1992 - Volume #16, Issue #3, Page #07[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Rotating Intake Screens Never Plug UpAny farmer or rancher who draws water out of a river or stream will be able to relate to the problem Paul Searle had pumping irrigation water out of a canal that flows through his farm.
The problem was that trash and debris floating in the canal would plug up intake screens leading to his pump. He finally came up with innovative self-cleaning intake screens powered by the flow of water in the canal.
Searle, who farms near Shelley, Idaho, used shafts and sprockets from an old potato harvester and two 50-gal. drums to make the water wheel and intake screens. The only non-salvaged part was the screening used over the drums.
He cut large holes in the sides of the drums and mounted them on bearinged shafts. They're positioned over intake pipes leading to a large irrigation pump.
Above the barrels a series of sprockets, pulleys and driveshafts leads to the water wheel which he made out of steel tubing and sheet metal. The flow of water drives a long rubber belt that wraps around both screened barrels, slowly rotating them to wash away debris as it accumulates on the screens.
"It turns them fast enough to keep them free from debris. They never plug up," says Searle, adding that similar units are made commercially but they use a small electric motor to turn the screens. "They cost about $700 plus the power to run them."
Contact: FARMS HOW Followup, Paul Searle, 465 E1200 N. Shelley, Idaho 83274 (ph 208 357-3949).
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