Preventive maintenance is a great step forward compared to emergency repairs. Urgent parts and process downtime are always a costly affair.
Regular opening of the pump is certainly a good practice, but ofter there are external signs of wear and tear of the pump. By looking at these signs and treat the issues with planned maintenance, it becomes possible to avoid suprise failures and avoid extra damage. Automation can be used in addition to visual inspection to send out warnings and alert you well ahead of a upcoming failure.
Excessive leakage at the gland
2. Increased power consumption
A lot of energy is put into a pump in order for it to move the slurry through a pipeline, and over time that adds up. When power consumption increases, it is an indication the pump is working harder to do the same job — or even worse, working harder and delivering less. The added energy cost does not help, but the loss in production can be extremely harmful to the bottom line.
A sudden change in power consumption, whether it is an increase or a decrease, should always be a warning sign that something is wrong. Monitoring a pump’s power usage and setting warning parameters are an important part of keeping a pump in good working order. The best way is to have an automatic trending system, but even just manually recording a data point can improve the situation. A structured monitoring program will put eyes on the equipment and can give an early warning.
If a piece of equipment does not have vibration, it generally means it is not operating. Some equipment (such as screens) has a high level of vibration. With a pump, high levels of vibration can be a sign of inefficiency or worn elements. Worn bearings, turbulent flow and inadequate foundations are only a few sources of pump vibration.
Pumps can be equipped with vibration monitors, which will track the progression of changes or spikes. Much like watching the power consumption, vibration levels will tell a story about the condition of the pump. Pump vibration monitors are often expensive, that's why it is interesting to take a closer look at the Intrax pump monitor. Even without automated monitors, a good operator paying attention will know something is different.
4. Pump performance
Monitoring a pump’s flow rate has multiple advantages in relation to how well a process is performing, but it can also give insight into wear components within the pump. A number of issues can reduce the flow rate (such as obstructions), but consistent and long-term decreasing in the flow rate will generally be a reflection of worn liners and impellers.
Every pump has a Best Efficiency Point (BEP) on its operation curve. Knowing where your pump is operating on the curve in comparison to the BEP can give you a heads-up to potential problems. When a pump slips in its performance, as shown by the flow rate, it moves away from its BEP and increases wear and tear on the pump.
Dependable flow meters can be a significant investment, but they can provide valuable insight for the process and pump’s condition.
5. Belt tension and allignment
The loud, squealing noise of loose belts is annoying, but the real harm comes from the heat generated that eventually causes the belts to fail. The slippage of a loose belt also causes a loss of energy transfer between the motor and the pump.
On the other hand, excessive tension or poor alignment will put a burden on the bearing assembly and the motor mount. Something is going to give, and it is usually the bearing assembly with increased wear. Excessive tension can also decrease efficiency.