Many pump breakdowns are due to simple, needless failures, like the loss of clamp load which can cause misalignment and bearing failure. Reliable pump installation and basic maintenance can prevent similar avoidable failures from happening. When it comes to the reliability of its pumps, no industry or operation can afford to ignore the basics of pump installation.
Correct and complete installation practices can mean the difference between a pump that gives many years of trouble-free service and one that requires constant and repetitive maintenance. Most of the information herein refers to the single-stage, end-suction design.
Three particular areas must be satisfied to ensure that a pump will provide long and reliable operation within a system.
- Piping arrangement
In general, a pump should be mounted on a strong base plate supported by a strong concrete foundation. It is also necessary to properly connect the pump to the system by accurately aligning it to the piping system, as well as the driving motor.
A strong foundation and grouting can result in a unit that gives reliable, uninterrupted service versus one that requires constant realignment. It should be everyone’s concern that only the best materials—together with proper design—be used when installing the pump.
Without any doubt, this is the single most abused area of pump installation. In fact, it can be stated unequivocally that most pumps are piped up incorrectly.
The industry has progressed well beyond any discussion of the statement that good alignment is essential to safe and trouble-free operation of rotating equipment. When we discuss “alignment” in the pump industry, we are usually discussing either “piping alignment” or “shaft alignment.” It must be noted that the term “coupling alignment” is a misnomer.
Improper pump installation can lead to premature failure and increased maintenance costs. Conversely, when they are correctly installed and given reasonable care and maintenance, your pumps will be capable of operating satisfactorily—and delivering for you—for a long time.