5 Failures in Pumps And Their Solutions
When it comes to pump failure, it usually requires a skilled pump operator to point out the source of the problem and troubleshoot it. Needless to say, it is not something that every person can do (unless the signs are quite clear like leaking). That’s why here we are going to discuss the most common pump failures, why and how do they happen, and the mitigation methods that you can use.
Process-Related Pump Failures
These failures occur when a pump is inadequately chosen for a particular process, be it an industrial setting or an operational environment. The selection of the appropriate pump tailored to the specific requirements of a given application is extremely important in avoiding these issues. Therefore, meticulous consideration of the pump’s compatibility with the unique demands of the process is essential for preventing operational inefficiencies and potential breakdowns.
For instance, you’ll have to conduct a thorough analysis of the application, taking into account factors such as fluid properties, flow rates, pressure requirements, and temperature conditions. This ensures the selection of a pump that aligns seamlessly with the operational demands.
Leaking Mechanical Seal
The occurrence of a leaking mechanical seal stands out as one of the most common issues in pumps, often observed during the initial stages of pump operation (can happen right after the installation process is completed or shortly after a few hours of continuous use. Typically observed at the interface between the two seal faces, instances of leakages extending from the secondary sealing area are not unheard of.
Numerous factors contribute to the challenge of mechanical seal leakage, with prominent culprits including scenarios such as dry thermal distortion, dry running, and misalignment of seal rings. Also, the integrity of the mechanical seal may also be compromised due to a cracked seal face. This can occur during the transit of a newly acquired pump to the end-user or as a consequence of improper seal installation. It is noteworthy that while many seal faces are crafted from materials such as carbon or ceramic, not all adhere to this standard.
Worn Out Bearings
As the pump continuously works through time, its moving parts gradually wear out, requiring timely replacement for smooth operation. Neglecting this routine maintenance, as prescribed by the pump manufacturer, sets the stage for eventual pump failure. A frequent culprit in these scenarios is the wear and tear of bearings, a common cause behind numerous pump breakdowns.
However, the good news is that bearing failure is not an inevitable fate. Proper lubrication emerges as a preventive measure, countering the detrimental effects of inadequate lubrication, a leading cause of bearing breakdowns.
Overheating stands out as a prevalent factor contributing to pump failures, making it imperative to understand and address the root causes associated with this issue. Incorrect installation of pump, inadequate lubrication of ball bearings, and obstructions in the form of foreign objects hindering the cooling fins are among the diverse factors that can tip the scales towards overheating.
Proper pump installation practices play a pivotal role in mitigating overheating risks. Ensuring that the pump is installed correctly, considering factors like alignment and ventilation, is a fundamental step in preventing excessive heat buildup. Additionally, the implementation of a robust lubrication regimen serves as a protective shield against overheating, preserving the integrity and functionality of the pump over time.
Impellers, vital components in pumps, face potential failure due to various factors, with erosion ranking as a primary concern. This wear and tear occur when suspended particles in the pumped fluid gradually erode the impeller surface. Corrosion poses another threat, arising from chemical reactions between the pumped fluid and the metallic components of the pump.
Additionally, cavitation, a phenomenon where vapor bubbles form due to a drop in pump pressure, can lead to impeller failure. Understanding and mitigating these factors through proper material selection, maintenance, and pressure control are essential to ensuring impellers operate effectively and sustainably over time.
Prevent Pump Failure With Condition Monitoring System
It is important to understand that preventing pump failure goes beyond mere part replacement. After all, a sustainable solution for pump failure needs to identify and address underlying issues. This is where condition monitoring systems works wonders.
Condition monitoring system is a proactive approach that tracks a pump’s operation through signals like vibrations, temperature, and noise. Vibration analysis is a key technique, revealing irregularities that hint at misalignments or impending failures. Temperature monitoring detects overheating, while noise analysis unveils potential cavitation or impeller issues.
Employing these condition monitoring system techniques allows for predictive maintenance, enabling timely intervention before a pump failure occurs. By investing in a comprehensive condition monitoring system, industries can optimize pump performance, reduce downtime, and enhance overall operational reliability, thereby fostering a more sustainable and cost-effective maintenance strategy.