the environment.
Delivering energy optimisation at each stage of a building-services project has never had greater significance, and some companies are continuing to invest heavily in R&D in this area. In 2012, for example, Grundfos invested they invested Eu184 million on R&D, much of it on product development and its evolution but also on various aspects relating to pump communication and control.
Now we are starting to see the payback of this ongoing investment commitment, even in unexpected areas of pump technology such as in the sphere of system and pump commissioning.
Products such as the Magna pump range have been breaking new ground since 2001 when it was introduced to the market. At that stage it was the first pump with a permanent magnet motor, which resulted in huge energy savings over previous generation fixed-speed options in commercial applications.
Since then the family has evolved and developed to offer a set of features that means this pump has attained a whole new level. The latest generation Magna3 range of circulator pumps is not just an upgrade of the Magna range, but a completely new pump that is once again revolutionising the circulator market.
This latest range introduces new user-friendly and intelligent settings that can reduce system costs by using the pump in a new control mode that makes balancing valves redundant in many cases.
Complete control over every aspect of pump performance is now simple with the development of GO control software. From a user-friendly interface on a smart phone or iPod Touch, you can monitor, set and control Magna3 and any other Grundfos e-pump.
With the original Magna if you wanted it to be part of a building-management system, you needed to buy and install a wall-mounted communication interface unit. With Magna3, making system integration much easier and cheaper.
A single Magna3 unit combines a pump, heat meter and a balancing valve. A control function called FlowLimit enables a maximum flow to be set for the pump. This reduces the need for balancing valves — which decreases system complexity, including commissioning and maintenance costs, all at once. It will also cut energy costs by eliminating the friction loss that occur in balancing valves.
FlowLimit can be added to all the Magna3 control modes — proportional pressure, constant pressure, constant temperature, constant curve and AutoAdapt. Adding the FlowLimit setting to the AutoAdapt control mode, gives FlowAdapt.
FlowAdapt is a Grundfos invention which provides an adaptive, intelligent control mode with built-in flow-limitation. The end result is a control mode that will give you a high level of efficiency in a less complex and costly system, which will continue to run independently for years and years.
Glynn Williams is director of sales for commercial building services with Grundfos Pumps.