It is important to frequently monitor the operation of pumping systems; however, the initial manufacturing of a pump, as well as its installation, are as important, explains South African pumps industry body the South African Pump Manufacturers’ Association (Sapma).
The association points out that one of the key factors in obtaining a reliable pumps installation is the foundation. A properly and well-installed machine can provide years of free-trouble operation, whereas an insufficient job can create costly maintenance and lead to unnecessary repairs. Sapma, federated to the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa, provides training courses in pumps that are designed to benefit the industry and increase the standard of pumps manufactured in South Africa.
Maintenance, repair and failure elimination helps keep pump systems operating efficiently and economically, says Sapma, whose primary objectives include ensuring efficiency in pumps manufactured and looking after the interests of pumps manufacturing companies in South Africa.
“For instance, between 40% and 70% of pumps issues are attributed to bearing failure. Early diagnosis of potential problems by pre-empting unexpected repairs and unplanned downtime can help save hefty amounts of money. By detecting, analysing and evaluating key equipment performance, the life cycle of a pump can be stretched,” notes the association.
“The rising cost of energy, government levies imposed on carbon dioxide production and the expense of service outages mean that, in most instances, capital cost is barely 10% of the total life cycle spend, highlights centrifugal pumps manufacturer and pumping solutions engineer SPP Pumps in its ‘Quality Water Management Starts with Quality Pumps’ report.
Further, a pump’s best efficiency point (BEP) should closely match the flow-rate duty of application, as operating a pump beyond its BEP will increase loads, wear, vibration, energy use and the risk of damage by cavitation.
Therefore, pump and pump system assessments that determine the actual installed pump operating regime are essential to enhance energy use. Computerised fluid dynamics analysis, surge analysis, sump analysis, piping analysis and natural frequency analysis can also be used to improve performance and reliability.
The association points out that pumping systems are part of South Africa’s most vital infrastructures, as such, the manufacturing and design of pump systems should account for the entire life cycle approach of pumps as that guarantees better performance and better efficiency.
Sapma adds that faulty installations, poor pumps and system matching or changing operating parameters after commissioning can all lead to premature problems and potentially costly failure or downtime.