North Otago Irrigation Company Ltd (NOIC) is a community irrigation scheme, established to provide irrigation and stock water to farms in the North Otago Downlands area. It operates an extensive and complex network designed to deliver water to farms, at pressure, with high reliability and requires a team of dedicated individuals and service providers to ensure it is maintained and kept up and running.
This is evident in their mission statement:
TO DELIVER COST-EFFECTIVE, RELIABLE WATER SUPPORTED WITH ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERSHIP – ENABLING POSITIVE SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC OUTCOMES.
NOIC is a long-time customer of TRS and we spoke to Colin Perkins, the Operations Supervisor of the North Otago Irrigation Company. Colin looks after the day-to-day running of the scheme, organising the workload of the operators and liaising with contractors and suppliers.
“North Otago Irrigation Company is shareholder-owned. We pump water from what Waitaki River and distribute it throughout roughly 250 kilometers of pipe to irrigate about 20,000 hectares. We’ve got two very large pump stations with some of the biggest pumps that you will find in New Zealand. All up, we have about 17 pump stations.”
The relationship with TRS started quite some time ago, but got cemented when NOIC needed to expand and upgrade their network.
STAGE 2 UPGRADE
“In 2016-17 we underwent a large-scale upgrade where we pretty much doubled the scheme. The consulting engineers on the project was from AECOM and they specified the WEG motors for the scheme. At that time, the majority of the electric motors on the scheme was WEG already. The plan was to introduce between forty and fifty new motors to the scheme.”
This was known at the time as the Stage 2 pump upgrade.
“McConnell Dowell was made the main contractor and had the responsibility to source the WEG Motors that was specified by the design engineers from AECOM. This is when they got in touch with the team at TRS, the supplier and distributor of WEG Motors in New Zealand. The transaction was facilitated by the TRS Christchurch team.”
Colins goes on:
“The main contractor built the pump stations and the pipelines, installed and commissioned the pumps and the motors and handed the completed project over to us here at North Otago Irrigation Company. From that point onwards, it is our responsibility to maintain the scheme and all the moving parts in it.”
It was through the TRS sales team in Christchurch that NOIC was introduced to the TRS team.
“Initially we had done a lot of testing of the system to sort out issues and that was managed by the sales team. But we needed a bit more direct access to someone with the technical know-how and hands-on experience to deal with and we started dealing directly with Theo and Danie from TRS.”
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing as things tend to go wrong in large scale projects like this as Colin explains.
“We did a series of testing and we found right throughout the network, not just on the newly installed equipment, an issue that had to be resolved, so this is going back to some of our older motors as well. We kept on testing and knew that there was some remedial work that needed to be done. We engaged with TRS to do that for us.”
“Initially, the technician that was sent to do the work made a few mistakes, but this was quickly discovered and TRS owned up to the mistake and resolved the situation without delay.”
The situation could have gone pear-shaped easily but the team at TRS stepped up to the challenge.
“It could have been a very stressful and painful experience from our point of view – however, they showed up on the front doorstep, they said they’re going to fix it, and they did.”
“We were very impressed with the way they handled the situation, rectified it and at the end of the day we got a really good result. Since then, they have put a new system in place to prevent this type of issue from happening again and have not had any issues after that.”
WORKING WITH TRS
“In short, my experience of working with the TRS team can be described as really good. They are very professional, they’re always cordial. If they say they’res gonna do something, they do. Really, they come in, they do the work, they’re really professional. You talk to them about stuff and they’ll give you the answers. So yeah, it’s been really good.”
OTHER SERVICES FROM TRS
“More recently we have had to do a lot of Vibration Analysis throughout our extensive network. I have been dealing with Danie Steyn, the National Conditioning Manager at TRS and have been sending him some data on tests that we do. We get it back really timely and some of the advice that we get from him around the Vibration analysis that we do probably saves us quite a bit of money.”
An example of a recent win for NOIC by TRS was when we were looking at a motor and a pump that wasn’t working as it should.
“… and we knew that the motor was in good condition. We were thinking… while this thing is rattling away, it might be cavitation or imbalance on the impeller, but we know that we’re going to have to pull the pump to bits and replace bearings on the pump and have a look at the impeller. We did some Vibration Analysis on it and sent the data to Danie. He quickly analysed it and came back to us with a: Check for misalignment or issues with a coupler – the rubber possibly…”.
“The alignment was okay. We found some worn rubber on the coupler, we replaced them, did another test, which came out perfect!”
“It was only a few hundred dollars to replace the rubbers for the coupler where it would have been in the thousands to pull a pump to bits. We we’re going to throw resources at this which we didn’t need to. So it was a really great result.”
If you are looking for a servicing partner for any rotating electrical equipment including electric motors, pumps, alternators, gearboxes and related equipment, get in touch with Theo Zentgraf on: [email protected] or give TRS a call on: 0800 487 463.