How VFD Controls Pumps to Prevent Flooding | Case Study

How VFD Controls Pumps to Prevent Flooding Case Study istock_000010090775_web-SSDE Division-Automation Group-Parker Hannifin Corporation

A forward thinking holiday caravan park took an innovative and proactive approach to flood management when they used a variable frequency drive (VFD) to control a unique pumping system.

Living in the United Kingdom there can be no escaping the floods that have occurred over the past few years. Harsher seasons and adverse weather conditions are becoming more common and the impact flooding has had on businesses cannot be underestimated.

Recognising the threat that floodwaters could have on its business, the management of a popular caravan park, situated on the beautiful south coast of England, approached Arun Electrical, a Parker Hannifin SSD system integrator, to provide a cutting edge pumping system to minimise the threat of flooding. 

The application concept

After significant flood damage during 2013, the caravan park set themselves the challenge of pumping the water from their land swiftly and efficiently to protect customers and the grounds.The concept is based on a series of interconnected ponds and pools on-site.The water drains into the first pool and is then pumped into the second, then third and so on, eventually returning the water to the sea.

We were asked to provide an interconnected and intelligent drive system to control the pumping process. The Parker AC30 variable frequency drive is at the very heart of the system. 


"The AC30 offers significant advantages over other drives in this class. The inbuilt software and programmability negates the need for a PLC. What’s more the functionality was exactly what was needed in this application. The technical support team at Parker were able to listen to our requirements and support us in building our customised system”.  Dave Kemp, Arun Electrical.


The AC30 system controls water levels via an internal proportional integral derivative controller (PID). The user sets the desired water level for each of the pools, ensuring that the set level will allow for efficient natural drainage. If the water rises above the pre-set levels then the pump will work faster and, if below, will work slower, to ensure that the water levels remain within the safe pre-set boundaries. The system can also be programmed to take into account seasonal variations in water levels allowing the user to specify pre-set values for summer and winter.

How VFD Controls Pumps to Prevent Flooding | Case Study - AC30 VFD - SSDE Division-Parker Hannifin Corporation

The AC30 drive solution 

The AC30 has been designed to provide users with exceptional levels of control for pump applications, whilst being both flexible and modular in design. In addition to Ethernet as standard, AC30 also offers a wide range of optional communications modules which can be added or removed as required. In this application these features really show their value.

Communications capabilities

The communication capabilities of the AC30 give the user a real-time system overview right in the palm of their hand. The drives can be programmed to send out a series of SMS messages via a low-cost modem to the mobile phones of maintenance personnel should certain predetermined events occur. Specific text messages will be sent in the instance of pumping being initiated by the drive, power failure, RCD trip (stating exactly what caused the trip), water level change, pump stall or any a number of other pre-determined triggers. These notifications give maintenance teams the ability to not only remotely monitor the system but also take immediate corrective action when required.

Efficiency and reliability

Controlling the motor via a variable frequency drive in this application also delivers benefits in terms of efficiency. The AC30 drive matches system demands by synchronising the workload of the motor to the pumping requirements, keeping running costs to a minimum and reducing energy wastage. The drives are installed into fully outdoor rated enclosures and, unlike many other drives in this class, the AC30 is also conformally coated as standard for harsh environment protection (3C3 as standard with 3C4 for hydrogen sulphide as an option).

How VFD Controls Pumps to Prevent Flooding | Case Study - AC30 VFD installed caravan park-photo by Mathew Dowd-SSDE Division - Parker Hannifin Corporation

The result

So far the system has protected the park from the flooding that has damaged so much property across the UK. Due to its effectiveness, the team at the park have already identified other potential risk areas and have added more pumping stations to safeguard their site. 

More information

Would your business stay afloat? A guide to preparing your business for flooding by the UK Environment Agency.

Learn more about our innovative range of AC30 drives.



Let Automation Come to You - Matt Dowd Marketing Communications Manager Parker SSD Europe Automation Group Parker Hannifin This article contributed by Matthew Dowd, Marketing Communications Manager, Automation Group EMEA, Parker Hannifin Corporation.





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