Whether you’re looking to divert water from point “A” to point “B” or stop it from getting to point “C” – the chances are, you’ll need something to control the flow. I thought I’d just take the opportunity to give you 3 key examples you might find interesting or useful.
So, what is (what we call) a ‘flow control device’? Well, one we’ve all come across in our daily lives is: a tap. Now, a tap allows water to flow or stop completely, and it’s fine for small amounts of water, but what happens if you need to control vast amounts of water flowing through large structures? Well, then you need a penstock!
A penstock (or ‘sluice gate’) can control large volumes of water and is used a lot within the water and wastewater treatment industry. A penstock is basically a frame fixed to a wall, and a door which slides up and down inside the frame. Similar technology has been used as long ago as the 7th century BC in Mesopotamia…. Sluice gates were used to control the flow of water in canals and for irrigation, so water could be transported to where it was needed. Even as far back as the 3rd century BC, Chinese engineers were building large canal systems, which used stone and timber flow control devices.
Another type of flow control device – mostly for isolating bodies of water – is a ‘stoplog system’. This is a simplified penstock and only consists of guide frames and the stoplog beams themselves – the guides are fixed to the structure, then the beams are lowered into place as and when isolation is required.
In the past penstocks were made of timber and cast iron – indeed the very first sluice gates were made like this – but more and more we are now seeing a shift to penstocks fabricated in stainless steel.
Stoplogs have progressed from timber logs/sleepers to stainless steel and lightweight aluminium, amongst other materials.
So now, the next time you turn a tap on – or off – you can mentally compare it to penstocks and stoplog systems and just imagine being in control of a LOT of water – you may never look at a tap in the same way again…
By the way, IBS Engineered products can offer a full design, manufacture and installation services for penstocks and stoplogs.