The Bear, The Pump, and Three Forks: A Tale of Sabotage Near Godfather Lake

From the time KNF was founded, “durability” has been one of the most distinguishing traits of our pumps. We feel a strong sense of pride whenever our customers use adjectives such as: “strong”, “enduring”, and “tough” when describing our products. That said, there are rare occurrences when a KNF pump succumbs to unusually extreme punishment. Not too long ago, a KNF customer, Brian Jarrell, informed us of one such example.

Brian is the Recreation Director at The Lodge and Spa at Three Forks Ranch, a luxury Resort and Spa approximately 40 miles north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The sprawling, 50,000-acre resort offers beautiful landscapes, scenic mountain vistas, various year-round activities, and upscale amenities. As part of his duties, Brian is responsible for maintaining ponds and other natural features across the huge property. To that end, many bodies of water around The Lodge, including nearby Godfather Lake, are equipped with solar-powered aeration systems. These aeration systems employ KNF N 828 gas pumps to inject air into the water for improved clarity and quality. When Brian needed help with his system’s pump, he called KNF and told us his wild story of a shaggy saboteur.

A visitor admires the wildlife & natural beauty of Three Forks Ranch (photo via threeforksranch.com)

One day, while making his usual checks around the property, Brian approached a pond to find that the nearby aeration system was completely silent. As he examined the control box, it became evident that the protective cover had been completely ripped off. According to Brian, a large black bear – 7 feet tall and 450 pounds – had destroyed the cover protecting the aeration system’s electronic components. As bad luck would have it, heavy snow soon fell over the exposed electrical components of the system, short-circuiting one of the two KNF pumps inside.

These circumstances are certainly extraordinary, and even frightening considering that a huge bear was probably lurking nearby while Brian was examining the damage from only a few hours earlier. However, according to Brian, scenarios involving wild animals are nothing unusual in his line of work. “We have had animals destroy our property in the past – problems with elk and bear chewing wires.” Brian calmly elaborated, “They are typically searching for food when they stumble onto a piece of equipment and become very curious. This bear may have been bored and was likely looking for something to do.” Well it certainly appears that this bear found something to do! On the bright side, this was the very first incident involving aeration systems on the property. Prior to the curious and destructive bear, both system and pump were “running just as strong as when they were originally installed” in 2004.

The suspect: Ursus americanus aka American Black Bear

The suspected saboteur: Ursus americanus (aka American Black Bear)

After finding the mauled machine, Brian soon contacted a KNF Technical Sales representative and, after a “painless and easy” conversation, he was on his way to receiving a replacement pump. When asked about the required repairs, Brian seemed almost relieved, “The whole thing was taken care of within a matter of hours. I am very appreciative of KNF”. In fact, he rates his experience with KNF a 10 out of 10. We’re glad to know that Brian’s experience was  positive, and we hope that the local black bear population seeks entertainment elsewhere in the wilds of Colorado.

Pumping Above Our Weight Class

NMP 03 Micro Gas Pump
The newly introduced ultra-small, portable device pump — weighing only 11g and measuring just 12.9 mm x 24.2 mm — delivers very consistent, linear transfer up to 500 mL/min.

In addition to ultra-small size and wide flow rate range, the NMP 03 offers a long service life, outstanding efficiency, leak tightness, and quiet, low-vibration operation. Typical portable device applications, for which the NMP 03 micro gas pump is very well suited, include: emissions measurement and gas analyzers; patient monitoring; capnography; negative pressure wound therapy; ion-mobility spectrometry (trace detection); drugs and explosives detection; handheld pipette/dosing; and print-head meniscus control.

The NMP 03 offers a wide operating temperature range of -20 °C – +60 °C (environment and gas) thereby making it well-suited for outdoor use and applications involving hot or cold gases. Plus, like other KNF micro gas pumps, the new NMP 03 features a modular system which can be configured to match your specific requirements.

Visit www.knfusa.com/NMP03 to learn more.

Trade Show Demo Features KNF Micro Vacuum Pump

Throughout the year, we’ve noticed a demonstration unit that caught our attention on the show floors of BIOMEDevice San Jose, SLAS and MD&M West. This demo – created and displayed by AllMotion – highlights the ability of their four-axis controller board, and utilizes a KNF Micro Gas Pump to create vacuum for stacking and unstacking marbles at a dizzying speed. AllMotion is a California-based manufacturer of stepper drives, stepper controllers, servo drives and servo controllers.

The demo illustrates the ability of the AllMotion board to run motors through four axis of movement and calculate the associated trajectories, while simultaneously running the KNF Micro Gas Pump, a vacuum switch, limit switches, and LEDs – all in a perfectly-timed ballet of motion.

Continue reading

KNF OEM Diaphragm Pumps Used in Multiple Environmental Studies

A customer recently brought five environmental studies, ranging from 2013 to 1996, to our attention. Each of the studies details research conducted with one common component: a KNF OEM pump, which proved integral for sample collection or transfer during the analyses. Of the five studies, we cherry-picked two air-toxics studies for your further reading. However, here’s the listing of all five:

  1. Walter 2013 High Res Measurements Atmospheric Hydrogen West African Coast Mauritania
  2. Querino 2011 Methane Flux Vertical Gradient Mixing Ratio Measurements in a Tropical Forest
  3. Bailey 2010 Southwest Indianapolis Air Toxics Study
  4. Romashkin 2001 In Situ Measurements Long Lived Trace Gases Lower Stratosphere Gas Chromatography
  5. Elkins 1996 Airborne Gas Chromatography In Situ Measurements Long Lived Species Upper Troposphere Lower Stratosphere

KNF Environmental Pumps for Gas Sampling and AnalysisWe’re very proud KNF pumps are relied upon within ambient, source and portable devices for environmental sample collection and analysis. For example, the 2010 study listed above details a project in which the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), the U.S. EPA, the City of Indianapolis, and a diverse group of stakeholders teamed up to conduct an air toxics study in southwestern Indianapolis, Indiana (this region was identified by the U.S. EPA National Air Toxics Assessment [NATA] in 1996 and 1999 to be an area of potential concern for cancer risk from air toxics).

A KNF pump was used to enable the analysis of the total non-methane organic carbon (TNMOC) concentration of ambient air. For a history lesson, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 required the EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards to set National Ambient Air Quality Standard for the “criteria” pollutant, ozone. In areas of the country where the NAAQS for ozone is being exceeded, additional measurements of the ambient nonmethane organic compound (NMOC) concentration are needed to assist the affected States in developing revised ozone control strategies. Measurements of ambient NMOC are important to the control of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are precursors to atmospheric ozone.

Therefore, a reliable pump was essential for the collection of air samples with potentially harmful toxics. Simultaneously, it was critical for the pump to collect samples in a manner that didn’t change or contaminate the samples. KNF pumps, known for their reliability and chemical inertness, are ideally situated for this type of application. Additionally, their extremely high gas tightness allows for the accurate and complete collection of media, without the risk of sample loss, dilution, or contamination.

Also, in 2001, a study, titled In Situ Measurements of Long-Lived Trace Gases in the Lower Stratosphere by Gas Chromatography, utilized the KNF NMP 830 pump (referenced as UNMP 830 pump in article) . For this study, a four-channel gas chromatograph measured different air qualities in 70 and 140 second intervals. Air external to the aircraft was delivered to the instrument from an external, variable speed, two-stage, KNF diaphragm pump, driven by a brushless 24-V DC motor. The KNF pump was mounted on the aft wall, and was turned on by the ACATS-IV onboard computer when the ER-2 aircraft ascended through 87 kPa of atmospheric pressure.

Regarding this second study, there are a few points of interest we’d like our readers to note. First, the usage of the pump is a prime example of KNF application flexibility. The KNF NMP 830 micro pump is small; however, its footprint isn’t the only reason it was relied upon within this challenging design. For example, the pump in this application is pulling atmospheric samples at an extremely high altitude, measuring parts per billion (ppb) and parts per trillion (ppt). Expectedly, pump inertness is therefore paramount. Much like in the first study referenced above, environmental analysis customers have come to rely on KNF pump material options, including PTFE and stainless steel, and on the leak tightness of KNF pumps.

Additionally, the KNF pump used in this second study is driven by a brushless DC (BLDC) motor, which helps meet the small size mandate. BLDC allows flow rates to be adjusted as needed, helping to extend the lifecycle and reliability of a device. Motor adjustment is also particularly important for this application, because at high elevations, fewer air molecules are available to blow across the pump for cooling. Therefore, the pump faces the risk of overheating. However, the ability to adjust and operate the motor at a lower voltage and speed helps to mitigate this concern. The small and lightweight design of KNF micro gas pumps even allows for energy-efficient battery operation.

Also of note, there’s far less ambient pressure at the elevation at which the pump in this study is operating, resulting in less pressure on both the top and undersides of the diaphragm. This condition is certainly not ideal for pump operation, which further adds to the difficulty of this application. This, and the other challenges presented by high altitude operation and ppb/ppt detection require a specification-driven, individually-tailored pump. KNF excels in designing and configuring pumps to exacting requirements such as these. In fact, over 80 percent of KNF’s business involves custom-engineered pump solutions.

To round out this review, the first and second studies listed above used KNF pumps to flush sample flasks prior to sampling, and to collect and fill flasks, respectively. The last study used a KNF pump to collect samples in a high altitude study with a set-up similar to the Romashkin 2001 study, which was discussed above.

Summing up this entry to The Pump Post, each of the five studies offers a constant theme of KNF OEM pumps being well-suited for environmental sample collection and analysis applications. Please check back to learn more about KNF products in real-world applications!

In Case You Missed It: KNF Neuberger Pump Used on PBS’ “NOVA”

“The global cyberwar is heating up and the stakes are no longer limited to the virtual world of computers.”

So says the voiceover talent, during a recent episode of “NOVA” on PBS. During the episode, real-world examples are provided to examine the science and technology behind today’s cyber warfare. Already, highly sophisticated, stealthy computer programs such as the notorious Stuxnet worm can take over the control systems that regulate food factories, pipelines, power plants, and chemical facilities—even our cars.

However, this blog isn’t written to put a scare into our readers; we just found it interesting that 23 minutes into the episode, a KNF air pump is used to pop a balloon! (episode available on PBS website via link below)

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/military/cyberwar-threat.html

Liam O’Murchu, Sr. Development Manager at Symantec, demonstrates how a PLC—or programmable logic controller—can be used with malicious code to override an intended program command. The air pump, KNF model N 828, inflates a balloon for three seconds, and then stops, as directed by the PLC. However, if infected, the PLC can be used to drive the pump continuously, thus leading to the balloon being inflated until…POP!

Technology TIP: Measurement of Pulsating Flow

INTRODUCTION

TechTIP

Like most companies producing gas pumps, KNF uses glass tube and float type flowmeters to measure flow during pump production testing. This type of flowmeter has been used for several decades as they are fast-acting, reliable, and accurate. The normal industry practice is to calibrate this class of instrument using laminar flow. Unfortunately, the pulsating flow from reciprocating pumps produces an artificially high flowrate reading compared to the laminar flow calibration. As a result, all diaphragm and piston pump manufacturers using traditional flowmeters will end up promoting higher flow rate values than what the pumps actually provide.

OUR GOAL

measurement-flow-blogAt KNF, we are passionate about meeting the engineering design challenges of our customers. Our goal is to provide our customers with pumps that meet the actual needs of the system in which they are installed. Along with this goal comes the responsibility to provide data that best represents the performance capabilities for each pump produced at KNF. Simply stated, we want our customers to know the flow rate values we provide will accurately correspond to the actual flow produced by the pump — the true amount of gas delivered; not just an artificially inflated reading.

The flow measurement discrepancy manifests during system-level performance comparisons between continuous flow (non-pulsating) and pulsating pump types, reported to provide the same flow rates. The non-pulsating pump winds up delivering greater flow performance than the pulsating pump that was erroneously thought to be equivalent, skewing results in favor of the non-pulsating pump type.

TechTIP_MoPF_fig1

Figure 1: KNF pulsation-compensated flowmeter

THE SOLUTION

To address this situation, several years of research and development by our flow experts at the KNF Gas Pump Design Center in Freiburg, Germany has culminated in an advanced system for the measurement of pulsating flow. KNF has made an investment to implement this new technology. The resulting pulsation-compensated flowmeters (see Figure 1) are tuned and calibrated to measure pulsating flow more precisely than the traditional glass tube and float type flowmeters.

 

The more accurate flow readings from our pulsation-compensated measurement standard show lower values for flow than the laminar flow based systems used in the past. This document describes why your pump is still providing the same flow performance even though the measured and recorded flow value is lower. Glass tube and float type flowmeters are also called variable area flowmeters as the cross sectional area of the tube varies from smaller at the bottom to larger at the top (see Figure 2 below).

Figure 2

Figure 2: Cross-section illustration of a float type flowmeter

Pulsating flow always creates a higher reading in a float type flowmeter. The reason is that the float cannot move downward quickly enough between pulses. The float will remain on the top of the flow wave (see Figure 3 below). KNF has been aware of this phenomenon for quite some time and has been continually investigating better ways to attenuate the effect of the pulsation. The pulsation-compensated KNF flowmeter assemblies include physical components to minimize the effect of the pulsations.

Figure 3

Figure 3: Impact of pulsation on flowmeter readings

Simply put, our pulsation-compensated flowmeters are dampened to reduce the effect of the pulsations — these values are represented by the green line in the figure below. A dampened flowmeter may read pulsating flow too high if it was calibrated using laminar flow — that is why we use pulsating flow to calibrate our pumps at KNF. Flowmeters with little or no dampening will read artificially high as shown by the red lines.

SUMMARY

This advanced flow measurement system combines variable area flowmeters with a mass-flow calibration system. Optimized for pulsating flow, the system provides the most accurate measurement of flow available today. The improved accuracy is shown in Figure 4 (below).

Figure 4

Figure 4: KNF flowmeter reading (optimized for pulsating flow).

The chart shows flowmeters with a range of 2 – 10 liters per minute calibrated using pulsating and laminar flow compared to a target flow established by a mass flow meter. While this improvement is typical, actual results may vary across the flowmeter size ranges.

To learn more about KNF’s advanced flow measurement system please contact a KNF applications engineer.

The Right Pump to Meet Your Continuous Ink-jet Printing Requirements

Application Note: OEMAs the continuous ink-jet (CIJ) printing industry evolves, KNF remains a driving force behind the change from yesterday’s peristaltic and gear driven pumps, to today’s more efficient diaphragm pumps. In fact, KNF is well positioned to serve this industry, thanks to our CIJ applications knowledge and selection of readily-optimized liquid and gas handling diaphragm pumps.

Diaphragm pumps overcome common problems inherent with the use of peristaltic and gear pumps in CIJ applications. Peristaltic pumps have short tube life leading to maintenance issues or messy clean-up, while gear pumps have issues including performance decay, shed particles, high cost, and they cannot run dry. In contrast, our diaphragm pumps provide a greatly extended performance life, lower cost operation, leak-tightness, robust chemical resistance, the ability to handle challenging inks, and our liquid pumps are self-priming and can run wet or dry. In addition, KNF diaphragm pumps can include features such as logic-controlled brushless DC motors, special electrical connections and mounting plates, and dampeners for applications sensitive to pulsation.

Air, Gas & Liquid Diaphragm Pumps for Continuous Ink-jet Printers

KNF Neuberger, Inc. specializes in liquid transfer pumps for continuous ink-jet printing industry. Specific media applications include UV ink pumps, pumps for solvent-based inks, degassing pumps, and many more.

Typical functions that our pumps perform in drop-on-demand inkjet applications include:

  • Bulk ink supply/replenish
  • Ink degassing
  • System vacuum and pressure
  • Cleaning station
  • Anti-siphon at head
  • Gutter pump
  • Chemistry make up
  • Ink delivery
  • Debris cleaning
  • QC analysis

KNF is also proud to have contributed to the CIJ market’s successful evolution to now include industrial printers and decorators, mailing and labeling equipment, date/lot codes, bio-material dispensing, 3-D printers, printed electronics, and more.

View the complete Application Note for more information, including a list of KNF pumps for continuous ink-jet printing and a more complete list of KNF pump features and benefits for CIJ applications.