Wednesday, June 27, 2012



American Industrial of Livermore California emphasizes first-class customer service, in acquiring and retaining pump system customers.  For the last 8 years, they have brought that customer service focus to their relationship with Knife River Construction. Knife River, operating an aggregate sand/gravel plant in Marysville California, is the ninth largest aggregate producer and the sixth largest sand/gravel producer in the country. Nationwide during their peak season, they employ over 5000 people.

The Marysville plant had purchased some abrasive handling cantilever vertical pumps based on advertised efficiency.  They needed these barge mounted pumps for a large pit dewatering project.  Their target was aggregate material contained around the pit.  This was a challenge, because the dig site was located on top of an underground river.  As they continued to dig down, river water would seep into the pit. The vertical pumps were not performing to expectations. The engineer in charge, an alumni and avid OREGON STATE Beaver fan, Knife River’s Ben Carlson, needed an economical solution to the ineffective water transfer.  As they would say in Beaver land, he needed to “sink his teeth into the problem”.

Brandon Bivona of American Industrial Equipment proposed using Cornell pumps as an efficient solution to the seepage and transfer. Brandon has employed many Cornell pumps in solving customer issues; ranging from wash down problems, efficiencies, trash handling concerns, and many more. In each instance, he found Cornell a helpful partner in providing solutions. American Industrial consulted with Andrew Enterline at the Cornell plant in Clackamas, Oregon. Their idea was to barge mount some pumps at a 45 degree angle to maintain efficiency and minimize suction lift. Ben Carlson designed a 4x3 foot strainer basket with a solid steel top to prevent vortex. With utility costs at a parsimonious rate nearly 25 cents per kilowatt in Northern California, efficiency was absolutely paramount.

After examining the application and consulting between Knife River, American Industrial, and Cornell, two Cornell 12NHTB-F18DB pumps utilizing grease lubed bearing frames were deemed most appropriate. The NHTB solids handling pump line from Cornell is one of the many workhorses of the company’s rugged lineup. The plant was already using two Toshiba premium mill duty 200HP motors that were relatively new.  Thanks to the performance of the Cornell pumps, they were able to economically use their existing motors.   Based on the differences in efficiencies , Ben Carlson estimates his yearly energy savings at nearly $10,000 per pump, not to mention the increase productivity levels.  

  “It was a great experience working with Cornell Pumps and American Industrial Equipment to source these very efficient and high quality American made pumps,” said Carlson. “Cornell’s engineer (Andrew Enterline) was very helpful in providing the information necessary to prefabricate the pump bases for this unique installation.  The pumps will improve our efficiency over the pumps we had been using, and provide a quick payback on the upgrade costs.  The direct drive configuration will reduce the maintenance, which is a big hassle given the floating configuration of these pumps.  We have been very impressed with the performance of these pumps.  They have exceeded our expectations with how fast they are able to lower the water level when needed for our operation.”