Partnering with Pumps

Serving one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., Rio Rancho’s water utilities provide wastewater treatment services for the 75,000-plus citizens of this New Mexico town.

The recent addition of two new processing facilities has the six-plant department processing a combined 4.5-million gal of wastewater a day (mgd). With such high volumes of processing, the plant equipment requires constant attention. To maintain performance, mainly for the pumps, plant operators needed to find an economical and efficient solution to raising and lowering pumps for maintenance and service. The answer for Rio Rancho’s treatment facilities came from a compact yet strong winch system that delivered easy lifting and lowering applications.

Ongoing maintenance
Mark Baker, lead mechanic at the facility, is in charge of ongoing maintenance for the equipment and is tasked with keeping the plant’s equipment running effectively. When service is performed on the pumps, Baker turns to his heavy-duty helpers to make plant operations run smoothly. Using Thern 4771 series helical/worm gear power winches at each of the facilities (one facility utilizes three), Baker has found a cost-effective and efficient system for maintaining the department’s processing pumps. Besides being removed for routine maintenance, pumps are running seven days a week.
“It’s no real secret that the key to efficient treatment comes from constant upkeep and strict adherence to a service schedule,” Baker said. “Using smaller, yet more versatile and durable winches has proven to be the key to a more cost-effective approach to plant performance.”
Using the power winches mounted at certain positions near the tanks, operators are able to lift the pumps for cleaning and repairs without using heavy-duty equipment or additional manpower. Winches are set up near the tanks—either overhead or on the tanks themselves—for easy hoisting. Some of the tanks are equipped with a bridge that features a mounted winch that sits over the tanks, making pump hoisting streamlined.
Durable design
Thern’s 4771 series winches get their lifting and hoisting power from their cast aluminum construction. The durable design delivers added strength while remaining lightweight for portability. This means that winches can be moved around the facility and used for other applications around the plant.
The machine-cut helical/worm gear enclosed oil bath and finish adds to the winch’s service life. The oil bath provides continuous lubrication for the gears, which minimizes wear and tear, while the finish options protect the equipment from consistent exposure to corrosive elements.
Winches used at the facility also offer lifting power of up to 2,000 lb, yet offer a slimmer drum width for tight-fleet installation.
“We use the pumps for similar applications in every plant,” Baker said. “However, each plant is set up differently so having compact winch systems that are versatile enough to work in normal locations and tight locations makes plant operations much more convenient.”
Winches are used during the treatment process to lower the pumps into the tank. Once the sludge has settled at the bottom of the tank and the water stays on top, the winches gradually lower the pumps down and pump out all the water. The radial air piston motor offers the operator added control and more power for seamless positioning.
After the water is pumped, the winch lowers the pump all the way down to the sludge, the valves are switched and the sludge is removed.
The winches, with their sleek design and economical use of space, give the facilities a variety of mounting options. Besides using a bridge above the tank to mount the winch, other plants mount the winch either on the tank wall or use a jib on one arm. If maintenance is required, the winches lift the pumps completely out of the tank and lower them to the plant floor for repairs and upkeep.
For Rio Rancho Water Utilities, the compact design and lightweight construction of the power winches has made them a reliable and economical choice for maintaining optimal pump performance.

Jim Olson is marketing manager for Thern, Inc. He can be reached at 507/454-2996 or by e-mail at jolson@thern.com.

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