Irrigation is one of the largest and most vital industries in Australia. According to the New South Wales Irrigation Council, the Australian agriculture sector uses 50-70% of all the water consumed annually—and irrigation accounts for 90% of that usage. As a result, well-designed hydraulic pump systems are a hot commodity for local contractors looking to service the agricultural industry.
As one of the country’s largest suppliers of hose and fittings, Advanced Industrial Products (AIP) imports and supplies market leading brands to many of these contractors, who then integrate the hose products into their hydraulic pump designs.
Luke Westwick, Area Manager for AIP North Queensland, works with local contractors supplying hose, valves, and fittings for large-scale industrial, mining and irrigation operations.
With an extensive plumbing background and an understanding of fluid transfer, Luke imparts his expertise by breaking down how the right industrial hose product can equal significant cost savings for a client.
“Aside from the pumps themselves, one of the greatest cost challenges for irrigation operations is the installation of the hydraulic pump,” he says. “The pumps can be quite heavy and are being installed at times several hundred meters underground so there is a lot at stake. Then there is developing a system for retrieving the pumps for regular maintenance.”
According to Luke, the traditional method of installation was using a combination of steel, fibreglass, PVC, and polyethylene piping to lower the submersible pumps into the bore holes.
“These would be hoisted by cranes and require a lot of clearance for install. Similarly, pulling the pump out for maintenance and repairs required specialised lifting machinery, accruing costs from time and labour,” he says.
The solution to this, he explains, is using a system for retrieving the hose that is cost effective.
“We recommend the Mandals Wellman 300 hose—a high grade polyurethane woven layflat hose that has strong tensile ability and is extremely flexible—in contrast to a rigid piping arrangement,” he says. “The hose has no flanges or joints except for at the pump and headworks, which means no corrosion or scale build up on the inside of the hose.”
“The Wellman 300 can be rolled out from a tractor or similar machinery and lowered down the hole with the pump connected to the hose,” he furthers. “Therefore, if you need to retrieve a pump for maintenance out of the hole, it’s a lot easier. Scale doesn’t build up on the hose like it does on a pipe because it’s flexing and moving all the time.”
In addition to this, the tensile strength on the hose is greater than rigid pipe.
“The pumps can weigh over 100 kilos, so the hose is under constant tension all the time,” says Luke. “But the hose is reinforced with woven textile cords that swells during operation for additional diameter which improves the hydraulic performance.”
“It’s important to understand that AIP is on the front line for supply of industrial hose solutions in Australia,” says Luke.
“AIP are the distributor in Australia for Mandals, the company that manufactures this hose, and AIP import and supply to their distributors as required. Customers will approach AIP distributors with a water problem. Our distributors/clients design the pump system and then we supply the hose based on the specification of their design.”
Recently, Luke oversaw the supply of the Wellman 300 hose to a customer in his region of North Queensland who was designing pump systems for stock feed.
“The bore hole was 100 metres deep and the head pressure was 290 metres,” he explains. “The advantage of the layflat hose system is that the land owner could have multiple bore holes and only 1 pump. We supplied a 51mm diameter Wellman 300 hose which allows for them to lower the pump and pull it back up with ease.”
“In rural areas, there are not many people who have the kinds of cranes and hoisting gear required for large scale pump installations,” he concludes, “So, this product unrolls cost savings all around.”
Mandals Wellman 300 Hose Features and Benefits
• Rapid installation and retrieval of submersible pump
• No flanges or joints except at the pump
• No cranes required for maintenance or restoration
• Textile reinforcement swells up to 15% under operating conditions
• Easy to store and transport
• Low maintenance, less labour intensive
• Zero corrosion or scale build-up