July 26, 2011
The new test plant at the SP factory in Aalestrup gives Grundfos an opportunity to certify pumps according to the strictest standards. And that gives the customers an extra guarantee of product quality.
Lars Christensen has a firm grip on the crane. With a steady hand he moves it towards the SP pump which is ready to go underground. The SP pump is fixed to the ramp, and in a split second, it is turned upside down and disappears from the surface of the factory floor. The magic takes place under the floorboards. The basement is the heart of the new test plant, and here, the fate of the pump is decided as it is lowered into the water which goes to a depth of more than eight metres.
During the test, Lars Christensen follows events on the computer to ensure that everything is as it should be. After five minutes, the SP pump returns to his steady hand while the visual inspection concludes that the pump lives up to the strictest standards.
Previously, the SP pumps were only tested according to the ISO 9906 Annex A standard, but now customers are able to order a much stricter test. With the ISO 9906 Grade 1 and 2 tests, customers get an extra guarantee for the quality of the pump.
Production Technician Bjarne Nielsen explains that the stricter certification stems from market demands.
- The large waterworks require us to make very precise tests, and this has definitely become a sales parameter for us, he explains.
In March, the Aalestrup factory shipped the first SP pumps that were certified according to the ISO 9906 Grade 1 standard. A Turkish order for 40 SP pumps included exclusively pumps certified to this standard.
With the new test plant, the employees have become even more aware of the fact that minor inaccuracies in production can be of great importance and that has increased their focus on quality.
The Turkish order was a major milestone for this project, and before that lie almost three years’ of constructing the test plant, data collection and test runs. A large wooden shed was built around the excavation to ensure that interference with the work at the factory was kept at a minimum. After that, much time was spent on the erection and testing of the plant.
- This has been an interesting and valuable project with many skilled people involved. We are almost there now, says Lars Christensen. This project is very close to his heart as he has been part of it since the beginning and has had great influence on the erection of the test plant.
Also, he is one of the few employees who is able to operate the plant. However, once the worst teething problems have been overcome, even more operators will be trained.
- Pumps up to eight metres in length can be tested.
- The plant can be used to test SP pumps with an output of up to 250 kW and a voltage of 1,000.
- Camera surveillance allows the operator to follow the test procedure.