Canada’s Thordon Bearings is playing a vital role in providing water to arid regions, with the installation of axial shaft seals and filtration systems to the world’s largest irrigation project in south central India.

The Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS) in Telangana, India, has been constructed in a region characterized by water scarcity, aiming to efficiently utilise available water resources for agriculture.

As the world’s largest multi-stage lift irrigation project, it runs for about 500km (310 miles) through 13 districts and is connected to a 1770km (1100 mile) canal network incorporating 20 reservoirs and extensive underground tunnels. It features some of the largest water pumps ever built.

A crucial component of the large pumps used in projects like this is the shaft seal, which prevents water leakage from lift pump shafts and flooding of the plant. The Francis-type inward-flow turbine pumps at Kaleshwaram work using a combination of radial and axial flow, requiring a reliable and robust seal design.

Thordon and its authorized distributor in India, Soneji Engineering Pvt. Ltd (SEPL), won a tender to supply 24 large diameter axial shaft seal assemblies, along with a water filtration system, for the project’s turbine pumps. The Thordon SXL Segmented Shaft Seal assembly was chosen for the project based on the product’s superior sealing capabilities, wear life, and extensive use across multiple markets.

The agreement was for the supply of all components, said Axel Swanson, Business Development Manager, Hydro & Industrial, Thordon Bearings. “This includes complete assembly, testing, installation, and commissioning on site.”

Thordon designed the seal assembly and supplied its proprietary SXL material, to SEPL, which was responsible for manufacturing all other components, as well as testing, installation, and commissioning on site. The work undertaken by SEPL was commissioned by Federally/Centre-owned heavy equipment manufacturer, Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL).

By December 2023, SEPL had supplied all 24 Thordon seals to BHEL, eight of which have been installed and one of which has been successfully commissioned and tested.

“This is a significant milestone for the project, and we are proud of our team’s efforts,” said Jaideep Singh, Head of Department – Hydro, Soneji Engineering. “This gigantic feat of engineering could not have been achieved without the close working relationship between Thordon and Soneji Engineering.

“BHEL chose Thordon’s pump seals because they are manufactured from robust materials proven to withstand the difficult operating environments encountered in these applications. As Thordon’s Indian distributor, we were able to offer the complete package: seal, assembly and water filtration system. This is a strong selling point for customers that want a single point of contact for their sealing solution.”

The Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project is a multi-purpose irrigation project on the Godavari River in Kaleshwaram, Bhupalpally, Telangana, India. Its farthest upstream influence is at the confluence of the Pranhita and Godavari rivers.

The Pranahita River is itself a confluence of various smaller tributaries including the Wardha, Painganga, and Wainganga rivers, which combine to form the seventh-largest drainage basin on the subcontinent, with an estimated annual discharge of more than 7,930 cubic hectometres (1.9 cubic miles).

SXL Axial shaft seal assemblies installed at the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme

About Thordon Bearings

Thordon Bearings designs and manufactures a complete range of journal bearing and seal systems for marine, clean power generation, pump, and other industrial markets. The bearing systems are manufactured using Thordon proprietary non-metallic polymer materials that are lubricated with water eliminating oil or grease usage, meaning ZERO risk of oil pollution to our rivers, lakes and oceans and elimination of lubricant costs.  Thordon systems and bearings are available worldwide through over 70 agents and distributors.