Mekorot Ltd. (Israel’s national water company) operates more than 600 water wells with depths that exceed 50 meters. In northern Israel alone, there are approximately 200 such wells. At these wells, which are all oil lubricated, we have installed a system that supplies oil in pre-defined quantities to ensure the proper operation of the line shaft.
The supply of oil to the line shaft’s bearings can be compared to the supply of blood to the brain. Should the flow of oil stop for any reason, irreversible damage is caused that shortens the equipment life. Later on, it requires the dismantling and replacement of the well equipment.
The following are reasons why the oil drip can stop without notice :
a) The oil tank is empty b) Dirt in the oil c) Changes in oil viscosity due to weather changes.
In the early 1990’s, a change over to using paraffin food grade oil began that replaced the use of machine oil. The quality of lubrication provided by the new oil was of a lower level than the original oils used. Due to this change, operational problems began with these wells for what appeared to be for no apparent reason. Due to these problems, it was decided that instrumentation needed to be developed for the regulation and drip monitoring for our oil lubricated wells.
Hoffmann and Hoffmann Ltd., which had developed other application specific electronic instrumentation for Mekorot in the past, was asked to find a solution to the above referenced problem, in cooperation with our in-house engineers. After extensive R&D efforts, a technological solution was developed. Tests were conducted on a small number of wells initially, in order to identify possible modifications needed to ensure maximum effectiveness. Due to the success of the trial period, the system was installed on all oil lubricated Mekorot wells throughout the country (more than 350 wells).
The system enables the establishment of a constant drip rate during well operation (the number of drips per minute is a function of the depth of the well) and a lower drip rate when the well is not operating. Most of the units we have installed have been in use for over five years and have demonstrated a high level of efficiency requiring minimal maintenance.
Due to the fact that operating a well without oil causes irreparable damage and very high costs, the investment made to install and operate this system has been very worthwhile for our company.
It should be stressed that the units are operating year round in a variety of weather conditions including under snow in the winter, as well as in extreme heat (113 degrees Fahrenheit – 45 degrees Celsius) in the summer. The system withstands the significant changes in oil lubrication viscosity and maintains a constant and consistent drip rate according to our specifications.
I would like to mention the significant contribution these units have made to help avoid breakdowns in the equipment we operate, as well as the cooperation we have enjoyed from the people at Hoffmann & Hoffmann Ltd.