Published August 27, 2021 | 4 minute read
Published August 27, 2021 | 4 minute read
Pump maintenance is the standard process of keeping your pumps operating at peak efficiency. This generally involves periodic checks of the pump’s performance, inspection of wearing parts, checking alignment, lubrication of bearings and joints, and more, to ensure everything is functioning properly.
Identifying an issue early is one of the best methods of troubleshooting and preventing pump system failure down the line. Plant personnel should be familiar with the normal operating characteristics of a pump – flow rate, pressure, temperature, power required, as well as how the pump sounds and feels. This familiarity will enable them to detect abnormal operating conditions for investigation and correction.
Reactive maintenance is implemented to repair or address an issue or failure that has already occurred, with the goal of getting the pump back in working order again with minimal impact on operations. The corrective maintenance procedures for a given pump may be found in the pump’s maintenance manual; but depending solely on this method can be a costly gambit, as it is often much more difficult and expensive to repair or replace broken equipment after the fact.
Preventive maintenance is designed to avert pump failures and issues to keep your pump in optimal working condition. When utilized correctly, it can extend the life of your pumps, maintain functionality, and enhance reliability and performance over time.
Perhaps the most efficient and cost effective classification of maintenance, however, is predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance is meant to help diagnose the condition of your industrial pumps in order to determine when maintenance should be performed. The predictive method involves routinely inspecting equipment using tools including infrared and ultrasound technology to anticipate where possible instances of wear and tear may occur, deter unexpected breakdowns and reduce the amount of time required for scheduled maintenance.
You should set a regular maintenance schedule based on the types of pumps you have in your plant, based on the manufacturer’s guidelines provided in the pump IOM, as well as generally accepted industry best practices.
The first step is to familiarize yourself with what pumps you have in use, then determine the frequency and process necessary to effectively maintain them. How often should you schedule maintenance? Will your pump have to be deenergized or disconnected? What is the proper way to conduct maintenance on a specific pump? In all cases, always remember to follow your plant’s Log Out Tag Out (LOTO) procedures to ensure safety of plant personnel.
Maintenance for centrifugal pumps should be done on a regular schedule, which generally includes routine, three-month, and annual inspections.
For routine inspections, you’re checking for leaks, unusual noises or vibrations, oil level and condition, suction and discharge pressures, flow rate, and temperature, at a minimum.
After commissioning a newly installed pump, the oil should be changed after the first 100 hours of operation. While it’s commonly recommended that you change a pump’s oil every 6-12 months, you should consult your pump IOM for the manufacturer’s recommendation as well as consider environmental factors where the pump is installed – extreme temperatures, the presence of dirt or high humidity can all impact your pump’s maintenance requirements. You may consider performing oil analysis in order to precisely gauge the condition of a pump’s oil before changing it.
You should check the temperature of the pump casing, bearing housing, mechanical seal, and motor. Vibration readings should also be measured and trended, along with flow rate and suction and discharge pressure. You should immediately investigate any deviations from normal in order to prevent damage.
Performing a three-month inspection involves ensuring the foundation and hold-down bolts are tight, the mechanical seal is working properly, the oil is in good condition for continued use or else changing it, and the pump and driver shafts remain in alignment.
Annual inspections consist of examining the pump capacity, pressure, and power. If you identify any issues in your pump’s performance, you may need to do a more involved inspection — possibly requiring disassembling and replacing any worn or damaged parts.
Loss of efficiency in open impeller pumps is a common sign that the impeller clearance should be checked and adjusted. Consult your pump IOM for detailed instructions.
Throughout, you should also perform daily visual inspections to identify any easily observable issues or irregularities, such as leaking, unusual noises, excessive vibrations, corrosion, overheating, or clogging. Also be sure to check the pressure gauges, capacity level, and power consumption during daily operations to make sure everything is working properly.
Implementing a scheduled or routine maintenance program for all your pump equipment will help keep them running more efficiently—not only maximizing a pump’s lifespan, but saving you money with increased availability, improved productivity, and reduced repair costs.
The right maintenance provider will be experienced, reliable, trustworthy, and deliver high-quality services when you need it most. This is where Sunair Co. comes in.
Our experienced team of specialists provide expert repairs, upgrades, and installations 24/7/365 and professional maintenance services for centrifugal pumps, positive displacement pumps, vacuum pumps, and more to help keep your operations running smoothly.