Industry News

Avoid Lubrication Maintenance Mistakes

Problems cause wear and damage, create friction and heat, and can lead to costly repairs.

by Matthew McCormack


Avoid Lubrication Maintenance Mistakes

Avoid Lubrication Maintenance Mistakes

Proper lubrication of rolling bearings in rotating machinery—pump systems included—is essential in realizing optimized performance and reliability. Whether grease or oil, lubricants serve to prevent wear and damage between a bearing’s rolling and sliding contact surfaces, reduce friction and heat generation, help protect against corrosion, and help keep out contaminants.

The right lubricant for an application should always be supplied in the right quantity at the right time. This may seem intuitive, but adhering consistently to this practice can be challenging, especially when bearings are lubricated manually.

Many manual-lubrication technologies—some quite advanced and user-friendly—have been developed to aid the process. But what if lubrication points are difficult to access? What if too much or too little lubricant is dispensed? What if the number of points requiring lubrication is especially high? Typically, there can be upwards of 7,500 individual lubrication points at a paper mill, 4,000 for a steel mill, 3,500 for a refinery, and 2,000 for a cement mill—all requiring service and vigilance over time.

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Tips for Choosing Reliable Chopper Pumps

High-velocity mixing nozzles can add oomph for difficult processing areas.

by Derek Vaughan 

Whether caused by “flushable” wipes, foreign objects in the effluent stream or floating grease mats, wastewater treatment plant operators experience costly and disruptive clogs to pumps, pipes and other systems.

“It’s a huge problem—an absolutely horrible problem,” said Frank Stuemke, of the Minnesota Rural Water Association, in a Minneapolis Star Tribune story on flushable wipes.

In fast-growing Tacoma, Washington, (population 208,000) the city’s wastewater treatment utility spends approximately $250,000 annually unclogging pipes and de-ragging pumps, reports the Tacoma News Tribune. In addition to wipes, flushed objects have included dentures, clothing and even a 3-inch hard-plastic Elmo character child’s toy that jammed a pump.

While part of the solution is educating people to not flush problematic items, education only goes so far, especially when compliance is less than 100 percent and other problems like greasy, floating mats also disrupt plant operations.

To keep wastewater flowing freely and reduce maintenance costs, more municipalities are installing chopper pumps as standard equipment in their wastewater systems.

Tips for Choosing Reliable Chopper Pumps

Advances in Chopper Pump Technology

Reliable chopper pumps have been available for more than 50 years.

These centrifugal pumps chop incoming solids prior to pumping to protect the pump from clogging, and in turn benefit downstream components, processes and the environment.

Pump Capabilities

High-performance chopper pumps can process virtually any heavy-duty solid that finds its way into the sewage stream—from wipes to rags, and even bulky items like nylon rope, garbage bags and plastic bottles.

Depending on the specific pump, chopper pump performance includes the ability to:

  • accommodate flows that are greater than 13,000 gallons per minute (gpm)
  • integrate with discharge sizes up to 16 inches
  • handle dry suction lifts that are up to 22 feet
  • achieve hydraulic efficiencies greater than 75 percent

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Overcoming Common System Optimization Hurdles

Discover which systems need work and how to justify expenses.

by William Livoti

The term system optimization is widely known, but how many people truly understand what it means? Total system efficiency has been a real challenge for the industrial sector to embrace.

Lack of Standards Hinders Configuration

Except for a few standards for package boilers, there are no system standards. What does this mean, and how does this impact your plant bottom line? Anyone can design, configure and specify a pumping system, but no one can say it is incorrect without a system standard (ASME, ISO, ANSI, HI). In my 45+ years in the pump industry, I can count on one hand the number of pump systems that were properly configured.

Given the focus on energy efficiency and sustainable growth in today’s industry, system optimization should be addressed in every pump system specification in some way, shape or form. The Hydraulic Institute defines system
optimization as:

The process of identifying, understanding and cost effectively eliminating unnecessary losses while reducing energy consumption and improving reliability in pumping systems, which while meeting process requirements, minimizes the cost of ownership over the economic life of the pumping systems.

Overcoming Common System Optimization Hurdles

Figure 1. The motor and pump react to system requirements and operate on system resistance. (Graphics courtesy of the author)

Why Focus on Pumping Systems?

A pumping system’s efficiency is highly influenced by the system it is supplying; therefore improving pump or motor efficiency will do little to reduce pump energy use. The focus must be on the entire system because the motor and pump react to the system (see Figure 1).

The motor has a wide operating range maintaining high efficiency to as little as 50 percent load. The pump has a rather narrow operating range (depending on specific speed) and will lose efficiency quickly.

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Is a Slower Pump a Better Pump?

by Jim Elsey

For the purpose of this article, I will limit the discussion to an end suction, single stage, centrifugal pump with ball bearings and oil lubrication. Further, we’ll consider the difference between 1,800 and 3,600 rpm units. (Variable speed will be considered in a future article.)

I will initiate the subject by stating there is no 100 percent correct answer 100 percent of the time. As an experienced pump person, my main goal in any installation has always been to design for maximum reliability. This myopic focus is admittedly my own paradigm based on conservative engineering training, my naval submarine service, decades as a provider of pumps, acquired pump knowledge, and mentoring to power plants and refineries.

Is a Slower Pump a Better Pump?

Benefits of a Slower Speed Pump

It is an industry accepted principle, supported by several studies, that pump wear is at least directly proportional to pump speed. A common quantitative formula is that pump wear is proportional to the cube of the pump speed, which simply translates to a factor of eight. The higher the percentage of solids in the pumped fluid, the more this axiom is true. An oversimplification, perhaps, but it is unequivocally the reason why slurry pumps are big and slow in lieu of small and fast.

Two of the biggest destroyers of Centrifugal pumps are bearing and mechanical seal failure. Many of these failures can be attributed to the phenomena of shaft deflection. In this case, shaft deflection is created by unbalanced hydraulic radial forces on the impeller as a result of operating the pump away from its best efficiency point (BEP). Deflections are simply a shaft bending that occurs twice per one revolution. At 3,600 rpm a shaft will deflect 7,200 times a minute, while the 1,800 rpm shaft will deflect only 3,600 times per minute. An operating pump shaft can also exhibit a phenomena called “whip,” which manifests as another sort of deflection, but the root cause in this instance is impeller imbalance. As a side note, understand that broken pump shafts are commonly due to cyclic stress.

In the case of shaft deflection, the shaft is not permanently bent, but it does deflect in dynamic operation. If you were to disassemble the pump and check the static shaft, it would measure as straight. These deleterious deflections are assuredly the principle reason for most mechanical seal failures. And while contaminated lubrication contributes more to bearing failure than shaft deflection, the deflections do bring undesired forces and fatigue to the bearings. In the formula for calculating the expected life span of ball bearings, the operating speed is a main factor. Bearing life expectation L-10 is inversely proportional to speed.

One of the more common reasons for using lower speed pumps is the net positive suction head required (NPSHR) factor. An 1,800 rpm pump will require substantially less NPSH for the same hydraulic conditions as the 3,600 rpm machine. Normally the requirement will approach half of the high speed pump value and often more. The higher the NPSH margin (available NPSH as compared to required NPSH), the better the pump reliability will be. Inadequate NPSH leads to cavitation, which creates impeller erosion (imbalance), hydraulic pulsations and mechanical vibrations.

Pump noise will be substantially less on lower speed pumps. Published noise levels are based on log scales, and the major contributor in most cases is the motor, not the pump (mostly due to the cooling fan). Actual noise levels in the field will be different than published data due to in situ geometries and unique ambient conditions. This is based on a properly selected pump operating within 25 percent of BEP.

As pump casing sizes get bigger in diameter, most manufacturers incorporate a dual volute design somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 to 14 inches. The dual volute design significantly reduces radial thrust. While a dual volute pump costs more to manufacture, the consequential reduction in radial thrust will contribute greatly to reliability.

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Choosing Pumps that Comply with FDA FSMA Standards

Regulations in the U.S. Food & Beverage Industry

Industrial Pumps for U.S. Food & Beverage Industry

On January 4, 2011, President Barack Obama signed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), a reform designed to encourage proactive prevention rather than reactive response to food contamination. While there are many companies within the mature air operated double diaphragm (AODD) market, very few offer product lines that conform to the strict regulatory guidelines of the FDA. To manufacture pumps used in this industry, companies must devote the necessary resources to education as well as research and development. This process starts in the engineering department where the correct materials are specified and dimensional drawings are created. Quality assurance evaluates the parts, ensuring correct surface finish, dimensions and materials requirements have been implemented. The FDA does not certify pumping equipment. In the case of AODD pumps, materials and processes that comply with FDA standards include:

  • Water chambers, manifolds and outer diaphragm places are made from CF8M (Cast 316) stainless steel that has been electropolished per ASTM B912.
  • Valve seats are made from 316 stainless steel, virgin PTFE, Hytrel 4069 or Santoprene 273-40.
  • Valve seat O-rings are made from virgin PTFE.
  • Diaphragms and balls are made from virgin PTFE, Hytrel 4069 or Santoprene 273-40.
  • Center sections, air chambers and air valves are made from nickel plated aluminum or polypropylene.

AODD pumps do not face the issue of alignment or close tolerances other technologies require to perform efficiently. This can allow quick disassembly for disinfection and ease of maintenance. Recently, diaphragm assemblies were created that use an outer plate molded into the diaphragm, eliminating leak paths and simplifying sanitation. By removing the outer plate, it created a part that can be installed without tools or torque specifications.

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Industrial Pump Suppliers & Distributors Santa Barbara County

Industrial Pump Suppliers & Distributors Santa Barbara County | Pump Engineering

Pump Engineering is the premier supplier and distributor of industrial pumps in Santa Barbara County and the surroundings. Contact us today to request a quote.

Pump Engineering has a built a strong reputation as the best suppliers and distributors of high quality pumps, pump products, parts, and accessories. Not only do we supply best quality pumps and pumping solutions in Santa Barbara, we also offer service and support for OEM pumps and more.

High Quality Pumps

With extensive experience and technical know-how in the industry, Pump Engineering is committed to supplying our customers with quality and reliable pumps to meet their specific needs.

We understand that sourcing an industrial pump requires expert knowledge considering that there is a huge range of pump types, performance specifications and brands available in the market. Our wealth of experience in the field enables us to provide you with the perfect solution for all your industrial pump requirements so you can have a stress-free pump sourcing experience.

Pumps variety

We offer a vast range of pump and pumping solutions to clients in Santa Barbara. Pump Engineering is your premier supplier and distributor of pumps, parts, components, and accessories. We specialize in all pump products of top brands in the country such as:

  • Pumps & Fluid Handling Systems
  • Pump OEM & Non-OEM Parts
  • Pump & Fluid Handling Accessories
  • Industrial Pump Fabrication and more
  • Excellent customer service

Pump Engineering is committed to achieving excellence by meeting the needs, desires, and expectations of our clients at all times. We are constantly improving our product offerings by taking into consideration our customer’s concerns to ensure we eliminate errors and maintain on-time delivery.

Request a Quote

Contact our Santa Barbara County office online or call us at 800.560.7867 to request a quote for your industrial pumps requirements today. We’re always excited to hear from you.

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Predicting Pump Failure Before it Happens

Somewhere in North America today, a pump that is responsible for delivering residential drinking water through a municipal pipeline will stop working. Whatever the cause, the result will be largely the same: water supplies will be diverted, lives will be disrupted, and emergency repair funds will be spent.

The good news is that events like these may not be typical for much longer.

Predicting Pump Failure

Thanks to a precipitous drop in monitoring technology costs and powerful new predictive analytics, it is now far easier—and less expensive—than ever to avoid pipeline, pumping and other system failures. And municipal water systems are the tip of the iceberg of beneficiaries. New stand-alone predictive maintenance solutions can be integrated into new and existing applications across a wide range of industries.

From Preventive to Predictive Industrial Pump Maintenance

Thanks to real-time asset condition monitoring, the ultimate benefit of these solutions is their ability to move organizations from a preventive maintenance model to a predictive approach.

Instead of following a predetermined schedule for maintenance and repairs, organizations that use these solutions can focus instead on the actual issues that are currently or might soon be affecting system performance. A sensor that picks up on changes in vibration, for example, might lead a maintenance team to maintain a motor bearing in lieu of performing general maintenance on a rigid schedule, producing substantial cost savings in the process.

All this information can be accessed from a browser-enabled computer or mobile device at a fraction of the cost of just a few years ago. Sensors and microchips that once cost more than $500 are now available for $25 or less. The cost to transmit and store data in the cloud has also been slashed by as much as 95 percent opening the door to new ways of doing business.

Even so, an organization is wise to develop a monitoring and analytics strategy before jumping in head-first. Rather than monitor everything, it may make better economic sense to deploy these technologies strategically on mission-critical systems with the greatest value or on those that pose the greatest risk.

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Common Pumping Mistakes

Why does a pump’s hydraulic performance differ from its published curve?

This is one of the most common questions about pump performance.

The answer to the question is often simple but can be difficult to sort out given the myriad possible causes. I offer the following discussion points as a guideline.

Common Pumping Mistakes

Check the Pump

First, check for the simple things, such as a restricted suction line, and make sure the pump is primed and not air bound. Remember, you cannot vent a running pump. The lighter air will stay in the middle of the casing and the heavier fluid will move to the outside. Does the pump have the correct rotation direction? Depending on the specific speed of the impeller, a pump running backwards will deliver about half the flow and head.

Air entrainment, even at just two to four percent, will air bind a standard pump. Ascertain adequate submergence (distance from liquid surface to intake centerline) to prevent vortexing (vortices lead to air binding) and a sufficient net positive suction head available (NPSHa) margin.

ANSI Pumps

In the case of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) pumps, check to see that the pump impeller clearance is properly set. Note one style of ANSI pump sets the impeller clearance to the stuffing box, while the other style sets to the casing. The pump may simply be worn out and the clearances have opened up, which will manifest as if the pump has a smaller impeller. The volute cutwater (aka “tongue”) will wear, resulting in reduced efficiency, and move the published best efficiency point (BEP) to the right on the curve. The cutwater is a pump flow regulation point and works in concert to match the volute flow to the impeller flow.

Suction Lift Pumps

In the case of a suction lift (where the fluid source is below the impeller centerline) check for air leaks into the suction system. Remember, the fluid will not leak out, but air will leak in. In a perfect scenario, the maximum suction lift at sea level is less than 34 feet. In the real world with friction and vapor pressure, it is less. Problems are more likely at higher altitudes above sea level, with warmer fluids and with vertical lifts approaching 30 feet. Practical lifts are usually under 26 feet.

When troubleshooting malfunctioning pumps, I often find the wrong impeller has been installed during maintenance, or the correct impeller is installed at the wrong diameter.

Centrifugal Pumps

A centrifugal pump is “dumb” and will operate where the system curve dictates. If a pump is not operating where it should, review the validity of the system curve. The system curve is an absolute summation of the system’s static head, pressure head, velocity head and friction head. The geometry of the system curve is directly related to the flow rate, pipe size, elevation changes and losses due to friction of all the components in the system. Note the system curve is dynamic and will change with tank elevation and system pressure changes. It will also change with valve position, system age, fouling and corrosion. Reliance on a system print to determine the system curve can also lead to errors. It is best to actually walk the system and see what is really there. I often find unauthorized piping branches, valves and elbows.

Manufacturer’s Pump Performance Curve

When a pump is operated at either end of its curve, there are issues like cavitation, separation and recirculation. A manufacturer’s pump performance curve is based on pumping water at ambient temperature (usually around 68 F), a specific gravity of 1.0, a viscosity of less than 30 centipoise (cP) and the assumption that the fluid is not a slurry. When pumping a fluid other than water, the curve may need to be adjusted/corrected for viscosity. The horsepower requirements (power consumption) will be different for different specific gravities.

Sometimes overlooked, the manufacturer’s curve is typically based on a stated speed, and the actual speed in the field is different. This speed differential will happen with induction motors that are not fully loaded or properly specified, since the motor speed will typically increase at lower loads. Speed differentials can also occur due to voltage variations. Look at the motor nameplate or contact the manufacturer for full load speed and the expected percent of slip. The advent of variable speed drives over the last two decades has made the speed difference issues more prevalent. Even 30 to 50 rpm will make a difference in the pump performance.

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Now Offering: Mission Magnum Pumps & Parts

We are the leading mission centrifugal pumps and parts distributors with vast experience and expertise in the sale, service and repair of centrifugal pumps. We provide a series of interchangeable Mission Magnum pump parts that provides a guaranteed unified quality. We offer and distribute casings (nuts, gaskets and studs), impellers, mechanical seal pumps and more.

Mission Magnum Pumps and Parts

The Magnum is designed with an open impeller containing wide-tipped vanes and a tangentially circular suction that allows the pump to produce smother flow pattern when managing abrasive fluids. The pump comes in aluminum bronze, stainless steel, hard iron, and MagnaChrome fluid ends. Due to their economical structure, Mission Magnum pumps can be unitized with diesel engines, electric motors, and all forms of hydraulic motors configurations.

Mission Magnum Centrifugal Pump

Shown is Magnum Centrifugal Pump

Benefits of Magnum Centrifugal Pumps

Magnum centrifugal pumps are equipped with wonderful features that provide invaluable benefits to the drilling industry. They include:

  • Receded casing casket for protection
  • Versatile stuffing box
  • No-adjustment mechanical seal with long-life that allows near zero leakage
  • Back vanes for a reduced collection at stuffing box
  • One piece casting box
  • Shaft sleeve that is replaceable
  • Stronger and thicker concentric casings
  • Duplex angular contact bearings
  • Front access drain that is easily accessible
  • Roller bearings of single rows for increased bearing life
  • Full pipe diameter for maximum efficiency and minimum turbulence

Contact us today for all your magnum centrifugal pumps and parts needs.

Have a Question?

Our pump engineering experts have been in the industry for awhile and will gladly assist you with any questions, concerns, or inquiries you may have regarding the pumps & pump parts we distribute @ 800.560.7867.

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Motor Control Centers Enhance Smart Pumping Systems

These advanced components connect with a networked automation system and provide more control and safety for protecting pump systems.

Modern motor control technologies have surfaced that address evolving smart pumping system requirements. They protect pumping systems by simultaneously providing a new level of diagnostics, energy awareness and control, as well as by enhancing operator safety.

smart pumping systems

System management has moved away from the equipment itself and into the control room. The components in motor control centers (MCC) offer advanced protection, efficiency and information, so that operators can provide more effective predictive maintenance.

Among the variety of solutions essential to the distribution of power, low-voltage MCCs are unique because they can be used for power distribution, as well as for the control and protection of motors. MCCs are traditionally the most effective way to group motor control, associated control, distribution and industrial communications equipment.

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