M-Max and QuantumFlo

QuantumFlo

The Eaton M-Max VFD provides QuantumFlo with a cost-effective, energy efficient solution

“QuantumFlo recognized the advantages of M-Max; its ability to provide both a pump control solution and a complete control solution in a compact package. Most systems with this complexity rely on a control panel with a PLC to execute the required logic. The M-Max brings this logic into itself and eliminates the panel entirely with the IP21 conduit kit.”
QuantumFlo CEO David Carrier

Background

Achieving consistent water pressure is a challenge for geographical areas that have grown faster than the development of infrastructures to accommodate water demand and for businesses such as fast food restaurants and strip malls. Recognizing the residential and light commercial markets’ need for an energy saving booster pump solution to deliver reliable water pressure, QuantumFlo, DeBary, FL, used its variable speed pump expertise to develop a “pump in a box” solution that detects low flow conditions accurately and enables users to achieve significant energy savings.

Challenges

Although constant speed pressure boosters are available, their inefficiency makes them a less than desirable option. With a constant speed drive, every time the system comes on at full speed, it runs for a time delay and then turns off. As a result, it is at full speed and full capacity the entire time it is running.

In contrast, the variable frequency drive (VFD) solution only runs for the specific capacity and energy required to meet the need at that instant.

As the speed of the pump is reduced, the energy is reduced by the cube of the speed reduction. Every reduction in speed below full speed reduces the energy by a factor of eight. In addition, variable speed boosters are also quieter and maintain smooth pressure throughout the facility or residence.

QuantumFlo CEO David Carrier explains, “The effective use of energy is best served with variable speed drives particularly in transporting and generating water pressure. There are very few devices in a commercial structure that run almost constantly. Eighty percent of the time a typical water booster system is using 20 percent capacity or less. If it’s running 80 percent of the time at full speed, for 20 percent of the load, that’s a huge amount of waste. In contrast, if it is running 80 percent of the time at 20 percent load, its energy is being reduced by the cube of the speed reduction, which is massive. As a result, when considering the energy reduction over time, it’s very significant even on a very small unit.”

QuantumFlo’s Application Engineer Robert Mann explains, “When we began developing our Atom™ Simplex Light Commercial/Residential pressure booster our goal was to provide a fully contained, fully assembled solution by putting together a motor, pump, bladder tank, and a VFD. Once it was fully plumbed, wired and tested, we put a few units in the field. “It wasn’t long before we learned that the VFD we used did not have the accuracy to detect lower flow conditions. Customers also reported that while the exposed wiring did not present a safety hazard in itself, code inspectors did look upon it unfavorably. Considering the potential impact of those two issues on our customers, we immediately revisited the unit’s design.”

Solution

As QuantumFlo investigated alternatives that would eliminate the accuracy problem and exposed wiring issue, it learned about the capabilities of Eaton’s M-Max variable frequency drive and the fact that the company, unlike its current drive supplier, could provide an IP21 conduit kit to contain all the wiring.

Mann reports, “The M-Max gave us the ability to provide both a pump control solution and a complete control solution in a compact package. Most systems with this complexity rely on a control panel with a PLC to execute the required logic. Since the drive has built in intelligence it performs all on/off operational calculations, soft start and stop and regulates the pressure of the system. Accomplishing all of that using a PLC would require complex wiring, an added enclosure and result in a unit with a larger footprint. Plus the PLC alternative would cost at least 50 percent more. The M-Max brings this logic into itself, which eliminates the panel entirely. In addition the IP21 conduit kit provides a very streamlined, clean installation.”