Mastering the Art of Facilities Maintenance

managing time and resources effectively

maintaining pumps and motors

Many pumps, circulators and motors run quietly day after day sitting in the corner, and the technology has become so reliable- it’s easy to forget that there are still things that can be done to extend the life of the pumps and motors in your plant. Here’s a few things that you can start doing now:

1. monthly preventive maintenance and inspections Pumps and motors have internal moving parts, and moving parts can eventually cause heat and friction- which eventually leads to breakdowns and system failures. The best way to prevent this is to make sure that bearings, shaft hubs, and oil ports are lubricated regularly. Consult your O&Ms for the right frequency, but after a while you will learn what the best schedule to follow is. Also, keep surfaces clean and free of dust as dust buildup can cut off air circulation through cooling vents on motor housings.

2. Take readings and get to know normal operating parameters Motors will give another clear indication that they need care, because amp draw will increase as bearings begin to fail. friction causes a strain on the motor that was not there when it was new and moving free, so the motor will need to work harder to do their job- this immediately shows as an increase in amp draw, so take regular amp readings while the pump is in operation. Remember that you are working around live voltage to do this, so always use proper safety procedures during readings and inspections.

3. Duty cycling Many pumps and motors are installed inĀ  groups or pairsĀ  so that they can provide backup for failures and shutdowns, however it is important to cycle the backups because bearings and seals can develop flat spots if they are left to sit without running. Some engineers and operators will run their pumps in an alternating lead/ lag switching back and forth with each inspection- sometimes this must be done by hand, and sometimes its just a matter of throwing switches in a panel. If you are unable to put pumps into service, and you know that they will be out of service for an extended period (summer/winter) put it on your schedule to operate pump shafts by hand regularly.

Finally, and I’ve mentioned this in other posts and I’ll probably end up saying it again- always listen to your plant and get comfortable enough to put your hands on your equipment as you walk through. If you get used to the way your equipment sounds, you will notice when that sound changes. If you know your normal operating temperatures, you will know when those tempertures begin to rise. These are the things that will distinguish you in your career- and make you a better mechanic.

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January 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment