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Sponsored Article

Improve pump reliability to minimise environmental and business impacts

06 October 2015

Pumps begin to degrade the day they start up, and the challenge is to know when and how to intervene before they contribute to a critical plant shutdown or slowdown. New pump health monitoring solutions combine process and equipment data to drive higher reliability through a more holistic view of pump health.

Pumps are essential to the daily operation of industrial processes. They are the workhorses of the plant, and need constant maintenance to ensure the availability of the business. Pumps begin to degrade the day they start up, and the challenge is to know when and how to intervene before they contribute to a critical plant shutdown or slowdown, affecting the company's bottom line.

A typical pump failure can cost hundreds of thousands of euros and the bigger the incident, the more likely it is to draw media attention. This can negatively impact your public image and the value of your stock, as well as increase the possibility of fines and government involvement. Or worse yet, serious problems may affect the safety of plant personnel and nearby communities.

A few pumps deemed as critical to operation may have online condition-based monitoring in place. These systems minimise unnecessary maintenance common with preventive (time-based) maintenance, while avoiding catastrophic failures that can lead to expensive repairs, fires, and plant downtime. In a typical oil refinery, these may account for approximately 10% of pumps. That leaves about 90% of pumps subject to manual rounds of a technician to acquire data and assess pump condition, preventive maintenance tasks, or running-to-failure.

It is estimated that pumps account for 7% of the total maintenance cost of a plant or refinery, and pump failures are responsible for 0.2% of lost production. These avoidable costs could be significantly reduced if the unmonitored pumps had online condition monitoring. To decide where to begin applying online condition monitoring, look at those pumps that are at risk to cause process upsets and downtime, often taking hours or days to recover normal operations.

Historically, the expense of installing dedicated online monitoring systems or maintaining wired inputs, as well as overfilled cable trays and highly congested areas, has prevented online condition monitoring from being expanded beyond the most critical pumps. But with the relative ease of adding online pump condition monitoring with today's technology, targeted services now include any pumps that previously were not considered critical enough to have wired monitoring systems in place.

To download a white paper that describes innovative ways to improve pump reliability go to:

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