Testing System Efficiency and Selecting Pumps Using PIPE-FLO®

Overview

As a leader in the engineering and construction sector, Black & Veatch was selected for the difficult job of modeling and troubleshooting a client’s large de-mineralized water distribution system.

The system consisted of over 4000 feet of 1-inch pipe, including many loops and branches. Bill Vail at Black & Veatch and his team of engineers needed a tool to confirm that they could push the desired flow rate of 2.5 GPM through the 1-inch pipe.

Black & Veatch not only had to determine if the system could operate efficiently at the designed flow rate, but they needed to accurately size and select the right pumps for the system. Using pump manufacturers’ catalogs supported in PIPE-FLO®, Black & Veatch was able to import the actual pump curves used in the system.

Black + Veatch

Black + Veatch

11401 Lamar Avenue
Overland Park, KS 66211

Industry Overview

The Challenge

In order to solve this and other challenges, Black & Veatch evaluated a number of different software applications. Based on their analysis of competing programs, Black & Veatch determined that most of the programs were very difficult to learn and use. In addition, many programs did not share the PIPE-FLO® functionality to calculate a full network or looped piping system. This feature alone saved Black & Veatch significant time from calculating the pressures and flow rates through each individual pipeline.

"There is a number of software tools on the market today, but most of them are very cumbersome and hard to use," said Bill Vail. "Engineers prefer a software program that is fast and easy to use. This gives us more time to focus on the analysis of the system, and less time on learning how to use the software."

Black & Veatch was also faced with the challenge of sizing the pumps to efficiently match the system. They needed access to the specific manufacturer’s pump curves that were being used in the system.

The Solution

After an evaluation of many software programs, Black & Veatch decided that based on the programs power, ease of use, and flexibility, PIPE-FLO® would provide the solution.

"I was able to model the system quickly and perform the calculations in no time," said Vail. "PIPE-FLO® saved us a tremendous amount of time because of the difficult calculations involved. PIPE-FLO® provided us with an easy to understand graphical representation of the system. We could see what was happening in the system when we turned different fixtures off and on. The program also helped us quickly identify problem areas in the system."

In addition to the ease of use and speed of calculations in PIPE-FLO®, Black & Veatch found value in PIPE-FLO® supporting pump manufacturer’s catalogs.

"One feature that I really appreciated was that PIPE-FLO® and PUMP-FLO™ are so widely used and supported by virtually all major pump manufacturers," said Vail. "When modeling a system, it is critical to insert manufacturer’s pump catalogs into the system. It makes the design and analysis of the system much more accurate. Instead of using "example catalogs", used by most software programs, PIPE-FLO® gives me the ability to see how the actual pump operates within the system. Engineered Software’s website provided me with the list of pump manufacturer’s catalogs, many of which are downloadable directly from the site."