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About the Bamford "Hi-Ram Pump ®"

Development of the Bamford Hi-Ram Pump started in the Australian summer of 1997/98, following drought conditions and a shortage of water on a farming property. Although there was a stream of flowing water, it was unused because of the low rate of flow, the lack of electricity, and the difficult terrain. Normal methods of pumping water were simply not suitable.

Other ways of getting water from the stream were considered, particularly ways using the energy of flowing water to drive a pump. Attempts to construct and use a traditional hydraulic ram pump were marginally successful. The search for a simpler way led to the development of a new type of pump.

A diagrammatic installation for a Bamford Hi-Ram Pump to pump water is shown below. This is similar to the installation of a hydraulic ram pump, and a Bamford Hi-Ram Pump will typically work where other hydraulic ram pumps will work. Recommendations for pump installation are covered in more detail in the section "Pump Installation".

A Bamford Hi-Ram Pump can also work where other hydraulic ram pumps will not work. Its design also allows it the alternative roles of producing compressed air, or providing a mechanical output to operate other devices.

Setup of Bamford Hi-Ram Pump

To work as a water pump, the Bamford Hi-Ram Pump needs a source of water above the pump. This can be from a stream or river or other source, so that water enters the pump through a Drive Pipe. A typical head of water to operate the pump is about two meters, although smaller and larger heads are also suitable. The characteristics of the Drive Pipe are most important in the operation of the pump.

Operation of Hi-Ram Pump

At the beginning of the operating cycle, water starts to flow through the Drive Pipe and goes to waste through a Waste Valve. The flow of water then increases, until the Waste Valve closes and suddenly stops the flow of water. The result is a "water hammer", which causes a high pressure inside the pump, so that water is forced past an Outlet Valve (Non Return Valve) into the Delivery Pipe. As the operating cycle continues, the pressure inside the pump drops and the Outlet Valve closes.

There is then a "rebound effect", and the pressure inside the pump further drops to below atmospheric pressure. During this part in the operating cycle, air can be brought into the pump by the use of an optional one way valve.

The pressure inside the pump will then increase because of the head of water from the entry to the Drive Pipe. Another operating cycle begins with water going through the Waste Valve, and so on.

A typical cycle time for a small pump is about one second. Most of the water entering the pump goes through the Waste Valve, the remainder being pumped up the Delivery Pipe. In a typical installation, the waste water can be diverted downhill to rejoin the river or stream from which it came. However, the design of the Bamford Hi-Ram Pump also allows waste water can be piped away for other uses, which could include operation of a second pump in series with the first.

In its simplest form, the Bamford Hi-Ram Pump will operate without an air reservoir or other means to smooth the pressure pulses of water going into the Delivery Pipe. While this may require a stronger Delivery Pipe, in many situations the simpler pump is preferable.

Optional components can be fitted to improve the efficiency of the pump or to provide for its alternative roles, but at increased cost. One option is to fit a pressure cell pre-charged with air to smooth out pressure variations in the Delivery Pipe. Such pressure cells are widely used in other pumping applications, and typically have a flexible diaphragm to separate the air and water.

As described above, the pressure inside the pump drops below atmospheric pressure during part of the cycle of operation. If a one way valve is fitted, air can be drawn into the pump, so that air is then pumped through the Outlet Valve with the water. An optional pressure vessel can then be fitted near the pump outlet to automatically fill with air and smooth out pressure variations in the Delivery Pipe.

The pump can take in much more air than is needed to fill such a pressure vessel, in which case excess air simply goes up the Delivery Pipe. This is how the Bamford Hi-Ram Pump can provide compressed air, as air going through the Outlet Valve is at the same pressure as the water that it accompanies. If the main purpose of the Bamford Hi-Ram Pump is to supply compressed air, water need not be pumped anywhere provided the pump does not fill with air to stop the cycle of operation.

Although the optional components are not shown, the pressure changes in the pump from cycle to cycle can be used to operate other devices. This may provide an opportunity, for example, for a Bamford Hi-Ram Pump to drive a separate reciprocating pump and supply clean drinking water from another source.

The basis of the Bamford Hi-Ram Pump is a new waste valve mechanism with two moving parts, both of which can be easily removed. Alternative valve parts can therefore be used to provide rapid adjustment for different inlet and outlet heads, and for different water flow rates in and out.

The Bamford Hi-Ram Pump can produce high pressures from low flows of water at a modest head. The design of the pump allows construction in a range of sizes and of alternative materials to suit different operating conditions.

While its original development was for pumping water, the alternative roles of the Bamford Hi-Ram Pump considerably extend its usefulness. It can be useful in a variety of ways where the energy in a flow of water or other fluid is otherwise going to waste. Its simplicity and flexibility therefore offer the potential for new domestic, industrial and rural applications in both developed and developing countries.

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Bamfords, Post Office Box 11, YASS NSW 2582, AUSTRALIA
Phone  +(61 2) 6226 4068    
Bamford Industries NSW BN97702171, and John Bamford and Associates NSW L8632225
"Hi-Ram Pump" is a Registered Trade Mark
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