Keeping The Kids Cozy
Arkansas Children’s Hospital has enhanced temperature control and sanitation for surgery, while lowering maintenance costs and assuring smooth operations with simple, steam-driven condensate pumps from Kadant Johnson.
Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH), cited by Fortune Magazine as one of the top 100 places to work in America, is passionate about the well being of children, families, doctors and staff. When they switched from traditional centrifugal electrical pumps to the steam-powered Liqui-Mover® pump from Kadant Johnson, they reduced energy and maintenance costs, but also assured consistent climate control and sterilization for surgery.
Like most hospitals, ACH uses steam to provide heating, hot water, humidification, and sterilization services throughout the hospital complex.
Keeping the kids comfortable, assuring doctors that surgical instruments are sterile, while minimizing outages of any kind, leads ACH to energy-saving systems that don’t require constant attention. Mechanical system failures often happen because of fatigue from too many moving parts. This is especially important for systems where steam is involved, as the high heat and moisture tend to wear down components.
Says David Mayfield, Physical Plant Foreman at ACH, “Liqui-Mover’s 100% uptime is also a timesaver. Any equipment we can find that has minimal maintenance requirements is always a welcome addition to our physical plant. Our engineers make equipment room tours during each shift to assure smooth plant operations, and to check for potential issues with our boilers and power systems. But the Liqui-Mover really requires no attention at all. Any system that functions well without requiring maintenance time is a major plus.”
Continues Mayfield, “Heart surgeons require operating rooms at 58 degrees F during surgery and then a rapid boost to 80 degrees when complete. This puts an unusual demand on condensate systems, which are literally crucial to success. In these times of cost reductions and running leaner, any way to reduce recurring costs and free up maintenance personnel is a valuable asset.”
Adds Chet Howard, Director of Maintenance at ACH, “Because the Liqui-Mover pump uses steam to pump condensate, we don’t have to worry about issues typically associated with electric centrifugal pumps.”
Mayfield adds, “Leaking condensate is expensive and can cause water damage to equipment and buildings. The goal of any condensate pump is to return condensate to the boiler as hot as possible; it requires less energy to turn that condensate back to steam. Not only does the condensate have energy that we wish to recover but it also has boiler feed chemicals that can add additional cost when not returning condensate. Both fresh water and boiler feed chemicals must be replaced with condensate that is not returned to the boiler.”
ACH has three complete Liqui-Mover systems, one for the existing hospital, one for its research facility, and the newest pump system for its 260,000 sq. ft. expansion, which will be completed in 2012. Each unit was installed in less than eight hours. The skid-mounted Liqui-Mover pump systems were pre-piped with the pumping tank, receiver tank, control panel, check valve, and 3-way control valve.
The main difference for ACH, since making the switch, is tapping into a steam line to operate a Liqui-Mover pump rather than running a 240 volt or 480 volt 3-phase electrical service to an electrically driven pump.
Some Liqui-Mover pumps use 120 volt electrical service for operation and other models do not need electricity. ACH preferred steam-driven pumps that utilize a probe level control system and chose to go with Float Free™ Liqui-Mover units that use 120/60/1 electrical service.
In many cases, the Liqui-Mover pump operates for years with no maintenance requirements. The Float Free Liqui-Mover pump’s only moving part is the 3-way control valve, designed for heavy-duty utilization. The result is maximum uptime and limited service requirements over the life of the condensate pumping system.
Adds Kadant Johnson’s Mike Sneary, Liqui-Mover pump expert, “Most electric condensate pumps cannot handle hot condensate where seals and impellers can easily fail and create maintenance headaches. Hospitals never want to have condensate leaks that end up on the floor or down the drain. It becomes a matter of appearance, safety, and operating efficiency.”
Liqui-Mover pumps can handle condensate temperatures up to 365 F without any problems or cavitation. Both Float Free and float-operated Liqui-Mover pumps have the advantage of easily adding high and low level alarm sensors that can be tied to a central control for alerting maintenance of impending problems.
According to Dave Mayfield, “the Liqui-Mover pump paid for itself in less than one year, based on energy costs alone. And until recently, we did not have electrical generation capability ourselves. If the electricity was off, condensate basically went down the drain or could potentially cause damage in the system. Now, we maintain a steady 200-degree temperature in the closed-loop system, meaning that the incoming 50-degree water does not have to be heated that extra 150 degrees to maintain a stable, desired temperature. This also saves water and chemical consumption in the system.”