Aldgate Pump Sales and Service is based in the Adelaide Hills above the South Australian capital and services a wide cross section of clients across both the hills and plains.
When George Piliouras from Mt Barker Strawberries contacted Aldgate Pump Sales and Service to seek a more efficient solution to irrigating his strawberry farm, Aldgate Pump’s James Colotti took a look at the issues facing the farm.
Starting with one small 20,000 plant block in 1980, Mt Barker Strawberries had grown to cover several blocks across 17 hectares. For founder Con Piliouras and his son George, this had created a particularly challenging irrigation situation.
While a Grundfos pump was already operating at the Mt Barker site, it was starting to show its age. Along with the rapid growth and spread of the business, the older pump also had to cope with pumping water to strawberry fields more than a kilometre away, across undulating terrain.
Without compromising the required pressure to cover the 17-hectare site, it was decided that a suitable and more efficient replacement for the aging pump would be a Grundfos multistage centrifugal pump, model CRIE 45-3 15 kW fitted with a “P” version motor.
The “P” version motor is a variable speed motor that tapers off the speed when it exceeds the optimum pump duty, to ensure its always operating at its best efficiency point. As a result a smaller size motor can be selected providing increased energy saving over the standard 18.5 kW unit.
The inline design of the Grundfos CRIE pump enables installation in a horizontal one-pipe system where the suction and discharge ports are in the same horizontal level and have the same pipe dimensions. This design provides a more compact pump and pipework design. Grundfos vertical multistage pumps are available in various sizes and various numbers of stages to provide the flow and pressure required, such as the distances and elevations of the Mt Barker Strawberries site.
Grundfos vertical multistage pumps are designed for a variety of applications ranging from the pumping of potable water to the pumping of chemicals. The pumps are therefore suitable for a wide diversity of pumping systems where the performance and material of the pump meet specific demands.
Importantly for George Piliouras and his team, CRIE pumps are fitted with an E-motor with built-in frequency converter. The frequency converter enables the motor to be run at various speeds according to demand, which makes it possible to set the pump to operation at any duty point across the strawberry plant blocks.
In addition to the installation of the new Grundfos pump, Mt Barker Strawberries has also established a commercial water treatment system. The system features Grundfos CR pumps and Grundfos Digital Dosing systems, which delivers reliable and very accurate metering of chemicals to the water treatment system.
Grundfos believes that, even with a good water source, water treatment should be considered to ensure a good water quality.
Mt Barker Strawberries now harvests more than 1 million plants and employs about 125 people. The growing business supplies strawberries to retail outlets all across the country, including; Foodland Groups, IGA, Woolworths and Coles.
One of the greatest concerns for any business today is the spiralling cost of energy and, while George Piliouras has not yet done the final sums, he says early tests are showing the efficiency of the Grundfos CRIE45-3 pump is indicating huge savings in energy costs.
“It also means we have better flexibility when we are watering different lots spread across our 17 hectares,” he says. “We can push up the pressure or scale it down to water new patches that can vary in distance from each other by 100 metres to more than a kilometre.”
With the new Grundfos pump, it will be strawberry fields forever for this South Australian-based family business.