Articles & Case Studies

Vogelsang and Thames Water celebrate pumps 18th birthday at Crawley

Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3

Posted: Friday 30th March 2007

Toby Clarke of Vogelsang UK writes...

This is an article about pumps – the heart of most processes that involve liquids or sludges. Like the human heart, pumps in industrial processes do not really do anything specifically interesting but without them no other process could work properly.

The Thames Water effluent treatment works at Crawley uses nine Vogelsang positive displacement rotary lobe pumps to transfer primary sludge from settlement tanks to the next processing stage. These pumps were installed in 1988 so have been in operation now for over 18 years and the only down time has been for planned routine maintenance. There has been no break in service due to breakdowns or any underperformance issues.

One of these pump installations is shown in figures 1 and 2 below.

Rotary lobe pumps offer a number of benefits for this duty. They are self priming and, although not a requirement for this particular site application, they can also run dry for a period of time. The rotary lobe pumps installed on this site are fitted with the original design of rotors rather than the modern ‘HiFlo pulsation-free’ rotors invented and developed by Vogelsang and now used as standard on all their rotary lobe pumps, such as on the pumps installed on the Thames Water Reading site discussed below. This pulsation free operation is achieved by putting a ‘twist’ into each rotor lobe.

A further benefit of these rotary lobe pumps is that the routine maintenance activities can be carried out on the pump head without disconnecting any pipework or removing the pump from its installed position. Removing the front cover of the pump head allows access to the rotor lobes, mechanical seals and wear plates.

The typical, expected life for any pump in this type of application used when calculating whole life costs is anywhere up to 25 years. The Vogelsang pumps in this application have operated for over 18 years now with no breakdowns and show no sign of stopping. Dean Perry, Thames Water Area Engineering Supervisor responsible for these pumps said“there is not a lot to say about them, you want pumps to do their job and work reliably and these ones do just that”.

On another Thames Water effluent site at Reading, Vogelsang HiFlo rotary lobe pumps are in use at a later stage in the process. Many people will have seen this site when driving along the M4, a picture of the ‘landmark’ anaerobic digester vessels is shown in Figure 3.

Centrifugal pumps were replaced by the Vogelsang rotary lobe pumps. The pumps in this application have a positive feed pressure and have to operate for approximately 40 minutes every hour. The space available for the installation was quite limited so the pump motors were mounted above the pump heads. This effluent treatment works was opened in January 2005 and Vogelsang and Thames Water look forward to writing an article about the performance of these pumps in 2024!

About the Author
Toby Clarke is Managing Director at Vogelsang UK. He can be contacted at their office in Crewe on 01270 216600, or by email to Further details on the Company can be viewed at
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