Press Release: LEWA Customized pump technology – Experiments with explosive fluids,LEWA commissions a new container test bench for customized application scenarios
This is a company that I visited with at the recent Natural Gas Odorization Conference.
The story of innovation at LEWA continues. To test developments of pumps and systems under even more realistic conditions, the company from Leonberg, Germany inaugurated a specially developed container test bench in December 2018. It will be used for experiments with hot or explosive fluids in the future. So far, the pump manufacturer has mostly used water as the conveyed medium for testing and verifying pump functions on its test benches. However, specific application scenarios could be represented in this way to a limited extent only. As most of the fluids used in the field are to be ranked as supercritical with regard to explosion hazard and employee protection, LEWA now has decided to expand its test range for the application of such media.
The container further developed into a test bench is divided into two areas. In addition to an experimental area of explosion protection Zone 1, in which the test experiments take place, it also includes a safe control room without explosion hazard for housing the drive and control equipment. Supercritical fluids such as gasoline, methanol, acetone or nitrocellulose thinner are used in the test chamber, whose interior can be viewed through gas-tight glass panes, at process temperatures of up to 80 °C and a maximum quantity of 200 l. Hot experiments with rapeseed oil, glycerin or Fragoltherm even reach the 200 °C-mark. At the same time, a high-resolution data recording system ensures that the proper function of the respective pump is monitored accurately and the experiments return relevant results regarding the respective asks.
First project has started already
In order to ensure the health of the employees and the safety of the system, LEWA involved several experts for fire and explosion protection as part of a risk assessment when planning the test bench. Potential hazards and the developed protective measures were then recorded in an explosion protection document. Finally, the further design of the container took place on this basis. Effective ignition protection measures for infrastructure, drive system and measuring circuit have been ensured by the use of pressure-proof housing encapsulations, for example. In addition, the air-conditioned test bench is not only equipped with separate smoke and flame detectors but also with a system that automatically initiates artificial ventilation, monitored by differential pressure, with quintuple air change and exhaust air duct in case gas is detected.
The initial test has been carried out in the system with the goal of checking diaphragm clampings for micro-leakage using a low-viscosity fluid. As test object, a pump of the LEWA Ecoflow LDG3 type with an M9 pump head has been commissioned for this purpose. Tests like these are a close approximation of the conditions at our customers’ sites. LEWA is thus able to respond even better to individual applications.