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Home » Pump Maintenance » What is Condition Monitoring and Why it Matters to your Pump Systems?

What is Condition Monitoring and Why it Matters to your Pump Systems?

Posted: 20/02/2018
Category: Pump Maintenance

Pumps are one of the most critical elements of an industrial process. Be it sugar processing, paper manufacturing, chemical processing, power plants or wastewater management systems, the quality of your pumps determines the efficiency of the overall operation. You need to keep your pumps in top-shape if you want your productivity levels to be optimum. Downtime and costly repairs not only disrupt your workflow but reduce your output significantly. This is where predictive maintenance based on conditional monitoring comes into the picture. What is Condition Monitoring? Condition Monitoring or CM, in short, is the process of determining the condition of your pumps, while they are in operation. This helps in monitoring the working situation of your water pumps using techniques like vibration monitoring. This eliminates equipment failure and reduces downtime significantly, as you can take remedial action before a particular problem takes a toll on productivity. Let’s take a look at the, Six Main Benefits of Condition Monitoring

  1. Reduce Repair Costs– In traditional maintenance, you usually have to replace the entire equipment in case of failure. However, in condition monitoring, you replace the critical piece of equipment before it fails. This helps in reducing the repair costs by a considerable margin. Instead of replacing the entire equipment or machinery, you can just replace the worn out part.
  2. Reduce Labour Costs– During repairs and maintenance, the time taken for repair is significantly reduced. This is because you have to replace only the worn out parts and not the entire pump system. Additionally, the number of “Critical Callouts” and the frequency of repair are reduced as the condition of the pumps is monitored continuously. This reduces overall labour costs.
  3. Eliminate Downtime– In traditional maintenance methods, a critical pump failure can lead to unscheduled downtime, which will end up costing you thousands of dollars. With condition monitoring, you take proactive maintenance, which means you can schedule repairs during non-productive times, thereby eliminating downtime.
  4. Improve overall safety– With condition monitoring, you can fix potential problems before they become a significant safety issue. This ensures that your pump always operates in a safe environment, thereby boosting the overall safety of customers and employees.
  5. Streamline Employee Operation Times– By identifying the precise repairs to be done beforehand, employees need not spend valuable time, trying to figure out what’s wrong.
  6. Above all, Increase your overall Revenue– With reduced repair costs, quick repair times, and no downtimes, you can increase your total revenue by a huge margin.
Popular Monitoring Methods: The internal wear of centrifugal pumps varies based on several factors like frequency of usage, characteristics of the pumped liquid, type of pump and so on. While some pumps last for years, others fail after a few months. You can avoid these uncertainties with the help of condition monitoring. Some of the common pump condition monitoring methods includes:
  1. Vibration Monitoring and Analysis– This is one of the most widely used ways of condition monitoring. It helps to detect problems like misalignment, unbalance and looseness of parts.
  2. Sampling and Analysis of Lubricants– As the name suggests, in this method you analyze the used lubricants to determine the rate of deterioration and wear and tear. This is mostly used for identifying lubrication system faults and bearing issues.
  3. Electrical Plant Tests– This technique is used to monitor the condition of the motor.
  4. Non-destructive Testing and Visual Inspection– This is used to identify wear and tear in the external pump casing.
  5. Performance Monitoring and Analysis– This is used to detect any faults with a pump’s internal conditions.
Experts recommend using more than one method of condition monitoring. This is because different methods detect different issues. So, when you use more than one process, you can find all the problems of your pump systems. Let’s take a look at a few of these Condition Monitoring Methods in Detail
  1. Vibration Monitoring
It’s one of the most effective methods of condition monitoring. It uses vibration sensor measurements to identify problems. This helps to identify future pump failures before they become a major issue. It makes use of an advanced dynamic model of the pump to detect errors. This model varies depending on the pump model/type.
  1. Oil/Wear Analysis 
The goal of this method is to detect any changes in the oil deterioration levels of water pumps, to signal any imminent distress before it occurs.  When used with vibration monitoring, this method is an efficient way to monitor the condition of water pump bearings. Two Popular Methods of Oil Analysis includes:
  1. Spectrometric Oil Analysis (SOA) – Identifies excessive wear
  2. Magnetic Plug Analysis – Ideal for small to medium water pumps
  1. Performance Monitoring 
It’s the easiest and simplest way to do condition monitoring. It involves comparing critical variables with a baseline to identify any variations. Some of the key variables measured in this method include:
  • Pressure Ratios
  • Vibration in the pump
  • Flow
  • Power consumed
  • Bearing temperatures
Performance analysis helps in monitoring key component performances and in revealing gradual pump degradation. Successful Condition Monitoring Just because you employ condition monitoring, it doesn’t mean that all your pump issues disappear magically. The success of this preventive maintenance technique depends on the following:
  1. Knowing what to look for
  2. Using the right tools to interpret the gathered data
  3. And, processing the information in the right way
Final Thoughts One of the biggest benefits of condition monitoring is that you can repair problematic components before failure. This prevents a full-scale breakdown. Condition monitoring not only reduces the chances of catastrophic failures but also helps you plan in advance. This way you can schedule manpower to handle repairs during scheduled downtimes. If you need any further info on condition monitoring and how to implement it in your system, get in touch with our pump care experts. All you have to do is give us a call at 0120-417-6000 or drop a mail to Our experts get in touch with you and guide you through the entire process. Sintech is a leading pump manufacturer and maintenance expert in Asia. We provide customised pumps for a wide array of industries. Get in touch with us for all your pump requirements.

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