Last week we celebrated the official opening of the new hydraulic circuit by our CEO Jan-Pieter. The new hydraulic circuit will be used for testing dredge slurries, and so helps improve the reliance of our dredge installation performance.
A good hydraulic circuit is not purely characterized by the pipe diameter, but more importantly by its length. Longer pipes result in better measurement, because flow and pressure have more time to develop. The circuit new has an internal diameter of 150 mm and is 100 meters long compared to the old 100 mm circuit which was 20 meters long. Scaling to full size equipment is later achieved using Computational Fluid Dynamics simulations and empirical modelling.
The new pipe circuit is designed so that a number of events can be better investigated, such as the onset of cavitation, which can damage a pump, and good prediction of cavitation leads to higher dredging depths and production. In addition the pump saddle and bearing block are designed such that any Royal IHC pump type, and future prototypes, can be mounted and tested. Furthermore new pump impellers and other required parts can be produced a matter of weeks and at a limited cost, by using 3D printed casting molds.
By using 3D printed casting molds, we can test many different slurries and pump impeller models faster and more economically than before. The first tests with water have proved that a scaled-down model of a pump produces the same pump performance compared to onboard measurements of real size pumps. From here the next step will be to test with various sand types, gravels, minerals from the deep sea and non-Newtonian slurries typical for wet mining.
The circuit contains 32 sensors and including many new measuring techniques. Every aspect of the slurry flow is measured, such as slurry density, energy losses and production. The custom dredge pump also contains many sensors to monitoring pump performance and wear.
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