Designing For Solar Success
Sidewinder Pumps, Inc. is based in Lafayette, La. They have over 30 years of leadership in chemical metering pumps. They approached Kemper Engineering to assist them in developing a novel solar-powered pump for applications away from grid-based electrical power.
Solar powered items are essentially battery-powered. The challenge is to make the equipment as efficient as possible with respect to energy draw in order to minimize battery use. The question was: exactly what uses up the power. Once that is determined, then ways to be more efficient can be developed. KES used fluid modeling (CFD) and kinematic modeling to examine the key physics regarding controlling fluid and losses under pressure, the transfer of power from the motor to the transmission to the plunger, the springs, and the fundamental requirement of pulling fluid from an ambient condition into a chamber then injecting it into a pressurized system. KES developed a novel relationship that provided key efficiencies. This led to the ability to easily adjust the stroke and amount injected for each cycle.
In addition to performance advantages, Sidewinder wanted a unique housing shape in order to support branding and field identification. Many pumps use standard housings. Sidewinder wanted their product to stand out physically as well as in terms of performance. They also wanted to address the maintenance complaints of existing metering pumps. KES used industrial design skills to develop the unique shape as well as our own years of experience to design out the Client-identified maintenance issues. The final design was validated first using Finite Element Analysis, then by Sidewinder through rigorous testing of instrumented prototypes.
Pipeline and other remote sites are unforgiving. Either the equipment works or it does not. No amount of engineering simulations trump the real world. The Sidewinder Solar Pump became one of their best-selling products based on industry response to their demonstrated reliability and ease of maintenance. KES is proud to be a part of their success.