Dec 11, 2008

Planning for a Fruitful Future

4401 N. Bell School Road • Loves Park, IL 61111
tel: 815.639.8600 •

After extensive research to find the right region for growing quality grapes, seven entrepreneurs combined their efforts and formed Seven Hills Vineyards in Milton Freewater, Ore. This 1,265-acre site is located just south of Walla Walla, Wash., in an area with a total of 52 wineries.

Seven Hills Vineyards started plotting and subdividing the property into smaller plots to sell to other premier wineries for growing grapes. The group then constructed a state-of-the-art control system for irrigating the entire 1,265 acres. There are two main wells that will supply water to three large ponds, each of which will hold approximately 10 million gal. In each pond, there are pump stations to distribute the water to the entire area for irrigation.

Because the Seven Hills vineyard complex was a new installation, the customer wanted to design all elements, including the irrigation system, with appropriate flexibility and capacity for future development. To ensure the irrigation system could provide proper flow and pressure from the initial installation and beyond, it was determined that all pumps should be controlled utilizing variable speed technology.

Besides providing maximum system flexibility, utilizing variable frequency drives would increase system efficiency and reliability while returning energy savings. In addition, the application of drives would allow the system to match water flow and pressure to actual demand at any given time, minimizing water consumption.

Meeting a Challenge

Danfoss VLT AQUA Drive series products were selected for the installation, but there was one hurdle to overcome: the installation included an 800-hp pump, which was beyond the current cataloged product range.

This situation, however, coincided perfectly with product development taking place at the Danfoss North American headquarters to expand the product range to 1.2 megawatts. A coordinated effort between Danfoss’ water distributor Mitchell Lewis & Staver and Danfoss sales and research and development (R&D) resulted in allocating one of the early production 800-hp units. This new power expansion of the VLT series products is modular in design and utilizes the technology of the 125- to 600-hp VLT series products by paralleling power sections, resulting in increased power capabilities.

The modular 800-hp VLT AQUA Drive was assembled in Danfoss’ Milwaukee facility and put through the full series of tests and evaluations by the company’s production and R&D departments before being released to the customer.

At Seven Hills Vineyards, the two main water supply wells consist of one 350-hp vertical turbine pump and one 800-hp vertical turbine pump. The 350-hp pump can deliver water to the east and middle ponds, while the 800-hp pump can deliver water to all three ponds. Both pumps are controlled with Danfoss VLT AQUA Drives. The pond pump stations are all vertical turbine-style pumps of various horsepower ratings. All the pond distribution pumps were supplied with Danfoss Drives and Soft Starters.

The distributor was able to offer a comprehensive integrated pumping system for the unique application.

Future Growth

Seven Hills Vineyards intends to sell the acreage to premier wineries around the country and provide them with turnkey service that includes crop planting, vineyard maintenance, irrigation and harvesting. The centralized control system and the VLT AQUA Drives provide the flexibility needed to implement this business plan by allowing the system to grow and adapt with the needs of the various wineries it was built to serve.

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