Like many important parts of industry that are out of sight, it is easy to also let them be out of mind. In other words, when a piece of machinery is reliable and doing its job month after month, it is easy to forget about the importance of regularly checking that equipment and machine. It is a simple fact of life that all machines, even high-quality pumps from vendors such as National Pump Company, require regular checks and preventative maintenance.
In fact, many sophisticated industrial installations and applications are constructed with certain foundational assumptions about pump capacity and functioning. Without proper monitoring and maintenance many pumps will continue to operate, but at reduced capacities and pumping rates. Whether a pump breaks down at the worst possible time or simply continues to operate at an inefficient level, the costs can be significant.
On the other hand, selecting the right pumps and setting up the right PM program will help avoid those costs and avoid most unexpected downtime situations. Even if a pump must be taken off line for maintenance, that event can be scheduled to coincide with other operational maintenance and minimize the impact and inconvenience.
Another important reason for regular monitoring of pumps is the nature of their operation. Pumps and their capacities are calculated on a theoretical installation. Each actual field installation is different and encounters different environmental factors. Therefore, the actual performance of any individual pump or total pumping system can only be determined after installation and after a period of operation under different loads.
Evaluating the performance of pumps against specs and requirements allows the operator to make the fine adjustments necessary to keep pumps at or near the target efficiency point. Achieving this objective brings a number of savings, including:
• Lowered operating costs
• Longer life cycles
• Fewer unplanned breakdowns
Just as it is important to keep any automobile tuned to achieve the best gas mileage and longest time of use, any pump installation needs its own monitoring and tuning. Checking pumps and their systems for such things as pressure, flow, temperature and vibration variances is increasingly affordable with modern monitoring devices. This simple discipline will show a high ROI for any pumping installation.