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Pump Maintenance – Why, When and How

Pumps are essential to industrial plant operations. Any downtime of a pump typically results in severe negative impacts on the business and a considerable cost.

Barrel pumps are made of a pump and a motor (either electrically or air operated). Importantly, both units are universally interchangeable, allowing Flux barrel operators to use a drive motor that suits their needs and operator requirements.

Factories and industrial plants depend on their machinery and equipment running reliably and effectively. Pumps face this same demands. The breakdown and subsequent downtime of a pump such a drum pump come with huge implications for the cost of repairs and the loss of output fronts. It is, therefore, essential to ensure your pump maintenance is part and parcel of plant operations to negate the occurrence of downtimes.

Maintenance is classified into two categories: preventive and corrective maintenance. Corrective maintenance is the type of maintenance carried out to repair and correct any pump failures that have occurred. This type of maintenance is scheduled as soon as a pump failure arises and undertaken promptly and as efficiently as possible to bring the pump back online and efficiently running again. The main goal of corrective maintenance is to cause as little downtime as possible.

As you can appreciate, taking a corrective approach to pump repair has its issues and problems. Corrective maintenance is characterised with carrying out repairs once they arise rather than being proactive to prevent the break downs from happening in the first place. Avoiding downtimes occasioned by unforeseen problems with a pump, factories and manufacturing plants must have a preventive maintenance schedule in place.

This should include periodically checking the pump and its performance, inspecting parts for tear and wear, and lubricating the joints and bearings. For the best outcome, the preventive inspections ought to be done regularly, thereby allowing proper maintenance before any problem occurs and the plant grinds to a halt.

Design a Pump Maintenance Schedule

A golden tip is to inspect the pumps daily visually. A daily visual inspection forms the basis for preventing pump breakdowns and troubleshooting. Some of the things you need to be mindful of while inspecting your pump include:

  • Discoloration
  • Leaks
  • Corrosion
  • Clogging
  • Unusual noise
  • Wear/evidence of rubbing
  • Overheating

You do not need regular checks for other intricate checks. As such, you can plan the preventive inspections and schedule the maintenance as required. Scheduling when you should conduct preventive inspection and maintenance, the process becomes efficient and smoother. It reduces the chances of unexpected failures from occurring and the resulting downtime. Preventive maintenance also reduces the cost of ownership due to lower costs occasioned by parts replacement. For instance, maintaining parts is much cheaper than replacing parts.

An excellent example of periodic pump maintenance schedule includes:

Daily – Frequency 1 10 to 15 Minutes

  • Check the bearing temperature
  • Listen for bearing noise and cavitation
  • Check the motor voltage and current

    Weekly – Frequency 120 to 30 Minutes

  • Check the suction and discharge pressures
  • Check the presence of noise and vibration
  • Check the seals for any leakageMonthly – Frequency 120 to 30 Minutes
  • Inspect the coupling alignment
  • Refill the lubrication oil if necessary
  • Uninstall the safety guards and Inspect the shaft and auxiliary devicesAnnually – Frequency 2 2-3 Hours
  • For spare pump, run the pump to ensure it works and its maintainability
  • Inspect the motor shaft axial movement
  • Uninstall coupling halves and inspect the rubber parts for wear and tear

2 Years or 10000 Hours – Frequency 2 6-8 Hours

  • Dismantle the entire pump from the piping and disassemble
  • Inspect the following parts, renew if necessary:
  • -Shaft
    – O-rings
    – Impellers
    – Wear rings/Wear plates
  • Apply a coating on all un-machined surfaces

For efficient preventive maintenance, you should stock pump spare parts. It reduces the downtime experienced during parts replacement.

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