Pump Condition Monitoring. Necessary or Not?

Pump Condition Monitoring is necessary or not? Pumps are indispensable equipment of every industry. About a quarter of the industrial energy consumption is accredited to pumps. Condition monitoring helps to maintain the balance between energy consumed and production achieved.

According to Pump-guru Igor Karassik, timely overhauling of industrial pumps can prevent about 40% of catastrophic disasters in the industry. Condition monitoring is necessary for a pump to maintain its operating efficiency, which in the long-term reduces by 4% depending on its usage.

A recent research survey reveals that 18% of the failures in the cement industry, and 12% breakdowns in the sugar industry which are due to pump failures can be prevented by substantially implementing condition monitoring. On average, one out of every 1,000 pumps with a failed mechanical seal leads to a fire. The breakdown of a single tube or pump in a chemical plant can cost up to USD 1M per day.

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What is Pump Condition Monitoring?

Condition Monitoring of pump is an effective process of collecting data from the pump, analyzing it and detecting abnormality in its operations, which may subsequently result in pump-failure. Generally, 10-20% of the pumps in any plant are critical and need condition monitoring.

Condition Monitoring not only gives an overall picture of the health of the pump but also provides insights into its parts and how their condition is affecting others. A perfectly-aligned and streamlined pump use less energy and less maintenance cost. For a pump, condition monitoring relates to the monitoring of impeller, pump casing, bearing, shaft, and mechanical seals. A pump is monitored for triaxial vibrations, temperature, and acoustics at real-time, and the captured data is trended using Fast Fourier Transform. Any discrepancy in the trend alerts and notifies the maintenance team on their mobiles or any web server.

Further, this data and information are available to the plant authorities for retention and access. Such a Condition Monitoring system can potentially answer why pumps are about to fail, when, and where. The companies have the flexibility to plan, schedule maintenance, and avoid costly downtimes. Thus, condition monitoring increases pump availability throughout the process life cycle.

Vibration analysis is the flagship of all pump performance monitoring programs. The vibration level of a pump is directly related to where it is operating and what is it carrying. Simple and easy to understand vibration data allows any operator to monitor pump operations without specialized training.

For example, when forces inside the pump become imbalanced, the parts of the pump deflect and wear out. This imbalance can be due to high flow rate or low flow rate. A low flow rate causes the fluid to recirculate in the pump, causing low cavitation of the impeller, consequently resulting in shaft deflection indicated by a rise in vibrations. Improper flow of fluids resulting in vibrational surges. Cavitation results in inefficiency in pumping operations along with slight additional noise signals.

Wireless condition monitoring systems can be installed within a minute and provide a fully integrated solution. This enables managers to go online using their mobiles or any web-browser applications, at any time to inspect pump readings, providing a cost‐effective solution to maintaining uptime of the pumps.

A pump condition monitoring program focuses on evaluating its efficiency and performance. The efficiency of a pump reduces if it is not in continuous use or if the pump rotates in reverse direction due to faulty electrical installation. Oversized pumps used in process plants or improperly sized pumps also contribute to lowering the efficiency. Tracking the performance of a pump is essential as it affects the operation of associated steam turbines, heat exchangers, mechanical control linkages, etc.

Predictive maintenance is part of condition-based monitoring. 90% wear out, and damage can be predicted at the early stages. Small faults can be methodically detected, which in the absence of vibration monitoring cannot be noticed. The unbalance of pump predicted by condition monitoring can save 2% of the maintenance cost. Also, a loss of 5% of the production time can be avoided due to pump misalignment reported in advance with the trend analysis. Along with reassuring safety at workplace, condition monitoring also provides a feeling of contentment for the maintenance team as the production quality is maintained, and the feedback is instantly obtained.

Infinite Uptime’s Industrial Data Enabler (IDE) is a global Predictive Maintenance Solution Provider. With its edge-computing technology and portable condition monitoring tool, it can potentially ensure the maximum uptime of the pump and thus transform any traditional manufacturing unit into SMART factory.

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