This month's column focuses on recent drilling-related events and information.

Collaboration and cooperation will help advance the big picture.

New Award Recognizes Cooperation

The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) has announced creation of the Robert Storm Interdivisional Cooperation Award to recognize extraordinary collaboration between professionals representing different segments of the ground water industry.

The award's namesake was instrumental in bringing together various segments of the ground water industry in 1948 to create the National Water Well Association, which later became the NGWA.

Today, NGWA has four membership categories - the contractors division, the association of ground water scientists and engineers, the manufacturers division, as well as the suppliers division.

The Storm Award recognizes individuals who, through their activities or written works, contribute to promoting collaboration, enhancing cooperation and fostering community among all ground water professionals - and to advancing the mutual interests of all those concerned with communicating the importance of the earth's water resources.

Award nominees can be individuals or teams, and need not be NGWA members. According to the award criteria:

  • The award is limited to one collaboration or project each year.
  • Multiple individuals from a collaboration or project can be recognized.
  • Nominations can be accepted from the NGWA membership at large, as well as its boards, committees and state associations.
  • Nominations must come from an NGWA member.
  • The award is limited to individuals or teams; associations and organizations are not eligible.
  • The award is presented each year at NGWA's Ground Water Expo.

The deadline for nominations is August 1. For more information about how to submit a nomination,

Optimism Reigns

The encouraging news from our latest “Web Poll” question at Contractors are decidedly bullish on their local market conditions. We asked, “This year, do you expect the drilling market in your area to expand, stay the same or decline?” The results:
  • expand - 66 percent
  • stay the same - 19 percent
  • decline - 15 percent
Little doubtNational Drillerreaders in those areas of decline will find ways to maintain individual market shares and profit margins.

Big Winner Announced

William Rhodes of Professional Service Industry in Ohio won the drawing for a $100 American Express gift check through his participation inNational Driller'smost recent Reader Preference Study. Next time you receive one of our surveys, complete it and send it in. They take just a few minutes and provide valuable information on the industry - and who couldn't use a c-note?

E-Newsletter for Drillers

As part of our constant efforts to bring you the industry-related information you need to grow your business,National Drillerhas been offering a free monthly e-Newsletter. The e-Newsletter is scheduled to be released around the middle of each month, and is filled with news, events and industry-related information for your consumption. Don't miss out on anything; sign up forNational Driller'se-Newsletter today and stay up-to-date on current drilling-related happenings. Just visitwww.thedriller.comand click through to the subscription form.

Challenges, Shmallenges

It is often said that the challenges people face help develop character. In a great many cases, that certainly is true. But I've learned a thing or two about the drilling industry, and that little axiom falls a bit short when applied to most of the folks I've come across. For drilling contractors, challenges don't develop character; they embody it - the so-called challenges are embraced matter-of-factly as the very fabric of life.

So what's your next move going to be?

We've Got Mail

In the May 2006 issue, there is a case history titled “VFDs and Submersibles - A Perfect Fit” (p. 68). In this article, there are a few things that are incorrect.

#1 “A constant speed pump with a mechanical control valve, for example, becomes very inefficient at low flows.” Horsepower will decrease with the flow rate even when efficiency is reduced. At low flow rates, slowing the RPM with a drive may reduce energy consumption by a tiny amount over using a control valve. However, the drive itself requires additional power and the pulsing DC voltage causes the motor to be less efficient. Energy consumption for pumps controlled by drives compared to control valves basically is the same in most constant pressure applications.

#2 “Unlike fixed speed pumps, where operating costs always are driven by the pump operating at full speed and horsepower, VFD systems can operate at significantly less cost as they are run at lower speeds much of the time.” Just because a pump is running at full speed, does not mean that the pump is using full horsepower. Horsepower is proportional to the flow rate even when the pump is spinning full RPM. This should be obvious to anyone who can read a pump curve. Again, horsepower decreases with the flow rate even without slowing the RPM of the motor and pump.

#3 “Because of its soft start/stop capability, a subdrive actually can prolong the life of a submersible motor.” Not only is this not proven, but it is contrary to the fact that higher RPM increases wear rate. Vibrations at critical speeds also can cause premature failures, as the speed varies from 1,800 RPM to 4,700 RPM. The pulsing DC voltage of a drive and the reflective wave in the drop cable cause a 240-volt motor to receive spikes of 1,000 volts or more. Harmonic frequencies created by a drive produce more heat in the windings than if the motor is running on normal power, even when the current is reduced. The technical nature of a drive's computerized controls means the motor and entire water system is only as dependable as the control. All of these things - combined or separately - do not go along with drives “prolonging the life of a submersible motor.”

#4 “A constant-speed pump with a mechanical control valve may have difficulty maintaining proper cooling flow past the motor.” This statement is completely false. A mechanical control valve derates the motor. A 5-HP motor is drawing only 3-HP current when the flow is reduced with a mechanical control valve. According to Franklin's chart, a 5-HP motor derated to a 3-HP load can operate in water over 140 degrees F. This proves that a derated motor needs very little cooling flow. Motor companies know that their cooling chart for motors running at “full service factor load” is not valid when using a pump control valve. They are hoping that you don't see the words, “full service factor load,” or don't understand that a control valve derates the motor. A simple cooling chart for derated motors in water less than 86 degrees F would answer all of our questions. A motor company that also makes drives is not likely to produce such a chart, as it would prove that valves are superior to drives when cooling a submersible motor is concerned. If a product can stand on its own merits, there should be no reason for false or misleading statements.

Cary Austin
Cycle Stop Valves Inc