In today’s business environment, an increasing number of companies are looking to adopt a more sustainable model to ensure growth and return for shareholders. This includes one of the world’s largest winemaking and distribution businesses, with an impressive, globally recognised and awarded brand portfolio.
Amongst the 9,000 planted hectares of vineyards in Australia and New Zealand, the company’s investment focus on vineyards, wineries and production facilities included a vineyard in the South Australian wine region of Langhorne Creek. Here, the vineyard was using an old fixed speed pumping system to supply water from a lake, to a holding dam for irrigation of vines over its 65 hectares.
The system itself was difficult to access, close to the lakes edge, and required a 40-minute drive by staff to reach it. Given that staff were regularly having to drive to the system to start and stop the pump, the resource and fuel costs were becoming an issue. It was also very inefficient when it came to energy usage, resulting in high running costs.
Another serious failing of the system, brought about by its remoteness, was that when a power failure or fault caused the system to stop running, staff would sometimes remain unaware for several days, by which time water in the holding dam could be critically low.
In July 2018, the vineyard consulted Brendan O’Neil at Grundfos Authorised Dealer, Daish Irrigation in Strathalbyn. Their brief was to install an energy efficient solution with remote monitoring abilities to help save valuable time and avoid critical incidents.
Brendan and his team at Daish Irrigation have 30 years of local experience and were able to fit the bill with a Grundfos solution.
To ensure reliable and cost-efficient water supply, the existing installation was upgraded to a Grundfos NBG single-stage end-suction pump with CUE external frequency drive and CU352 MPC Control Panel. This was partnered with a Grundfos Remote Management (GRM) unit, for complete control of the pumping system.
The external frequency drive on the NBG pump means that the pump can ramp up or down according to the system demands, making for a much more efficient system that a fixed speed system.
With the GRM unit, the pump, sensors, meter and controllers are connected to a datalogger, which provides real-time data via the internet. When sensor thresholds are crossed, or a pump or controller reports an alarm, an SMS notification is sent immediately to the responsible person.
The new Grundfos system has come as a welcome upgrade for staff at the vineyard. They can now monitor and manage the pump remotely, reducing the need for onsite inspections and enabling them to act quickly in the event of an alarm or warning.
“Grundfos Remote Management almost paid for itself in the first three months, simply by removing the lost time staff were spending driving to the pumps day and night to stop or start the pump. So far, the vineyard has saved an impressive 2,400 kilometres in vehicle running costs and associated fuel costs and 30 hours of travel time” says Brendan O'Neil, Daish Irrigation.
In addition, the technology enables the vineyard to accurately monitor pump performance and efficiencies, helping staff to provide more accurate reporting, and added flexibility for scheduling and redundancy.
The new Grundfos system is also providing the vineyard with improved flow and efficiency gains with the ability to reduce the speed of the pump to fill the dam.
“The pump has two duties, supplying water to a dam for the vineyard, and also to recharge a bore. Originally, the fixed speed pump would dam fill at 61 L/sec at 4.5 bar using 67 amps, but after installing the new pump and VFD we achieve 81 L/sec at 3 bar using 48 amps. Basically, we are filling the dam far quicker and using less energy. The original pump would regularly overload and trip out above 67 amps, but the new 4-pole motor controlled with the variable speed drive is running cooler and not overloading.” says Brendan.
When it comes to bore recharge, the system can now run at a lower pressure and flow to keep pace with the bore capability.
Brendan added, “In the old system the fixed speed pump was using full load amps during this period, with a valve to restrict flow. The new system can be adjusted via the remote management, and we are only using 45 amps, with a flow of 33 litres per second. The system is now reliable, more efficient and easier to use.”
Overall, the vineyard is experiencing average 24% increase in efficiency (29% better efficiency from the pump). Brendan commented, “We are confident the success of the Grundfos pump system upgrade at the Langhorne Creek vineyard will provide a best practice case for other vineyards in the company’s portfolio.”