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Pump Maintenance
26 Okt 2020
Pump Maintenance

Everyone agrees that reactive maintenance is probably the worst pump reliability strategy. Maintaining equipment only after it breaks can mean unexpected downtime, emergencies, rush charges, overtime, and replacement of expensive parts.

The best pump reliability strategy is not either preventive or predictive maintenance, it’s a combination of the two, strategically applied.

Many operators rely heavily on “reactive” maintenance rather than preventing and planning for future repairs.

Preventive and predictive maintenance programs extend the overall life of the equipment and result in fewer unplanned breakdowns. The choice is not one or the other, it’s a combination of the two.

Not all pumps are equally important in a manufacturing process, so not all pumps should receive the same maintenance plan. It wouldn’t make sense to spend time and money on vibration analysis for a pump in a non-essential application.

Before creating a maintenance plan, put the pumps into categories. This will help determine how much time and money to invest in each one. Use these categories to get started:

  • Critical - Put a pump in this category if:
    • It is Catastrophic for the facility or process if this pump goes down
    • The effects of failure could be dangerous or even deadly
    • A violation of governmental regulations could result
    • There is no backup
  • Essential - If this pump goes down:
    • Production may cease on this line
    • Parts for this pump may be unavailable or have a long lead time
  • Non-Essential
    • A backup pump exists
    • The pump is operating in a non-essential application

Regularly maintaining pumps will extend the life of your pump. When a pump is properly maintained, the parts that need replacing are usually the less expensive wear parts.



Preventive maintenance is any variety of scheduled maintenance to a pump or other piece of equipment. Generally, it includes scheduled routine maintenance, such as equipment calibration, greasing, oil change, and analysis.

One of the biggest ways to prevent failures is to make sure your equipment is properly aligned and balanced. Misalignment and pump unbalance are the two most common reliability problems for rotating equipment. Up to 50% of damage to rotating machinery is directly related to misalignment. Misalignment can cause increased vibration, premature seal and bearing failure, and increased power consumption. An unbalanced pump causes similar issues, such as vibration, which can be easily avoided with the right preventative maintenance measures.

A preventive maintenance for pumps usually includes the following:

  • Check the bearing temperature, lubricant level, and vibration
  • Mechanical seals to show no sign of leakage, packing to leak at the rate of 40-60 drops/min
  • Overall vibration – visual, sound, touch analysis
  • Discharge pressure – check to ensure gauges are reading at acceptable levels

On a quarterly basis, check the following items:

  • Equipment foundation – check anchor bolts for tightness
  • For oil or grease-lubricated equipment, change the oil or re-grease every three months or 2,000 operating hours, whichever comes first
  • Check shaft alignment – believe it or not, shaft alignment can change! Thermal growth and machine movement due to load shifts can cause pumps to move out of alignment.
  • Re-grease the motor bearings according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

This is a general checklist. Reference the O&M manual for items specific to each machine.


Predictive maintenance entails monitoring of key equipment properties to detect changes or trends that serve as early indications of conditions which need to be addressed. In the case of pumps, the key items that can be monitored are vibration, power consumption, run time, and output.

Predictive maintenance are used to monitor the condition of equipment over time. Vibration analysis, for example, measures the vibration of the equipment while it is still in service. This allows the technician to see the change in vibrations over time to predict when a problem may occur, and why.

Predictive maintenance should be part of routine maintenance for pumps and rotating equipment that absolutely can not go down. Operators and maintenance managers get a glimpse into the future life of the pump as it's running today. This allows them to plan for repairs and avoid unexpected downtime

28 Nov 2020
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