India’s giant lift irrigation project using some of the largest water pumps ever built with special shaft seals



Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme

Canada’s Thordon Bearings is playing a vital role in providing water to arid regions, with the installation of axial shaft seals and filtration systems to the world’s largest irrigation project, in south central India. The Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS) in Telangana, India, has been constructed in a region characterized by water scarcity, aiming to efficiently utilise available water resources for agriculture.

As the world’s largest multi-stage lift irrigation project, it runs for about 500 km (310 miles) through 13 districts and is connected to a 1770 km (1100 mile) canal network incorporating 20 reservoirs and extensive underground tunnels. It features some of the largest water pumps ever built.

SXL Axial shaft seal assemblies installed

A crucial component of the large pumps used in projects like this is the shaft seal, which prevents water leakage from lift pump shafts and flooding of the plant. The Francis-type inward-flow turbine pumps at Kaleshwaram work using a combination of radial and axial flow, requiring a reliable and robust seal design.

Thordon and its authorized distributor in India, Soneji Engineering Pvt. Ltd (SEPL), won a tender to supply 24 large diameter axial shaft seal assemblies, along with a water filtration system, for the project’s turbine pumps. The Thordon SXL Segmented Shaft Seal assembly was chosen for the project based on the product’s superior sealing capabilities, wear life, and extensive use across multiple markets.

“The agreement is for the supply of all components,” said Axel Swanson, Business Development Manager, Hydro & Industrial, Thordon Bearings. “This includes complete assembly, testing, installation, and commissioning on site.”

Thordon has designed the seal assembly and supplied its proprietary SXL material to SEPL, which was responsible for manufacturing all other components, as well as testing, installation, and commissioning on site. The work undertaken by SEPL was commissioned by Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL).