The Importance of Mechanical Skills in the Data Center: Pump Maintenance and Overhaul

Are you prioritizing a regular, predictive maintenance routine for pumps in your facility? Implementing a PdM plan is important for any piece of equipment in your facility. It is essential for sustained function and efficiency of pumps, especially since it is estimated that they account for 25 percent of total motor system energy in the industry today.

First, you should be aware that as much as 65 percent of pump life cycle costs are determined during the design, procurement, and installation of the pump. Installation is the one that you have the most control over, so let’s focus on that.

Failure to properly install a pump on a baseplate can contribute to an unstable system, which can cause excess vibration and resonance. Specifying and properly installing a good quality baseplate can help alleviate these issues.

Identifying a pump that is the proper size for the application is also essential since the pump that is fitted to its task will be more likely to operate at its Best Efficiency Point (BEP).

Here are some other good practices to implement when it comes to pumps:

  • Observe your pump and system regularly, especially when it is running. Make organized notes on any abnormalities you notice.
  • Be sure to lubricate the pump bearing according to the manufacturer’s guidelines or use a good ultrasonic or vibration tool to determine optimum lubrication. Like we discussed in the lubrication blog, be careful not to over grease bearings.
  • Some specific things to check for regarding pumps:
      • That mounting points are secure
      • That the mechanical seal is intact
      • That the couplings are in good condition
      • That the filters are clean
      • That the pump suction and discharge pressure are at healthy level (using transducers or pressure gauges)
  • Monitor the vibration levels of the pump. The vibration level of a pump is directly related to the pump’s BEP. Pay special attention to the frequency where the amplitude is occurring. The frequency points to the underlying issue causing the excess vibration while the amplitude indicates the problem’s severity. Regular and frequent condition monitoring is important for pumps.


Photo courtesy: stockphoto

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