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Creating Predictive and Preventive Maintenance Plans for Pumps


The efficiency of any equipment, such as a pump, depends upon its reliability to provide continuity in operations. The equipment's reliability is enhanced through maintenance, which can be either reactive or pro-active. Reactive maintenance can be erroneous as it deals with fixing problems after they have occurred, which may lead to emergency situations and exorbitant costs. The best strategy to use is pro-active maintenance, i.e. preventive maintenance, in tandem with predictive maintenance. The two, when implemented together, can extend a pump's life, cut costs, and effectively reduce failure.

What is Predictive Maintenance (PDM)?

Predictive Maintenance monitors the pump's condition over time, using selective readings and analyses in order to predict an impending problem and correct it before breakdown. PDM allows you time for preparations to conduct repairs.

What is Preventive Maintenance (PM)?

Preventive Maintenance consists of several procedures wherein appropriate actions are taken to prevent breakdown. Some of these actions include equipment calibration, lubrication, leak checks, oil change, and data analysis, as well as ensuring that pumps are properly aligned and balanced.

Both Predictive and Preventive Maintenance should be routinely scheduled to prevent issues from magnifying in the future.

Setting up a Predictive and Preventive Maintenance Plan for Pumps:

Pumps are a vital equipment in your facility. To keep pumps running, regular predictive and preventive maintenance has to be conducted. However, not all pumps are similar in their functions. Some pumps are critical to the entire facility's functioning, some are essential to a particular production line, while some are not linked to any core process. Each category requires different levels of maintenance efforts to ensure efficient pump operation.

Effective Maintenance Plans consist of several important elements, including:

1) Installation and Start-up:

Proper pump installation is the first step in ensuring its long-term survivability. It involves following careful handling during installation and start-up procedures. Check for proper alignment of the pump with the pipeline to avoid pressure and early wear and tear. Make sure that the in-line air filter is working so as to prevent debris from clogging the line. This will help elongate the life of your pump.

2) Regular Preventive Maintenance (PM):

Preventive Maintenance includes procedures like checking for bearing temperature, vibration, lubrication, etc. as well as quarterly conducts like analysis of equipment foundation (bolts), alignment, and oil change. It also includes replacement of parts that wear down – diaphragms, balls, valve seats, O-rings, etc.

3) Air Supply Considerations:

Pay attention to the quality of the compressed air that is supplied to the pump. The seals on the connections that go to and from the pump should be air tight. Dry and clean air should be used with the pump. Avoid contamination to prevent stalling of the process, and ensure that the air filters are working well to prevent debris from entering the line. The air pressure and volume should be within your pump’s operational limit.

4) Precision Builds:

This involves rebuilding a pump as close to regulations as possible, with strict attention to detail. This is a proven tactic that reduces failure. Before the procedure, ensure that the fluid and air lines are closed and the pumps are flushed and drained. Inspect for loose fittings which will help prevent leaks. Whether the rebuild is to be done after a repair, an equipment replacement, or even a total reconditioning, conducting a precision build will help prevent leaks, wear and tear, and breakdowns.

5) In-House Training and Outsourcing for Expertise:

Training is the most important part of a maintenance plan, which should be conducted for employees in contact with the pump's operation.

However, as some maintenance procedures require specific skills, it becomes essential for to work with external service providers that can conduct professional maintenance programs for the pumps.