By Peter Gaydon, Director, Technical Affairs for the Hydraulic Institute
Pump systems play a critical role in keeping our world in motion. However, opportunities to improve pump system reliability and efficiency often go unnoticed when current demands are not verified or new demands are not considered prior to selecting a new pump. When selecting a pump, there are certain criteria to consider; the usual checklist includes process liquid, materials, flow, pressure, efficiency, available space, existing infrastructure and potential opportunities to reduce life cycle cost.
Here are five tips to improve the pump selection process:
1. See the Big Picture
No matter the application, always remember that a pump is selected to meet system requirements, and not the other way around. By designing for excellence across a complete system, instead of addressing challenges in silos, engineers will be in a better position to maximize the impact of any improvements.
2. Footprint Matters
Both space availability and the pump’s footprint are crucial in the selection process. Depending on the accessible floor and overhead space, foundation, and electrical infrastructure, a larger flexibly coupled pump could be an option, or a space saving inline pump may be most appropriate for the space. Similar to a valve, inline pumps are designed to allow the flow (piping) to enter and exit on a single axis, requiring minimal floor space.
3. Think Smart
Often times, there is opportunity to improve performance, efficiency, and the reliability of pump systems. Consider retrofitting pumps with an integrated Variable Frequency Drive that includes the pump performance parameters programed from the factory. This adds the possibility controlling the pump without external instrumentation, which simplifies installation and can improve efficiency.
4. Carefully Assess Fluid Properties
Fouling, corrosion and erosion of pumps and pipes over time can be attributed to biological, chemical, and abrasive factors. Therefore, understanding fluid properties is essential to selecting the correct pump type, attaining desired performance, and factoring in proper maintenance. Lack of consideration can lead to reduced performance and efficiency, and costly maintenance.
5. Make Energy Efficiency Part of the Cost Assessment
Pump systems account for the largest share of industrial fluid system energy usage, so simply replacing old equipment or optimizing the pumping system is an enormous opportunity for energy savings. When evaluating the total life cycle cost of a pump, the majority of the cost falls into energy consumption (40%) and maintenance (25%). Therefore, when purchasing equipment for a new system or replacing existing equipment, it is important to consider the system as a whole and the total life cycle cost. If the right decisions are made during the design phase, the pumping system will be optimized, and the energy savings will accrue for the life of the system.
To help identify the most efficient pump for the system requirements, the Hydraulic Institute (HI) offers an Energy Rating Label Program. The HI Energy Rating Label program is designed to clearly indicate the power savings obtained from pump system upgrades and changes. Learn more here.
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