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Do you Really Need to Replace your Pump?

When do you know it’s really time to replace your pump?  Only after analyzing the root of the problems you are having. Replacing a pump prematurely is costly and may not even fix your problem.  Read this customer’s example and then contact Edelmann for proper pump problem diagnosis and solutions.

A large pulp and paper processor was considering replacing their pumps to fix a challenge they were having.

Poor performance of two of their older, four-stage pumps were a recurring headache; rebuild expense, downtime and replacement parts being paid for every couple of months. It wasn’t supposed to be this way, and the customer knew it. These pumps should be running 24/7, 365, with only scheduled preventative maintenance occurring annually.

The Pump Problem

Two existing pumps had been dedicated to serving a high-pressure shower service, supporting their paper production line. Both pumps were constantly in use, so when one pump went down, the other would have to “pick up the slack” for both. Unfortunately, the system (designed as it was) could not sustain the overflow for more than a couple of days. Getting a downed pump running again required an expensive rebuild, and took two weeks.  When relying on only one pump, the paper machine clothing quickly got clogged by pitch, and would remain that way until the rebuilt pump was returned to the line. Worse, clogged pitch meant production quality declined and the paper product was unacceptable. This was a bad situation, and it appeared expensive to correct.

So, the customer asked Goulds for a quote on: two new pump casings (to retrofit to the old non-Goulds pumps), and, (the more likely purchase) 3 new Goulds pumps – to replace the existing two failing pumps.

In addition to providing the quote, Goulds offered to assess the situation, and offer up ideas. He met with the customer’s reliability engineer,  engineers, paper makers, and machine clothing suppliers.  The meetings uncovered the root causes of the customer’s problems, and yielded information that led to solutions.

Pump Operation Analysis

pump-impeller-flow-pressure
not actual analysis – this image courtesy of pumpfundamentals.com

Pump pressure was too high – 2x what it should be. At 800 PSI the existing pumps were wasting double the energy required, and damage was occurring: bearing failures, damaging mechanical seals, and ruining impellers.

Flow rate was insufficient. At 400 GPM for each pump, the flow rate was only half of what it should have been. Poor configuration was to blame.

Motors were poorly used & applied. To deliver the thrust required to drive 800 PSI for two pumps, two 400 horsepower motors were needed and constantly in use. When one pump went down, these motors became double-tasked to cover both pumps, and quickly failed to support demand.

After thorough review and discussion with everyone involved, ITT Goulds Pumps engineer had what he needed to outline the results of the old/existing pump configuration, and compare it to the new ITT Goulds Pumps solution he intended to present.

NEW Goulds Pumps Solution

  1. Existing pumps were sufficient. The customer had assumed that three new pumps were needed, and requested pricing for them. Based upon data analysis, he correctly concluded that the old configuration was to blame – not the pumps themselves. With simple adjustments, the existing pumps could remain in use.
  2. Only 1 pump was needed, with one backup. The customer had assumed that 2 pumps were required to provide the 800 GPM needed (400 each) – “plus” a spare, for a total of 3 pumps. Instead,  they reconfigured as recommended by ITT Goulds Pump, which made only 1 pump necessary to achieve 800 GPM – an existing pump – with the second existing pump now playing the role of a spare.
  3. Impeller Trim.  Trimming the impellers, from a 10.5” diameter to 9 3/8”, not only reduced the unnecessarily high pressure, it also doubled the flow rate, to an optimal 800 GPM per pump.

After implementing the ITT Goulds Pumps’ solution, the customer emailed the engineer, stating that not only had he saved $500K in new purchases, but by his own calculations he’d saved an additional $260K in annual labor & energy costs.

Lessons Learned.

Every problem can benefit from some expert perspective.  Challenge Edelmann, your ITT Goulds Pumps distributor to see what we can do for your operation.

Contact Edelmann for Expert Assistance