Pump Monitoring

How to Rectify Any Pump Inefficiency Before It Becomes a Problem

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To achieve cost benefits in continuous operation, the relevant parameters must be collected and analyzed via the monitoring system, says Joachim Bund, Sales Manager Process Industry & Downstream at Lewa. The expert explains: “With our early fault detection system, we analyze essentially the parameters of structure-borne noise, pressure and temperature. There are two versions of the system available: A cost-effective traffic light system, Lewa CMS, for the operator to see at a glance the state of their pump. The real-time indication of the cause makes it easier for the operator to perform an analysis and take appropriate further measures. In a further expansion stage, the data is fed into an application-specific analysis system. Another option is that Lewa experts access the pump via data line and consultation with the customer.”

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While the relevant parameters are currently captured through mechanically installed sensors, Bund expects that in the future these sensors will already be integrated in the pump in the course of the implementation of Industry 4.0.

Leak-free, But Not Maintenance-free

If used properly, hermetic centrifugal pumps with split tube motor are hydro dynamically (radial) and hydraulically (axial) balanced and thus wear-free. However, axial thrust balancing is affected by the pump’s operation mode, conditions in the plant and various physical properties of the conveyed medium. A rotor-position monitoring is advised to ensure timely recognition of possible sources of faults.

Dr. Andreas Wolf describes the solution by Hermetic: “Our early fault detection system, MAP, inductively measures the axial displacement of the motor shaft.” If the system is calibrated for the relevant application, this gives the operator decisive parameters that allow avoiding serious damage to the pump in a timely manner. To put it another way: If our pump runs optimally at the operating point, there is zero wear and tear.” Operators in the chemical industry use this early fault detection system for about ten percent of installed Hermetic pumps. Usually, these are operators of critical production processes.

Of course, faults can’t be wholly ruled out even with magnetic drive pumps, as Carsten Holldack, Sales Director Pumps Europe at Richter Chemie-Technik explains: “Our early fault detection system is based on the contactless measurement of temperature, rotation speed and torque, integrated in the can — based on these data, we compute the performance and know the pump's position in its characteristic map. Today, we equip about five percent of our heavy duty pumps of the MNK series with such a system, and that percentage is rapidly increasing. While operators initially used the early fault detection system mainly with continuous processes, we now observe also its application in batch processes, because of the improved operating comfort. Acceptance in the market is continuously growing.”

Cost-effective Solution for Non-critical Processes

Sensors to monitor temperatures, pressures, structure-borne sound and the position of the shaft bearings: These offer the best possible protection against unplanned extraction downtimes for particularly expensive pumps, or in cases where the production process must not under any circumstances be interrupted.

For less critical operations, particularly centrifugal pump manufacturers have found a much cheaper way to monitor their pumps with the energy efficiency parameter. It is little surprising that industry 4.0 is already included in early fault detection concepts.

* The author works as freelance journalist for PROCESS.

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