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In order to rescue the team, pump engineers volunteered their expertise to pump water out of the cave system to reduce the water levels and help maintain them when it rained.

When 12 boys and their assistant soccer coach were found alive by rescuers inside a Thai cave nine days after they went missing, up to 2000 volunteers mobilised to the site to offer their expertise. Despite the dangerous conditions, eight days later they had all been extracted from the cave system safely. Critical to the success of the rescue was the use of water pumps to keep the water levels low enough to allow the divers to guide the boys and the coach out of the cave.

How did they get trapped?

The junior soccer team, aged between 11 and 16, disappeared in the Tham Luang cave in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province on 23 June 2018. They had been exploring the cave when heavy rainfall flooded the tunnels, cutting off the exit and forcing them to travel deeper into the cave to safety.

The team’s disappearance triggered an international rescue operation, and more than a week after they went missing, on 2 July 2018 two divers found the group alive four kilometres into the cave system in a partially flooded chamber and huddled in total darkness on a 10m² ledge.


Rising waters

The Tham Luang cave system is among Thailand’s longest and is made up of tunnels, slippery rocks and cliffs with sharp drop-offs. During the wet season, from around May-October, the cave is notorious for flooding, and a large warning sign tells people it is off-limits.

Rescuers were puzzled over how to extract the team through the murky water coursing through a network of tunnels, and a range of options were considered including divers guiding them out through the flooded tunnels, drilling a tunnel down to the team from above, and waiting until the waters subsided.

However, despite being the most dangerous option and the team having no diving experience, current and impending heavy rainfall forced the hands of the rescuers and the decision was made to have the team led out by experienced divers.

The risk of rising water in the cave posed a problem, not only to the team inside the cave, but also to the rescue team. Thailand’s Interior Minister, Anupong Paojinda, told reporters that the navy SEAL divers leading the search were seriously handicapped by muddy water that had filled some chambers to the ceiling. This was a major problem as they could only proceed when there was enough space between the water and ceiling so the divers were about to lift their heads above the water at points to see where they were going.

Reducing water levels

In order to rescue the team, pump engineers volunteered their expertise to pump water out of the cave system to reduce the water levels and help maintain them when it rained.

Among the engineers sent to the site, were teams from Kirloskar Brothers (KLB) and Xylem.

KBL was brought into the rescue because the company had experience pumping out flood water, having helped with rehabilitation efforts in Bangkok after the 2011 floods.

A KBL release said experts from its team were on-site from 5 July 2018 to offer “technical know-how and advice on dewatering and pumps involved in the rescue operation”.

The release also said the company offered to provide four specialised high capacity autoprime dewatering pumps, which were kept ready at Kirloskarvadi plant in Maharashtra to be airlifted to Thailand.

In a statement to the Mumbai Mirror, KBL expert Prasad Kulkarni said, “Our work was to remove water from the cave, which has sharp 90 degree turns. The incessant rainfall posed a huge problem as the water level just couldn’t recede.

“The generator-based power supply was erratic. So, we had to use smaller pumps. The cave is in a 20km² hill, which was dark and damp. Its topography is such that even scuba divers could not help at times.”

A team from Xylem also played a role assisting rescuers by boosting pumping power by 40 per cent Bloomberg reported.

In an interview in Singapore, Xylem Chief Executive, Patrick Decker, said, “When we heard the boys were found and began to see the visual imagery on TV of the water conditions and what it looked like in the cave, and I saw these hoses with water pouring out of them, I thought, ‘we need to get somebody there to be sure they’re getting maximum water out of these pumps.”

Mr Decker sent employees from Thailand and Singapore to the cave for an initial assessment, with experts from the US and UK flown in later to make recommendations on things like changing cabling layout and adjusting the flow of hoses to improve pumping power.

A monumental pumping effort

critical-role-of-pumps-thai-cave-rescue-source-afpSource: AFP

The Guardian reported that hundreds of industrial pumps – each with the capacity to drain 13,000 litres per hour – were brought in to drain the water in the cave system, with rescuers taking turns to ensure water was being pumped out 24/7.
In an statement to the Guardian, Poonsak Woongsatngiem, a rescue official with Thailand’s interior ministry, said the pumps had been able to reduce the water in the cave system by about 40 per cent in just a few days after the team was found, clearing a 1.5km stretch of dark, jagged and muddy cave channels that the boys would need to traverse.Mr Woonsatngiem said, “We [are] target[ing] the water in the third chamber to reduce to the point that no diving equipment is needed, like to the waistline, so one can wear just life jackets and walk out.”

Clearing the third basin left another 2.5km of path for the team, with about half that remaining path walkable in the right conditions; the maximum water depth they needed to cross was about six metres.

With pumps situated both inside and outside the cave, an estimated 250 million litres of water was removed from the cave system over the course of the rescue effort.

A close call

The crucial role these pumps played in the successful rescue effort was highlighted on the final day of the rescue, when just hours after the last boy was brought out of the cave the main pump failed.

Rescuers were still more than 1.5km inside the cave clearing up equipment when the pump failed, resulting in the water levels rapidly increasing.

One of the Australian divers stationed in the third chamber told the Guardian, “The screams started coming because the main pumps failed and the water started rising. All these headlights start coming over the hill and the water was coming…it was noticeably rising.”

There were about 100 workers still inside the cave when the pump failed, but all managed to exit the cave safely less than a hour later.

A miracle rescue

The team was rescued in three groups spanning several days, with the first group exiting the cave on 8 July and the final group exiting 10 July, 17 days after they entered.

Following medical approval from Australian doctor Richard Harris, who entered the cave system to assess the team, an elite team of 19 divers helped bring the boys out, with each boy tethered to two experienced divers.

The boys and coach are now recovering in hospital and are reportedly in good health but will remain under quarantine until they are cleared of any infections they might have contracted while in the cave.

The rescue has been hailed a miracle, with Narongsak Osatanakorn, head of the joint command centre coordinating the rescue, thanking the international team for helping to get everyone out safely.

“Everyone worked together, regardless of race and religion, as the goal was the rescue of the youth football team and returning them home safely,” Mr Osatanakom said.

While the mission has been hailed a success, it is also tinged with sadness with the death of Saman Gunan, a former Thai navy SEAL, who died while laying oxygen tanks along the exit route.

About Pump Industry Magazine

This article can originally be found at Pump Industry Magazine.

Pump Industry magazine is Australia’s only dedicated pump magazine and is produced by Monkey Media in cooperation with Pump Industry Australia (PIA). Know more.


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The event was a resounding success this year as it was able to bring in $26,700 for Camp Quality.


Camp Quality Charity Golf Day

We at All Pumps are proud of Barry Crocker for supporting the Camp Quality Charity Golf Day.

The event was done in association with Camp Quality, whose purpose is to create a better life for every child impacted by cancer in Australia.


The event was a resounding success this year as it was able to bring in $26,700 for Camp Quality. This is a big help for children (0-13 years) impacted by cancer and their families, so as to help create a better life by building optimism and resilience throughout each stage of their cancer experience.

Once again thank you Barry! You really do deserve the certificate of support!

About Camp Quality

Camp Quality builds optimism and resilience for kids impacted by cancer and their families. They live by their motto: laughter is the best medicine.

Know more.

Fibre Reinforced Plastics (composites, commonly known as fibreglass) offer advantages over all other materials currently used in the manufacture of pump stations.

  • In-house FRP manufacturing ✔
  • Over 45 Years Experience ✔
  • Turnkey Pump Solutions ✔
  • Australia’s Leading Pump Supplier ✔

Why FRP?

Fibre Reinforced Plastics (composites, commonly known as fibreglass) offer advantages over all other materials currently used in the manufacture of pump stations.

Considering that composites are now part of our everyday lives, they are of course taken for granted. However, the benefits of composites for commercial and manufacturing industries are still being realised. They have a growing track record in creating proven material solutions that perform robustly in the most demanding environments.


Due to their pioneering technology, composites are at the forefront of breakthrough solutions.

Composite materials have been used extensively in the space shuttle, military defences, civil structures (such as bridges), and more recently, 50% of the construction of the 787 Dreamliner.

You can have peace of mind knowing that All Pumps pump stations are 100% FRP.

Contact your sales representative for more information.

Fibreglass Pump Stations


All Pumps Fibreglass Pump Stations & Emergency Storage tanks are manufactured as a one-piece construction to exact project specifications. Delivered to site as a complete unit with a simple installation process, All Pumps Fibreglass Pump Stations are engineered to withstand internal and external loadings across all ground conditions.

  • End-to-end control & delivery
  • Consultation
  • Design
  • Manufacture and delivery
  • Commissioning
  • After sales support

This enables you to deal with one supplier from concept to maintenance.

  • Design & Engineering ✔
  • Project Management ✔
  • Lifting & Excavation Briefs ✔
  • On-site Installation Training ✔
  • On-site Delivery ✔
  • Supervision ✔
  • Guaranteed Seal Integrity ✔
  • Full drawing services ✔
  • Fully qualified in-house mechanical & electrical team ✔
  • Complete Quality Assurance in-house ✔
  • On-site commissioning ✔
  • Operation & Maintenance Training ✔
  • After Sales Service & Warranty ✔



The design, construction and appropriateness of design methodology of all FRP structures is verified and within the bounds of AS2634:1983, BS4994 and ASME RTP-1. The general construction of the station is as follows:

  • Internal Corrosion Barrier Contact Moulded 0.5mm “C” Glass Veil Surface layer with Hetron 922 (or equivalent) Vinyl Ester Resin
  • Internal Corrosion Barrier Backing Layers 2.5mm ‘E’ Glass Chop Strand tie layer with Hetron 922 (or equivalent) Vinyl Ester Resin
  • Structural Laminate ‘E’ Glass reinforcement in chopped and continuous strands. Minimum glass content 50% (Thickness according to Design requirements)
  • Structural Stiffeners Polyurethane Foam rib former overlaid with ‘E’ Glass reinforcement in chopped and continuous strands. Minimum glass content 50% ( Size and Thickness according to Design requirements)
  • External Surface – Final Surface 0.5mm “C” Glass Veil Surface layer with Hetron 922 (or equivalent) Vinyl Ester Resin
  • External Surface – Sealer Pigmented ISO/NPG Flowcoat for external protection

Minimum Standards of Design and Construction shall be:

  • BS4994 – 1987 Design & Construction of vessels & tanks in reinforced plastics
  • AS2634 – 1983 Chemical Plant equipment in GRP
  • AS1546 – 1983 Underground Tank design
  • AS1770 – 1981 Loading Code

Material Properties
All material mechanical properties are in accordance with international standard BS4994 and are suitable for the intended design and anticipated service conditions.

All structures are Designed, Engineered and Verified.

All Pump stations have been individually engineered to handle the toughest environmental situations.

Proven in the toughest environments including installations in volcanic soils and high water tables.


Access Covers


Pipe Work & Valving


PS Series Pump Stations


PSV Series Pump Stations with Valve Pits


HPS Series Horizontal Pump Stations


PSVE Series Pumpstations with Valve pits and Emergency Storage


Submersible Pump Features


    • Premium efficiency motors in accordance with IEC 60034-30. Level IE3 with testing in accordance with IEC60034-2-1
    • Designed for Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) operation.
    • ATEX, FM and CSA certified motors available as option. Versatile types of sensors optional available, such as for thermal, moisture and vibration detection.
    • Significant carbon footprint reduction and increased lifetime by low winding temperature rise.

    • Minimum life 50,000 h for motors up to 9 kW and minimum 100,000 h for motors larger than 11 kW

    • This technology has been specialy engineered to handle tough requirements, such as reduced water consumption and higher rag and solid content
    • Highly reliable and efficient impeller design with single and multi-vane models to ensure exceptional blockage resistance, solid passage min. 75 mm and greater
    • Optimum balance of impeller vane numbers and solids handling, based on extensive Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) research and testing
    • Market leading efficiency, without compromising on solid size and rag handling.

    • Minimizes deflection at mechanical seal to < 0.05 mm/0.002 inches.
    • Increased safety against fatigue fractures.

    • Silicon carbide/silicon carbide (SiC/SiC) provides maximum resistance from abrasives.
    • Seal blockage prevention reduces operational costs.
    • SiC/SiC is chemically resistant in wastewater and most other industrial applications.

    • Reduces radial forces and shaft deflection.
    • Maximizes the life of bearings and shaft seals, thereby reducing lifecycle costs.

    • Significant energy savings throughout lifetime.
    • Blockage free operation.
    • Adjustment of the bottom plate restores pump efficiency.
    • Maintains efficient rag handling throughout its lifetime.

XRipper XRP


Inline Sewage Grinder

The XRipper XRP inline grinder is the ideal solution for your wastewater, sludge and sewage grinding needs. With a motor mounted above the XRipper grinding shafts, the required footprint is kept to a minimum and allows for simple installation even in narrow shafts.


  • Economical shredding of solid and disruptive matter such as wet wipes, wood, fabric, trash, and waste.
  • Efficient protection for pumps and system components from clogging, blockages, and damage.
  • Always ready for operation thanks to straightforward maintenance.
  • Added reliability thanks to cartridge mechanical seal technology.

Pumpstation Options

Access Covers

All Pumps standard access covers are manufactured from 6 mm checker plate using aluminium marine grade 5052 in H32 temper with triple grip finish with recessed hinges and lifting handles that are light to lift and cannot fall into the wet -well or valve pit.

Fall Protection Gates

Control Panels


Designed to comply with water authority & council requirements, All Pumps control systems are manufactured to AS3000 electrical specifications.

From small wall mounted units to purpose engineered & built freestanding units, we offer the ultimate solution for service, reliability & ease of operation.

  • Built to AS3000
  • Range of cabinet materials from powder coated aluminium to marine grade stainless steel.
  • Electrically factory tested.

Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) Appraisal


The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) accredits All Pumps Sales and Service for their FRP Sewage Pumping Stations and Emergency Storage Tanks.

All Pumps Sales and Service – FRP Sewage Pumping Stations and Emergency Storage Tanks

The WSAA National Product Appraisals program is a voluntary scheme introduced by the Water Services Association of Australia to provide a single coordinated appraisal of a product’s technical conformity to the needs of the urban water businesses. It was developed with industry assistance, and draws on the collective knowledge and experience of the urban water businesses and industry.

Our Projects

Case study #1

Rainwater Storage Project For Council TAFE – Delivered & Installed In 1 Day
Why waste space on your expensive property with an ugly above ground monstrosity when you can have a better solution that is out of sight? Enter the All Pumps’ Aquaflo modular underground storage system.

Case study #2

Custom-Built Frp (Fibre-Reinforced Plastic) Pump Station Built For A Customer’s Portable Building
The customer needed a custom-built FRP (Fibre-Reinforced Plastic) pump station for its sewage to fit under a portable building.

The pump station was fitted with two free standing Sabre sewage grinder pumps and it was also issued with a control panel to be mounted on the building.

Case study #3

Packaged Storm Water Pump Station For A Flood Mitigation Project
All Pumps Sales & Service have recently supplied a very unique custom designed Fibreglass (FRP) Packaged Storm Water Pump Station for a Flood Mitigation Project for a School in Far North Queensland.

Case study #4

Custom-Built Sewage Pump Station Installed At The Gold Coast
The contractor wanted a one piece “drop in” unit complying with Gold Coast City Council requirements.

This sewage pump station was 2.0 metres diameter x 7.0 metres deep fitted with 900 x 900 integral valve chamber, aluminium checker plate lids complete with safety grates, the customer also requested a sewage muncher on the pump inlet which was installed on guide rails – giving the vendor peace of mind that any foreign objects or debris entering the pit is chopped in pieces prior to entering the pumps.

About All Pumps

With over 40 years of experience, All Pumps Sales & Service has been dedicated to providing solutions in all fields of fluid handling. We have been customising pumps to the exact requirements of clients in the civil and building industries with a range of robust, reliable pumps and environmentally approved pollution control systems.

All Pumps is happy to take any inquiries, and is ready to help with your requirements today! Contact Us

Being one of the largest infrastructure building companies, our client requested us to assist on a Water Treatment Plant project in Southern NSW.

The project involved design and supply of a service water booster pump system and fire pump system. Both systems were required to be exposed to the weather at all times.

A look inside the system for the Water Treatment Plant

From left to right: Service Water Pump Package, Fire Water Pump Package

All Pumps provided a tailor-made solution for both pump systems. The service water booster pump system included five (5) Grundfos CRNE pumps working in parallel (4-duty & 1 standby) complete with control panel, 316SS pipework and an auto-backwash filter.

The entire system was packaged inside a custom built enclosure for the client to install on site. The fire water pump system included an electric fire pump system built to AS2941-2013 specifications with Hydromax centrifugal pump and WEG motor inside a custom built enclosure.

Contact your sales representative for more information.

Project Gallery

About Fire Pump Systems

Fire hydrant pump systems (also known as fire pumps, hydrant boosters, fire water pumps) are high pressure water pumps designed to increase the fire fighting capacity of a building by boosting the pressure in the hydrant service. Know more.

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Introducing the all new KPPS2000... By popular demand, the newest addition to Australia’s premier range of HDPE pump stations. The original & the best.

Our Kwikflo packaged pump stations are assembled at our Sydney manufacturing facility and designed to meet your specific application, for example sewage pump stations or stormwater pump systems.

Contact your sales representative for more information.

Kwikflo Models

Why do things crack? In a word: vibrations. Vibrations plus fatigue equal failure.


Author: Robert A. Leishear

Why do things crack? In a word: vibrations. Vibrations plus fatigue equal failure, where cyclic fatigue loading flexes parts or equipment back and forth until they crack. A major breakthrough in vibration theory is presented here, along with an vibration introduction and examples of pump damages.

Lord Rayleigh described vibrations in his “Theory of Sound”, which was published in the late 1800’s, but resonance has only recently been fully described. To do so, Newton’s differential equations of motion were solved by this author to establish new theory in a 2017 Pressure Vessel and Piping Conference paper (Shock Waves, Vibrations, and Resonance in Linearly Elastic Beams). In short, every structure or machine, and every component therein, vibrates at multiple frequencies, known as higher mode natural frequencies. These frequencies can now be graphically visualized. In particular, when motor speeds for a machine nearly equal any natural frequency, the vibrations are multiplied at that frequency to cause equipment damages.

Vibration Theory

The simplest example of vibration is a spring with a weight attached to it, where the spring has some damping. This spring-mass-damper system defines a single degree of freedom system, where this single vibration provides a simple description for real systems. A vibrating spring has a period that equals the time required to complete one vibration cycle; a frequency that equals the inverse of the period; an amplitude, or magnitude, of vibration; and a damping coefficient that controls the decrease in vibration magnitude to reach a constant equilibrium, or static, value that may or may not equal zero.


Vibration model of a weight dropped from a spring at rest

experimental-dynamic-stresses-due-to-a-traveling-pressure-wave-in-a-pipeExperimental Dynamic Stresses Due to a Traveling Pressure Wave in a Pipe

To better understand vibrations, consider the case of a constant force suddenly applied to a spring, i.e., a weight dropped from a spring at rest. To summarize this vibration performance, the dynamic load factor, or DLF, equals the maximum vibration amplitude (or stress) divided by the vibration amplitude (or stress) at the equilibrium or static condition. The DLF is reduced by damping, where common damping values in structures typically range between 1% and 2%, but may be as high as 10% or more. For suddenly applied loads in the absence of damping, the maximum DLF equals 2. The DLF may be further reduced due to the rate of loading or duration of loading. This application of DLF’s yields reasonable vibration approximations, when a load is applied perpendicular to a component surface. However, if that same load travels inside apipe, the DLF equals four (Leishear, 2013, Fluid Mechanics, Water Hammer, Dynamic Stresses, and Piping Design, ASME Press text book). The theory of DLF’s explained hundreds of thousands of piping failures (Water Main Failures – A Billion Dollar a year problem, Empowering Pumps). This very brief vibration introduction leads into a discussion of resonance.

Resonance Theory

When motor vibrations are applied to a pump, the pump reacts much differently than when subjected to a constant load. If the motor speed equals a natural frequency of that component, vibrations will significantly increase beyond expectations. In fact, vibrations would increase to infinity in the absence of damping, where damping reduces resonance effects to agree with observations. In short, maximum resonance occurs when the motor speed equals any one of the natural frequencies of components, where this phenomenon has finally been described after hundreds of years of vibration theory advances.

As examples, 1) structural vibrations of attached piping and equipment supports may vibrate at any one of their natural frequencies to crack that piping. 2) Vibration is a common failure cause for mechanical seals in pumps. 3) Damaged components like ball bearings vibrate at their natural frequencies, such that races, cages, and balls of that bearing each vibrate at their own frequencies – a very complex process.

New Theory: Resonance or Critical Speeds of a Motor Cycling a Pump Shaft or Beam

Vibration Velocity Acceptance Criteria

Vibration and Resonance Acceptance Criteria

For rotating equipment, a simple approach to assess vibration damage was presented in a 1950’s ASME Magazine article, and this approach is still used by many today. Measured vibrations are compared to acceptance limits for installed rotating equipment, such as fans, pumps, or compressors. Troubleshooting vibration problems requires that the vibration of the defective component be determined and corrected. Troubleshooting may sound simple, but a thorough knowledge of equipment construction, vibration principles, and equipment operations is essential to solve vibration failure problems. Prediction of specific rotating equipment vibration problems in advance is problematic, at best.

A Pump Motor Failure Example

For example, consider the failure of a ball bearing assembly in a 150 horsepower motor that operated a connected pump. The motor was reported to be noisier than usual, and could be heard at a distance of fifty feet from the motor. The ball bearings in the motor are constructed of inner and outer races that the balls roll between, and cages that separate the balls. The balls, cages, and races each have a specific frequency, and the ball spin frequency was displayed in the frequency spectrum since they were damaged. One of the bearings, the thrust bearing, was completely destroyed, and one of the races and several cages were broken. The other bearing vibrated at its ball spin frequencies, and the bearing that had not been destroyed. The vibrations were above 0.1 inch per second, and the bearings were in fact damaged. At the thrust bearing, the vibrations at the destroyed bearing location were lower than 0.1 inches per second. Since the thrust bearing was no longer in contact with the shaft, there were no associated vibrations. That is, the measured vibrations were not caused by the destroyed bearing assembly at all, but were measured from the bearing assembly that remained in service and was experiencing bearing vibration damages of its own. What about the noise levels? The vibrations of the bearing were inadequate to cause the low frequency rumbling sounds that were heard, where the vibration occurred at the frequencies of the grating on the steel mounting platform. In other words, the bearing vibration caused the platform to rattle the gratings enough to be heard fifty feet away. This resonance issue was far from obvious at the onset of troubleshooting, as with many complex vibration failures. The invention of new theory that is discussed here provides practicing engineers a new tool to better understand vibration failures.

Frequencies of Vibration for a Damaged Ball Bearing Assembly

ROBERT A. LEISHEAR, an ASME Fellow, is a consulting engineer for Leishear Engineering, LLC, and he has a Ph. D in Mechanical Engineering and a nearly completed Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering. Dr. Leishear has published nearly 70 publications on water hammer, vibrations, fluid mechanics, pumps, and explosions.