Pumps play a crucial role in several industries like food processing, chemical manufacturing, paper making, wastewater treatment, metallurgy, sugar, steel, mining, industries, and more. When the pumps fail to work correctly, it causes a delay in the project schedule – leading to costly errors, repairs, and even failure of the entire project at times.
Simply put, industrial pumps make all the difference between a successful, on-time project and a delayed project. With so much at stake, it’s essential that all industrial plant operators and site maintenance engineers recognize and detect the most common causes of pump failure, and troubleshoot problems before it becomes a major issue.
Irrespective of the type of pump failure, it’s essential to analyze the job site and try to figure out the problems with the pump system. A thorough examination of the pump will reveal the problems helping to put the project back on track.
What to look for while evaluating pump troubles?
As a pump maintenance engineer, you have to start by disassembling the pump for a closer inspection. This will give you a clear idea of the installation, the amount of head and flow, the piping, and more. If all this sounds technical, worry not, here, in this guide, we help you identify the main issues with your pumps so that you can put it back on track.
First things first,
You have to select the Right Pump based on your Usage Requirements
It all starts with choosing the right pump. The right pump not only improves the efficiency of your system but also reduces overhead costs and other problems down the line.
You’ve probably heard the saying that less is more. Well, that’s not always true. When it comes to selecting a pump, more information is always better. Several variables play a direct role in how long a pump will last and how it’ll operate for years down the line. If you aren’t sure about how to select the right pump, make sure to get in touch with our knowledgeable pump experts here at Sintech. We can help you choose the right pump based on your specific industrial requirements.
We’ve put together a list of seven things you should know when selecting a pump to help guide you through the process.
1.The Properties of the Displaced Liquid
Start by asking yourself this question – what is the type of liquid that the pump will be displacing. Here are the liquid properties that you have to consider while selecting the right pump: • The temperature of the displaced liquid • Viscosity • Quantity of solids present in the liquid • Specific gravity • Abrasive or non-abrasive? • Sensitivity • And vapour pressure
2. Construction Materials
The next factor to consider is the material of the pump. Is it compatible with the displaced liquid and other liquids that the pump is likely to come into contact with? Make use of available chemical compatibility charts to help you identify the most appropriate materials for the construction of the pump.
3. The pump’s role in Plant Operation
In some industries, pumps play a crucial role in plant operation. In such cases, pump downtime is NOT an option. In this case, you need to choose pumps with special features and on-the-spot repair facilities. On the other hand, if pumps do not play a critical role in plant operation, you can opt for less expensive pumps that can be dismantled for troubleshooting.
4. Pump Inlet
Never let a pump starve as this is one of the main reasons for pump seizures. Always use the NPSH (Net Positive Suction Head) to determine the inlet pressure. Make sure that NPSHA values exceed the NPSH value.
5. Pump Environment
You need to pay special consideration to the location of the pump in the facility. If it is installed outside, then you need to look for special pumps that can work well in extreme temperatures – hot and cold. Additionally, if the environment is hazardous and toxic, then you need to look for special enclosures to protect the delicate parts of the pump. These are a few of the several environmental conditions that you have to consider while selecting pumps for your facility.
6. Power Source
Before you choose a pump, you have to ensure that the pump’s power requirements are available nearby.
7. Finally, the Flow Rate and Pressure
The total volume of liquid to be displaced and the time available determines the flow rate. Pump differential pressures are calculated using pipe size (fittings and length), system equipment, static lifts, and friction losses. These are the seven main factors that you have to consider while choosing a pump for your plant. By understanding these seven factors, you get a better knowledge of the overall system, helping you troubleshoot pump troubles before it becomes a major problem. Now that you understand the seven major factors that influence pump performance, let’s take a look at the major reasons for pump failures and figure out the reasons behind these issues.
1. Delivery Failure
Your pump is not able to provide the required output pressure. Here’s what to do: Check if: • Pump is Primed properly • Pump is moving at sufficient speed • Pump has air leakages • Pump shaft is aligned in the right direction • Pump’s suction does not exceed the permissible limits • The screw, gear, impeller and other liquid driving parts are not damaged or broken • Temperature of the displace liquid is not too high
2. Priming Failure
Most pumps require priming for starting the operation. If your pump is not able to prime properly, here’s what to do: • Check for leakages in pump joints or gland joints • Check for air leakages in the pump system
3. Trouble with Building the Right Pressure
If your pump is not able to generate the right pressure, it will cause problems in smooth flow of the displaced liquid. Here’s what to do: • Check if the pump is primed properly • Check if the internal moving parts like the screws, impellers, etc. are not damaged • Check if the pump rings are not worn out • Check if any air cocks have been left open • Check the pump operation speed (avoid operating at too high or too low speeds) • Check for cavitations and other mechanical defects
4. Excessive Vibrations
If you notice excessive vibrations while operating your pump, here’s what you should do: • Check if the pump’s foundation is loose • Check for proper alignments, impeller balances, worn bearings and bend shafts
5. Reduced Capacity of Pump Operation
Sometimes, when you operate your pump continuously, it could lead to a drastic reduction in the capacity. Here’s what you can do to bring back pump operation capacity to the mark: • Check for air leakages and obstruction in the suction outlets • Check if the pump temperature is too high • Check if the pump relief valve has been set to a low value • Check whether the pump’s dynamic head is larger than the standard rate
6. Overload of the Motor
This is one of the most common pump problems. Here’s what to look for if your pump motor is overloaded: • Check if pump operation speed is too high • Check whether the quantity of the liquid being pumped is high • Check if the pump valves are in closed position • Look for any obstructions in the rotary parts of the pump
7. Loss of Displaced Liquid
If the pump loses liquid volume during running or starting, here’s what to check for: • Check for any leakages in the suction line • Check the temperature of the displaced liquid • Check if the suction lift is adequate Hope this guide serves as a starting point helping you troubleshoot all your pump troubles and extend pump life. For any further queries, reach out to our pump experts here at Sintech, India’s leading supplier of industrial pumps.