What is industrial pump?
Limitations of industrial pumps
Installation requirements of industrial pumps
Common problems of industrial pumps and their causes
Simple industrial pumps maintenance
WHAT IS INDUSTRIAL PUMP?
Industrial pumps are mechanical machines that are usually employed in industries for the purpose of moving fluid which can either be a liquid, a gas, or slurries. Some industrial pumps can be used for waste discharge a good example of such is the pump used in an oil rig for the purpose of circulation of drilling mud and removal of excavated sands. Many industries have their own category of a pump based on the purpose they are meant to serve.
Industrial pumps are similar to ordinary pumps used in households with the exception that they are usually gigantic and may have a little deviation in their design but scientifically, they follow the same working principle of ordinary pumps.
TYPES OF INDUSTRIAL PUMPS
As said earlier, many industries have their type of industrial pumps separate from others. For instance, a chemical industry producing soaps and detergents may be using a particular industrial pump to move the mixed contents of raw materials used in the making of their product, while a road construction industry may need a separate industrial pump to move mixed concrete or muddy water, etc. same goes for petroleum industry who may need special industrial pumps for transporting crude oil.
For these reasons, industrial pumps can be classified in terms of their function in the following way:
Industrial water pumps
Industrial mud pumps
Industrial concrete pumps
Industrials chemical pumps
Industrial gas/crude oil pumps
These pumps obtained their names based on the functions they usually perform in the industries. We need no further explanation for them.
LIMITATIONS OF INDUSTRIAL PUMPS
Just like every mechanical machine, industrial pumps have their limitations. If any industrial pump is to be used in any industry, the first the engineers look-out for is the specifications of the pump from the manufacturers. The reason is that when the pump is operated beyond their specifications, failure becomes inevitable. Industrial pumps have the following limitations:
- They do not operate beyond manufacturers specifications, and if they do; fault will usually develop later.
- They do not convey solid materials such as sand, stones, or woods, etc. irrespective of how small the sizes of these materials are, they cannot transport any of them.
- They usually operate with high speed and momentum, therefore, any lack of lubrication of their parts can result in failure.
- Though mechanical conversion of machines may be possible with other machines in the industry, the industrial pump cannot easily be converted to any other type of machine except the electric motor powering them which may be dismantled to power any other machine, if such need arise.
- They will always break down after long-time usage, therefore regular maintenance will always be required to make them last longer.
- It is recommended that a substantial concrete foundation is built before the pump is installed.
- The service of a millwright will be needed to ensure proper alignment of the pump on the foundation.
- The thickness of the foundation must be adequate for inherent stiffness, and the ground area sufficient to provide a stable footing.
- Foundation bolts are not required for pumps with discharge pressures less than 10 psi and column lengths greater than 50 feet when driven by a motor or steam turbine or through a right-angle gear unit. Pumps with column lengths of 50 feet or less, or discharge pressures of 10 psi or more, and all pumps which are belt-driven should be anchored by sleeve-type, or equivalent, foundation bolts.
- It is also recommended that a template be made for the purpose of locating the foundation bolts accurately.
- Attention must be paid to the concrete mixing ratio, the thickness of concrete, pouring and poking, drying interval and curing of the pump foundation.
COMMON PROBLEMS OF INDUSTRIAL PUMPS AND THEIR CAUSES
There are several problems which industrial pumps can develop, but we will be focusing on the common ones, which are listed and explained below;
The pump is ON but Unable to Pump Any Substance:
This is a common problem usually seen in industrial water pumps, industrial mud pumps, and industrial crude oil pumps. The major cause of this problem can be solid particles which have clogged the impellers of the pump thereby making it impossible for the impeller to rotate and move fluids. The solution will be dismantling and cleaning/removal of the material.
Hitting Sounds in the Impeller:
This problem will usually be seen when the pump has sucked some solid materials such as stones with liquids, the stones usually hit the pump impellers as they try to push it along with the liquid, and such problem is capable of damaging the pump impellers if occurred at a higher magnitude.
Unusual mechanical noise:
This is the type of sound usually heard while the pump is still running, the sound can be irritating to the ear, a loud whistling sound coming from unknown part of the pump. The problem can be coming from the pump bearings, it is a sign that shows the pump is carrying heavy load than it was meant to carry. An instance like that can occur when moving mud, and the pump happens to carry mud with a heavier thickness in the cause of its operation. The only solution is to add water to the pump line or switch-off the pump and mix more water to the mud.
The vibration of the pump while in operation:
This is a common problem in industrial pumps, and it comes as a result of weakness on the foundation, or misalignment of the pump due to its long-time use. A poorly developed foundation can cause vibrations when it eventually cracks due to the operations of the pump on it. Therefore, such problem can be addressed by looking into the foundation and its alignment with the pump.
SIMPLE INDUSTRIAL PUMPS MAINTENANCE:
As said earlier, every industrial machine needs maintenance, same goes for industrial pumps. They need routine maintenance due to the nature of work they usually perform. The following are some of the recommended maintenance that can be carry-out on industrial pumps:
Routine cleaning of impellers: for all the industrial pumps with centrifugal design, their impellers should be cleaned once every week, by disassembling the pump ‘part by part’ and clean other parts accordingly.
Adding of grease to bearings and other moving joints: when grease decreases in these parts, it causes a higher rate of wear and tear, thereby endangering the pump for failure. Adding of grease to the moving joints should be done daily or weekly depending on the type of pump and how regular it works.
Inlet ways must never lose its filter: the inlet or suction part of the pump line must have a filter always to reduce the risk of sucking solid or un-supposed material into the rotating parts of the pump.
Physical inspection must be carried-out regularly when the pump is in operation: when the pump is working, it is not advisable to leave the pump more than 2 hours without inspection. The pump should be inspected every one –hour of its function, by observing the change in sound, looking into the suction parts of the pump in case of blockage, and observing what the pump is discharging in its front-end.
If you have any further knowledge of industrial pumps, your opinion is highly welcomed.
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