Saving money by maximizing pump lifespans
Preventive maintenance is a key component in maximizing the lifespan of an engine-powered portable pump, as well as providing cost savings, better profitability, increased pump availability, improved productivity, and decreased repair costs....
June 1, 2011 | By Thompson Pump, Port Orange, FL.
Preventive maintenance is a key component in maximizing the lifespan of an engine-powered portable pump, as well as providing cost savings, better profitability, increased pump availability, improved productivity, and decreased repair costs. That’s why it makes sense for pump owners and users to implement a comprehensive service and maintenance program.
Effective service and maintenance keeps equipment working at peak efficiency, so it should not be viewed as a strain on income. The key to a good service and maintenance program is preventive maintenance. This includes adjusting and tuning up equipment and detecting and correcting small problems before they become major problems.
Scheduled preventive maintenance is typically viewed as oil, fuel and air filter changes every 200 to 250 operating hours, as recommended by the manufacturer. While this is necessary, it also provides an excellent opportunity to perform a general machine audit that includes inspection of all wear components and making replacements or adjustments as needed.
Good equipment maintenance requires that everyone share the responsibility. Field operators and mechanics must make sure the equipment is operated properly and that required maintenance intervals are performed. Supervisors must ensure that the proper maintenance schedule and procedures are completed by the mechanics. Finally, the purchasing or parts department must procure the necessary parts, in advance, to avoid delays and downtime.
Having a manufacturer’s trained service technician perform these tasks may increase the initial cost of the service when compared to using on-staff personnel. However, a trained technician will do the job correctly and also identify components that are susceptible to failure, which avoids downtime and damage to other parts. This will reduce repair costs throughout the life of the equipment and result in savings amounting to much more than the initial cost of a service call.
General pump maintenance
During a visual inspection of an engine-powered portable pump, all areas of material buildup should be noted and removed after the unit is shut down. Remove dust, especially around the alternator, radiator and control panel. Dust can create waterways and channels affecting electronic and non-electronic components. An air hose is the most effective tool to remove dust buildup.
Often in the aggregates market, the substance being pumped has varying pH levels. These high and/or low pH levels can cause extra wear on a pump. Thus, some manufacturers offer pumps with special materials such as bronze or stainless steel, or with special coatings. Hardened impellers, wear plates and volute rings can also lengthen life pump. For pit dewatering, always be sure to use a strainer. This keeps unwanted foreign materials out of the pump.
Items to monitor
To perform general maintenance properly, it is important to pay close attention to the pump while it is running. The following are items to monitor: heat, pressure, vibration, noise, flow, speed, strain, liquid level, power consumption, product contamination, leakage and emissions.
Serious items to watch for, cavitation and water hammer, are two occurrences seen frequently in the aggregates market. To prevent cavitation, run the pump at the proper speed or provide a larger suction hose to handle the fluid. Water hammer, which is a spike in discharge pressure and often the cause of blown seals, can be prevented by starting the pump and slowly throttling up to recommended max speed. Multiple check valves in the discharge line can also provide relief to water hammer. MRO