Vertical gearmotors in pump stations

To prevent the city of New Orleans something like the Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded approximately $615 million for the New Orleans Permanent Canal Closures and Pumps (PCCP) project to keep the city’s three main drainage outfall canals from being overwhelmed in future storms. In these pump stations 17 ABB vertical gearmotors (VGM) will power massive pumps supplied by Patterson Pump Co. The project also includes 17 ABB ACS 1000i and 5000i MV drives to control the pump start-up.

The VGM integrates proven Dodge planetary gear technology with ABB standard low-pole-count motors and is designed for low-speed vertical pumping applications with high-power requirements.  According to Mike Myers, Global Business Manager for Dodge specialty and large gearing, the product offered key advantages for the PCCP project.

“The VGM is more efficient than typical pump technologies that utilize high-pole-count motors or right angle reducers with horizontal motors,” said Myers. “Not only is the VGM a more cost competitive than other technologies, it’s also smaller and lighter, which meant substantial savings associated with the civil work required at the pump stations.”

The higher power factor delivered by the VGM design ensures more efficient use of electrical power with less reactive power drawn by the system. Utilizing the reducer to accommodate thrust load is also more cost effective than designing this functionality into the motor. Beyond savings, the VGM also provides maximum pump performance. By using the specific gear reduction ratio required for a specific application, optimized pump speeds can be attained.

The PCCP project is scheduled for completion in late 2017.  When fully operational, the three stations combined will be able to pump 24,300 cubic feet per second. That’s enough water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in 3.63 seconds.

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