In the coming years there will be much debate and legislation to reduce and maximise the way we manage our water resources in the UK. The Environment Agency already has in place a number of acts and regulations regarding the use and storage of water resources.
The Environment Agency has a duty to secure the proper use of water resources in England and Wales. They monitor water in the environment and issue 'abstraction licences' to regulate who can take water from the environment and how much they can take.
The Environment Agency state "Water is essential for natural life and for human use. The way we use water in our homes and gardens, in commerce and industry and in agriculture, has a direct impact on the environment, so we must have a plan for the management of water that will protect the long term future of the environment, while encouraging sustainable development".
With the onset of the 2012 Olympics in London and the constant demand for better quality playing surfaces the demand for water in the coming years will only increase.
There will be need to justify water use , but more importantly control the efficient use of this precious resource.
One company who has spent millions upon millions in developing a range of products that can make a difference is Grundfos Danish water pump manufacturer.
Grundfos are reputedly the world leader in the manufacture of water pumps who annually sell well over 10,000,000 pumps world wide. They also have a strong affinity with the sports turf industry, having provided a wide range of pumping products for stadium and sporting venues around the world.
It is likely that most stadiums will have a Grundfos product of one type or other. Their pumps are generally regarded has being the most efficient and cost effective pumps available.
Grunfos offer a comprehensive range of pumps that service many needs:-
- Sanitary processes in food - Beverage and Pharmaceutical industries.
- Raw sewage- Sludge water and Industrial effluent
- Groundwater supply - Irrigation - Pressure boosting - Water treatment
- Water supply - Irrigation - Fire fighting
- Grey water treatments - Washing and cleaning
- Commercial and domestic heating water pumps
- Injection of chemicals in waste water and treatment washing systems
My first association with the company came last year when I was invited to a press conference arranged by Grundfos at Wimbledon. The presentation was to announce the companies commitment and role in supplying pumps for the London Olympics in 2012.
Most of the water services including the irrigation systems at Wimbledon are serviced by Grundfos pump systems. I was impressed with their professionalism and wide range of service provision. This meeting led to an invite to visit the companies factory in Viborg Denmark to see for myself the level of investment being committed by Grunfos Pumps to provide the best pumping products and services available.
Not slow in taking up this opportunity I along with 22 other journalists representing seven countries duly undertook a factory visit in January 2007. Even before we entered the factory we could easily see the vast investments being made in the infrastructure and layout of the factories facilities.
The whole site was extremely tidy and well managed, the working environment was excellent. The provision of services for there staff was excellent. The company commitment to R&D and education and training is well renown, every year the company reserves at least 4 per cent of its turnover (489 million DK in 2005) for R&D and training.
This was reflected in the quality and standard of it's teaching and R&D facilities within the company.
We began our tour in the excellent education centre which houses the Grundfos museum and lecture theatre. We were welcomed and given a thorough briefing of the company by the Vice President of Corporate communications Sune Saling-Mortensen and Group Executive Vive President Carlo Prola. They were very pleased to announce the progress and growth of the company in terms of global marketing and future opportunities in Eastern Europe, South America and Africa where the demand for water pumping applications is growing.
Significant investments have been made in recent years to develop the use of robots in their factory production lines. Particularly in the production of their IT driven products, many pumping systems are now driven and controlled by intelligent hard and software technologies.
The use of robotic technologies not only increases productivity but reduces high labour costs that can be redirected in other areas.
In fact Grundfos were keen to demonstrate the capabilities of their new pumping products particularly with the launch of their new third generation booster pump systems. The new Hydro M PC (Multi Pump Controller) combines the renowned Grundfos CR pumps with a new user interface and new software to make installation and operation easier than ever.
The new controller enables the pump to change its performance and outputs to suit the consumption needs of the system at any one time. These changes can be made through a clever computer programme that can even allow engineers from another station or indeed from another country to control the management of the pump.
This was demonstrated to us by Production Manager Jim Rise who was able to access a connection to a Grundfos pump station in Sweden by Internet broadband connection.
Simply by typing in the pumps IP address code and password he gained access to the pumps MPC system allowing him the opportunity to change the pumping configuration and performance of that Pump in real time.
Service technicians are able to monitor the performance of the pump very easily a green light indicates the pumps is running perfect , however a red light indicates a problem. Once a problem is identified, the pump is able to communicate the problem through it's 5.5 " 240 x 320 resolution VGA screen.
Advanced graphics and data enables the technicians both on site or from a distance to see and over come the problem. The relevant information can be portrayed in 15 different languages.
It was not difficult to see why Grundfos pumps are a market leader in the supply of water pumping technologies, service's and products with over 60 years of experience, dedication and development under their belt they defiantly have a proven pedigree and reputation to follow.
Grundfos have without doubt shown the way for a number of years, the build quality of their products is outstanding. Their attention to detail and ongoing investment in new technologies and testing surely keeps them well ahead of their competitors.
These standards have certainly been driven by the dedication and loyalty of their staff that have continued to portray the engineering skills of their great founder Paul Due Jensen (1912-1977) who founded Grundfos in 1945.
During the last twenty years the company has grown globally and now offers over 400 Grundfos service partners / centres in over 40 countries world wide. The company now employ well over 13,000 employees worldwide of which 3% of them are trained every day in the companies acclaimed training academies.
It is not surprising to find that over 50% of the worlds pumping products are manufactured and supplied by Grundfos.
The Grove golf course in Hertfordshire, England is widely regarded as one of the finest new golf courses in Europe. Its reputation is primarily down to the quality of the course and how well it is managed.
Having a reliable, flexible irrigation system is a key component in achieving the maintenance standards at the course. It will be no surprise that they chose Grundfos pumps to drive their irrigation systems.
The irrigation system at The Grove was designed and installed by MJ Abbott Ltd in 2003. Abbott's advised The Grove as to what system needed to be installed that would best suit the needs of not only the golf course, but the estate and gardens as well.
The pump station at The Grove is fitted with four Grundfos CR Series in-line vertical multistage pumps; type: CR45-4 15kW 400V. These pumps are the industry standard for golf courses and estates. Grundfos pumps have proven to be very useful with regards to the daily, monthly and annual maintenance. They are service friendly with easy access grease points, drain and priming plugs for maintenance or shut-down periods during winter. Grundfos pumps are well respected pumps in the golf course industry and the pumps at The Grove have proven to be very reliable over the past three years as only the mechanical seals have needed replacing which is a wearing part.
The four pumps at The Grove are connected for use with the Rainbird NimbusII software which is a PC based system controller with decoder units, and deliver us up to 140 cubic meters of water per hour. During the height of summer the pumps can be constantly running flat out for about 17 hours per day.
The pump station is also fitted with a variable speed drive control unit which controls the speed at which the jockey or lead pump runs at. The variable speed drive will select one of the four pumps as the lead pump according to the hours worked and keep on switching between the four so that all four pumps have worked a similar amount of hours.
The variable speed drive units works when the demand for water is not so great such as when hand watering is taking place, and only a small amount of water is being used. Without the variable speed drive pumps would normally start up, run at full speed for a few seconds where it would re-pressurise the system very quickly and switch off again.
The pumps would switch on and off repeatedly which can lead to pipe bursts on the golf course. It also does not do the electrical contactors or the pump itself any good with the constant switching on and off. Therefore the variable speed drive unit realises a drop in pressure in the system, it will switch on the chosen lead pump, but it will run at a variable speed to keep the system constantly pressurised. Once the pressure drops further the variable speed drive will speed up to full speed and if needed a second pump will start and help the lead pump keep the pressure of the system up and ready for use.
The pump station at The Grove is also fitted with a GSM Text alarm system which will send me or anyone I program in to it, a text message with the relevant fault such as "Phase Failure", "Low Water", "Low Pressure", "Pump Fault", "Incoming Water Fault" & "Tank over-fill". This allows me to come back in to site when there is a problem and rectify as soon as possible without losing too much of the irrigation time.
Pump technologies and customer's needs are forever changing. It's no wonder they have recognised that complacency is not a word in there vocabulary and continue to strive to improve their products and services.
Grundfos are in no doubt, they here to stay, their excessive commitment to R&D and training and there dedication to make even more efficient products, coupled with the desire to help promote and sustain the environment can only be applauded.
Water resources and climate change are becoming a global issue; the need to manage and sustain these valuable resources will be essential in the coming years. The recent drought orders in The UK alone have begun to change the way we must manage and sustain these valuable resources.
Groundsmen and Greenkeepers in the coming year's will have to manage, document and record water usage more accurately. Water extraction licences will become harder to obtain if you cannot prove you are effectively managing your resources appropriately.
One way would be to ensure you are in control and have the most efficient watering systems in place to facilitate your needs and requirements. I am sure Grundfos will be competing for the right to supply you with the most efficient pumping products to help you sustain and maintain your valuable water resource in the years to come.