Downtime is the worst enemy of any pump operator. It means lost production time and money. It happens when pump components fail or when some other system problem causes a shutdown. Cavitation, overheating, loss of flow pressure, and other performance issues generally can be traced to a mechanical malfunction. In some cases, the entire pump system is configured incorrectly for the specific fluid processing application. This can lead to costly shutdowns.
Good Downtime vs. Bad Downtime
When an unexpected failure happens with pump equipment, the system generally must be shut off for inspection and troubleshooting. Then repairs and maintenance need to be performed to resolve the problem before the system can be restarted.
Some downtime is necessary, especially when it is part of a scheduled maintenance plan. A seasoned operator knows when seals, valves, impellers, and bearings need to be replaced or when a pump motor is due for servicing. Connection points should be inspected periodically, and operating conditions can be tested to ensure optimized performance standards. These are the processes required for a superior pump equipment maintenance plan.
Developing an Effective Pump Maintenance Plan
If you plan your downtime and execute the necessary tasks properly, you will worry much less about the unanticipated equipment failures. Productive downtime leads to minimal downtime with a better maintenance plan. Think about how much time, money, and headaches you can save if you are only shutting your pump system down for scheduled maintenance tasks!
Here are a few pump maintenance tips to achieve this objective:
Develop a Plan
It starts with having a thorough and consistent maintenance plan. You should know when certain parts need to be replaced based on operator experience, pump manufacturer recommendations, and key performance indicators. You can create a more reliable maintenance schedule to perform the necessary tasks in a timely manner. This preventative maintenance approach usually proves beneficial.
Have Parts Ready
Extended downtime often happens because operators don’t have replacement parts readily available. This leaves them scrambling to find new parts and, in many cases, paying extra for rush delivery. Keep certain commonly replaced pump components (seals, bearings, valves, impellers, etc.) on hand to avoid this concern.
Staff who operate a pump and perform maintenance procedures should be properly trained. This assists in troubleshooting problems if something unexpected happens, and it should make the overall maintenance processes more efficient.
Data-driven technology can be a major asset when it comes to pump maintenance. Use monitoring systems and specialized sensors to detect inconsistencies and abnormalities in the pump system. Real-time data can be collected and analyzed to determine when potential problems may arise. Then you will know when to replace parts and perform maintenance before any major failures emerge.
Expect the Unexpected
The steps above should minimize the risk of equipment failures and unplanned downtime. However, surprises can always happen. You can’t predict everything, but you can prepare for these situations. Effective training and troubleshooting processes make a difference, along with having spare parts on hand to minimize downtime when unforeseen problems occur.
Your Pump Partner
These are a few tips to develop a better pump maintenance plan and reduce the risk of catastrophic failures. Minimize your downtime with quality preventative maintenance. For all your pump management needs, contact DXP Pacific today.