Plant Modernisation Brings Significant Savings


Achieving energy savings of at least 50% along with less downtime and cheaper maintenance were the important benefits achieved following a process water plant modernisation and pump replacement project, completed for Robert McBride Ltd, a leading manufacturer of personal care products.

The project was completed by Process Installations Ltd at McBride’s engineering department, located in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

The manufacturing site at Bradford is supplied with process water from a single bunded area located in the finished goods warehouse area. Deionised water, ambient process water and 80ºC process water is pumped from three 20 tonne capacity storage tanks on ring mains to the process areas. Also, a single loop of ambient water was pumped to the ESP dilution unit situated in a tank farm area. The old pumping system was operated through one large integrated control panel which meant that in order to carry out maintenance the whole system needed to be shut down.

Commenting on the old system, John Holstead, Site Engineer confirmed, ‘Water was distributed by large, single stage 2 speed centrifugal pumps rated at 8 bar and our primary concern was the waste of energy because the pumps were grossly oversized to cope with the maximum demand that was only occasionally needed. Also, the pumps were old and becoming unreliable’. He continued, ‘The old system allowed no provision for standby operation and therefore the potential to disrupt production across the whole site’.

Process Installations Ltd, in conjunction with sister company Pump Engineering, supplied eight new, energy efficient high flow centrifugal pumps which run at 4 bar pressure. These pumps have been installed in pairs to operate as a duty and standby-pump for each loop which ensures that production would not be lost due to a single pump failure. Additionally, both pumps will run together so that output increases with demand and because all the pumps are identical, maintenance is easier and cheaper.

The pumps are controlled individually via a remote panel which is accessible from outside the bund area, they also have variable speed control modulated to maintain a constant pressure in each line. Asked about the operational benefits of the new system, John Holstead at Robert McBride confirmed, ‘We estimate that we have saved around £8k per annum in energy costs, plus savings on lost water and maintenance. He continued, ‘We particularly appreciate the variable speed drive pumps, the in-built stand-by feature of the installation and also the hygienic standard achieved’.

Process Installations provides engineering services to process and manufacturing companies in the healthcare, brewing, food and pharmaceutical sectors. Services include installation and repair of process and manufacturing plant, design and installation of fluid handling systems, breakdown and trouble-shooting, turnkey project management along with the specification, supply and installation of a wide range of pumps and valves.

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