June 26, 2019

Sykes Pumps helps flood and water management research company test wave-current modelling project

Pump hire company, Sykes Pumps, has provided the pumping solution required for a highly specialist model simulating the power of waves and currents, designed by Oxfordshire based flood and water management research company HR Wallingford*. 

After using computer modelling to calculate flow requirements, HR Wallingford brought in Sykes Pumps to advise on pump equipment and layout to enable the simulation of natural marine currents, based on a required flow rate of 1.2m3 per second.

The Sykes Pumps team visited HR Wallingford’s site in Oxfordshire to understand the company’s requirements and view the test facility, which had been constructed to the project’s bespoke requirements, with narrow channels to control the flow of water. After two site visits, the collaborative team agreed that four large capacity submersible pumps, each cable of a 0.3m3 per second flow would be the ideal fit for the project and Sykes Pumps provided four PX30 8” submersible pumps, along with a 240kW generator to power the equipment.

The Sykes Pumps team worked closely with HR Wallingford’s engineers to agree the siting and configuration of the pumps, to overcome the challenges of the amount of hose required and the confined space of the narrow channels. 

David Todd, Laboratory Manager at HR Wallingford, explains: “We needed a solution that would enable us to control the flow very precisely, with the pumps positioned in a linear layout. The size and number of hoses involved made this challenging but, by working with us to understand our requirements, the Sykes Pumps team came up with a solution that overcame the space restraints of the test facility, provided the flow rates we required and allowed us to control the flow manually in real time.”

Designed with cooling jackets that allow the pump to be cooled by the water flow without being fully submerged, an essential requirement for this project, the PX30 pumps were positioned two in each channel. Each pump featured manually-operated variable speed drives to allow independent control in line with the flow rate requirements of the HR Wallingford project at any given time.

The Sykes Pumps team delivered the pumps to site and fully-installed them at the test rig. The company also provided training for the HR Wallingford team on operating the equipment.

Saul Harwood from Sykes Pumps comments: “This was a very unusual project but it drew on a previous application at Pinewood Studios where we had to simulate the flow of a river so we already had the expertise to deliver a solution that mimics the natural movement of water.

“By working closely with the client and combining their wish list with a practical, can-do approach we were able to offer a turnkey solution for specification, supply, installation and training that was critical to the success of HR Wallingford’s precision-designed project modelling.”


*HR Wallingford’s Fast Flow Facility is one of the largest marine test facilities in the world. Understanding the complex way waves, currents and sediments interact with structures is vital to the successful delivery of projects in the marine environment http://www.hrwallingford.com/expertise/flood-and-water-management.