As we all know, optimizing pump efficiencies can significantly reduce operating costs. In some instances, it has the potential to achieve 30% to 70% improvements in energy and maintenance cost, while improving both pump and process reliability.
I recently came across some tips for optimizing pump efficiencies that were a good ‘refresher‘ for me. Maybe they will help you as well.
I’m sure we would all agree that pumping system performance is affected by several factors:
- Efficiency of the pump and system components
- Overall system design
- Efficient pump control
- Efficiency of drives
- Appropriate maintenance cycle
I’ve found that the following pump symptoms are usually indicators of potential opportunity: throttled valve; bypass line normally open; multiple parallel pump system with the same number of pumps always operating; continuous pump operation in a batch environment, and presence of cavitation noise.
The first step is to assess your current situation by looking for the above symptoms and identify process modifications that offer the most potential for efficiency improvements. These modifications often include:
- Motor efficiency via replacement or upgrade
- Best match between pump size and load requirement
- Reduced load on motor through improved process and system design
- Use of variable speed control instead of throttling or bypass mechanism
- Ensuring proper documentation and adequate operator training
In some cases, the fixes are simple changes to the programming in the building-automation system or adding a VFD. In other cases, the application of intelligent flow control systems is needed to fully optimize system efficiency. Smart pumping systems with embedded sensors and controls allow for smoother transitions such as start-ups and production changes, tighter control during continuous operation, and faster diagnostics of potential system problems before product quality or process operation is negatively affected.
After you’ve made the fix, check on it by trending the pump performance over time to ensure the expected improvements are occurring. And make sure the fix is documented and the operators are on board with the fix. Otherwise, any accrued savings could gradually go away from lack of attention or operator errors.
The following article Pump System Efficiency provides some very useful information.
What has worked for you in improving pump efficiencies?