The Importance of Pressure Monitoring in Pump Systems

Blog | June 29th, 2020

A pump system typically utilises the movement of liquids or gases to convert energy into pressure. Many industries maximise the capabilities of pump systems for their respective applications. For the automotive industry, they use pumps for water-cooling and fuel injection. The energy industry, on the other hand, use pumps to effectively pump oil or natural gas and operate cooling towers. Healthcare also uses pumps for artificial body part replacements and medicine development.

All these applications play critical roles in the daily operations of a lot of industries. Given this fact, it is just reasonable to maintain high-quality performance of pump systems all the time. One effective way to keep and maintain the optimum performance of pump systems is through pressure monitoring.

Best Efficiency Point as an Indicator

Several pieces of equipment and system components rely heavily on pump systems to supply their needed energy. This energy, which is equivalent to pressure, is integral to make every equipment and components that rely on pumps work. And for a pump system to be effective, it must always operate at its exact Best Efficiency Point (BEP). However, only pump systems can reach their optimal BEP. Fortunately, pump systems can still work effectively once they have reached and maintain a flow near their peak efficiency.

Pump systems that can continuously operate 80% to 110% of their BEP are already considered as cost-effective since they do not get damaged or fail easily. Excessive wear and tear are also minimised when using this type of pump.

But according to a recent study, most pumps that are present on process plants only work below 40% of BEP, which is far from the recommended percentage of a cost-effective pump system. There are even pump systems that only work below 10% BEP. Some factors behind the inefficiency of pump systems include improper pump sizing and too low Net Positive Suction Head (NPSH) that causes cavitation.

Importance of Pressure Monitoring

A positive displacement pump system works with a fixed amount of fluid that is trapped in a discharge pipe. Without monitoring the pressure of this system, it will continuously generate pressure even if there is no flow. Once the pressure climbs beyond the system limit, the pump may end up bursting or locking up. The pump system may also have an overheated motor or a broken pump shaft.

Another type of pump system is the centrifugal pump. Whenever it operates outside the optimal BEP, the impeller of this pump system may be affected by asymmetrical forces like high vibration levels, excessive hydraulic thrust, increased temperature, or erosion. Once the pressure is beyond the dead head point, the flow will eventually stop. While there is no occurrence of pipe bursting with this pump, the absence of flow can ultimately consume a huge amount of power and cost unnecessary operating expenses.

To maintain optimum operations, industries must employ an effective maintenance program that basically monitors and supervise the operating conditions of the pumps. One key element of the pump system maintenance program is pressure monitoring.

Monitoring suction pressure and discharge pressure is vital for identifying the Total Dynamic Head (TDH) and the available NPSH of the pump system. Both mentioned types of pressure can be measured by either using pressure transducers or installing taps for the pressure gauges. Once they are measured, elements such as flow, pump speed, and power can also be evaluated to complete the maintenance program of the pump system. For more information about pressure monitoring in pump systems, just give us a call at Mobile Hydraulics. We are dedicated to the sales, service, design, and installation of mobile and industrial systems, components, and accessories for both hydraulic and pneumatic applications.

Mobile Hydraulic Specialties Pty Ltd

Factory 89, 38-40 Popes Road
Keysborough, Victoria, 3173

Phone: (03) 9798-6511

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