Johan Meijer has spent the past four decades solving engineering problems related to pumping system design—working closely with valves, pumps, and hoses. After 14 years as an end user, he moved into a consultancy role and developed a powerful strategic calculation program for high pressure peristaltic pumps that is provided free to end users.
By Michelle Segrest, Contributing Editor
For Johan Meijer, pumps and valves are close to home. “Valves and pumps are more than just work for me,” he said. “They are my hobby.” At his home in Andalusia, Spain, he and his wife have five pumps for the water supply, all controlled with a PLC that runs on solar energy, and his swimming pool has a filtration system with pumps and many valves.
Originally from the Netherlands, Meijer spent his early engineering years working in the United States. From ages 24 until 37, he worked with major engineering companies in the food & beverage and specialty chemicals industries in Atlanta, GA. Much of his experience was gained through hands-on experience while on the job.
After 14 years working in the U.S., Meijer returned to the Netherlands, working as a sales manager for a major peristaltic pump manufacturer. He began to build expertise with peristaltic pumps including valves, hoses and other equipment that make up the entire system.
“I was first hired as a senior designer, assisting with process background as a certified operator in the chemical industry but also as a qualified safety engineer, helping the design teams,” he said. “At that time, I was one of the only engineers at my company who was good with computers. That helped me a lot because the old school engineers were just using calculators and not using spreadsheets like Excel and doing the work on a PC. This was early late 1980s through the early ‘90s when the internet was just being introduced. I was able to work with all the different types of engineers helping them with their calculations. That’s where I got involved with pump selection and calculating tank capacity, pressure relief valves—actually everything that has to do with process technology.”
During this time, one of his major duties as a process engineer was sizing pumps and related pipe sizes, valves, filters, etc.
“When you are in charge of sizing a pump, all the piping, inlet and discharge aspects are part of that,” Meijer said. “You must look at the whole system. Everything is part of the selection. The liquid needs to go in the pump and come back out with enough volume coming back out of the pipe. For example; if you have a centrifugal pump with just enough pressure to pump the liquid up the hill, but not enough to pump it over the hill, then it just sits there in the pipe and doesn’t do anything.”
In this case, the pump size as well as pressure drops must be considered.
“Then you have to think about the valves, and all the other items connected to the system,” he continued. “When you are thinking about maintenance, if you have to shut down a pump, you need valves to isolate the pump. Valves have their own dynamics—flow coming in and flow going out—and there is a certain resistance. All this adds up. The fluids we transfer are not only just water. You should consider all the different effects of the fluid—like density, viscosity, and temperature. This affects the friction in the pipeline and the energy that is needed. You must consider many things in the system. You need to know about the pumps, valves, and all other items placed inline equally in order to engineer a good system.”
Seven years ago, Meijer and his wife decided to make a lifestyle change and moved to southern Spain, where he started his own business. The business began with wastewater treatment consultancy, working on polymer dosing systems, and foamed concrete systems for the pre-fab construction industry. In addition to all these activities Meijer continued to develop a program for calculating the most effective pump sizes of high pressure peristaltic pumping systems.
Correct pump selection affects the entire system
Meijer has completed a generic peristaltic pump selection program designed to select and troubleshoot high-pressure peristaltic pumps for plant engineers and operators. The program includes his lifetime of knowledge and experience.
“A few years ago, I made some notes for myself so that I wouldn’t forget all the knowledge I had gained during all those years working with pumps,” he said. “I put it all in a spreadsheet, then made a calculation program that included everything I know about properly selecting a high pressure peristaltic pump. I then combined all this information to develop a very powerful selection program that includes a lifetime of experience.”
Meijer’s specialty is analyzing specific problems with equipment and helping to provide solutions.
“For example, a plant may have a pump with a hose that has a hose-life of only 500 hours,” he explained. “If they run the pump 40 hours per week, they must change the hose of the pump every three months. This becomes expensive, especially if they have five or six of these pumps. So, I will help them figure out how to solve this problem. I also handle analysis of failed equipment. Sometimes the failing of the hose is not caused by the pump selection but because of the manufacturing of the hose. Perhaps it’s not the quality that they originally thought. How do you know if the hose is faulty? You only know after running the pump for a week or so. I give them pointers on where to check and how to check it using my technical expertise. This is another way I help the end users.”
Meijer described another problem he helped to solve, this one from a wastewater treatment plant in California.
“They had about 20 large peristaltic pumps with 100mm hoses with very long inlet lines,” he said. “When I was invited over there for solving the short peristaltic pump hose life problems, I noticed the inlet lines were very long and the systems had very high pulsation everywhere. The pulsation dampeners that were installed were not working as they should, and some of the pumps did not have pulsation dampeners at all. At this point I began calculating with as built data. After supplying the results and my recommendations, the plant implemented the changes and extended the hose life by an average of three times — a savings of approximately $65,000 USD per year.”
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