Fybroc Vertical Turbine Pump: Mineral Hot Springs

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Background

Glenwood Hot Springs is a premier Colorado hot springs resort.  The resort's pool is kept at a comfortable 93°F year round and is the world's largest hot mineral springs pool.  The smaller "Therapy Pool" averages 104 °F year round and is known for its healing minerals.  The spring that fills the Glenwood Hot Springs pool delivers three and a half million gallons of hot water every day.  The water from the spring is pumped into the pool and then circulated through a customized filtration system and distributed throughout the pool using two vertical turbine pumps (VTPs).

Problem

The combination of minerals (the four most abundant being Sodium Chloride, Potassium Sulfate, Calcium Sulfate, and Calcium Bicarbonate) in the warm water had proven to be corrosive to the two existing vertical turbine pumps of stainless steel construction.  These two pumps required frequent maintenance and parts due to rapid degradation from corrosion.  Both pumps are required for normal pool operation and failure of either pump could potentially result in the pools being closed, which would be very costly for the resort.  Glenwood Hot Springs' owners and pool maintenance staff consulted a local Colorado engineering firm to address the problem and find a better solution.

Fybroc Vertical Turbine Pump

Results

In July and August of 2014, the application was discussed in detail between the engineering firm representing Glenwood Hot Springs Resort and the engineering team of Fybroc.  Fybroc received specifications, outline drawings and performance curves for the existing pumps, as well as reviewed a water analysis report.  After studying the specifications and water report, a Fybroc 8500 Vertical Turbine Pump was recommended for the application.  The pump is a size 8x15x11 using VR-1 vinyl ester and fiberglass material of construction with 316 Stainless Steel hardware.  This pump would be capable of providing the exact continuous operating conditions as required, using the same size motor as existing pumps, with improved efficiency.

Many early obstacles had to be overcome including a serious concern about the material compatibility with the hot spring water, and hesitation about installing a new product into a highly critical application.  After considering all of the alternative pump possibilities, Fybroc's 8500 Vertical Turbine pump was accepted as the best possible solution.  The final approval was received from Glenwood Hot Springs in November 2014 and the order was released to Fybroc for production.  Within a month, the pump was built, tested and shipped to Glenwood Hot Springs.

To accommodate the maintenance schedule of Glenwood Hot Springs' pools, pump installations were scheduled for January 14, 2015.  Representatives from Glenwood Hot Springs, the local engineering firm, and Fybroc met the night before to discuss the details of the shut-down and installation.  It was critical for the removal of the old pump and installation of the new pump to be completed in a single day because the pool had to be filled and re-opened to the public the following day.  With combined expertise, the removal of the stainless steel pump and motor and subsequent installation of new Fybroc vertical turbine pump and motor was very successful.  After just a one-day shutdown, the pool was re-filled with water and resumed operation the following day!

Current Status

The project in general was a huge success.  After installation of the new Fybroc 8500 Vertical Turbine Pump, the pool maintenance staff was extremely satisfied with the performance of the pump.  Besides the obvious relief that the pool was being re-filled, they immediately noted the Fybroc pump was significantly less noisy than the original pumps.  This was important considering the pump room is located directly on the pool deck, right next to lounges occupied by the guests.  The pump's performance in terms of flow and head was exactly as expected and the motor amp draw during operation was less than it was with the original pump, which meant that the Fybroc 8500 Vertical Turbine Pump was much more efficient.

In September of 2015, the recently installed Fybroc Vertical Turbine Pump was taken out of service and inspected for possible signs of wear.  Aside from a minor modification regarding the bearing housing, Fybroc's engineers found the pump to be in great working condition.  The resort owners noted that the cost to rebuild one of the stainless steel pumps was the equivalent to the purchase price of a new Fybroc 8500 Vertical Turbine Pump.  With the excellent performance and compatibility of the pump after 8 months of continuous service, Glenwood Hot Springs made the decision to order two additional Fybroc 8500 Vertical Turbine Pumps which are now slated for delivery in May of 2016.

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