Best Practices in Pump Maintenance
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Learn how to determine if the pump is bad and must be replaced or if it is good and can be eliminated as the problem.
In most industrial plants, when a hydraulic problem occurs, the first component to be replaced is the hydraulic pump. The pump is often the most expensive component in the system, will usually take the longest amount of time to change, thereby guaranteeing the maximum amount of downtime, will usually make the largest mess that someone has to clean, and is the least likely component to be causing almost any hydraulic problem. Rather than being the first thing to change, the pump should be the last resort once all other possible component failures have been eliminated. This topic helps the persons responsible for maintaining the hydraulic system to understand how first to track the condition of the pump, so they will know when it is about to fail, and they can replace it during a scheduled outage. Secondly, they will understand the internal workings of the pump in order to know if it is performing as it should. Finally, they will know the most definitive check to be made on a pump in order to determine, in less than one minute, if the pump is bad and must be replaced or if it is good and can be eliminated as the problem.
AuthorsJack Weeks, GPM Hydraulic Consulting, Inc.
The Difference Between Pressure and Flow
• Pressure Is the Result of Resistance to Flow
• The Pressure Gauge Measures the Resistance Overcome
• The Pump Does Not Pump Pressure
Checking a Fixed Displacement Pump
• Check the Pump Housing for Heat
• Check the Current Draw of the Electric Drive Motor
The Variable Displacement Pump
• Single Direction or Bi-Directional
• Used When the Volume Needs Change in the System
• Deliver Only the Flow Required by the System
The Pressure Compensating Pump
• Delivers Maximum Volume Until the Compensator Setting Is Reached
• Reduces Its Flow Once the Compensator Setting Is Reached
• Delivers Only the Amount of Flow Required to Maintain the Compensator Setting
The Case Drain
• Provides a Flow Path for Bypassed Fluid
• Case Flow Increases With Pump Wear
• Monitor Case Flow to Track the Pump Condition
• Can Be Permanently Installed in the Case Drain
• Keep a Monthly Record of Case Flow
• Can Be Installed in the Pressure Line
Checking the Variable Displacement Pump
• Checking the Pump Compensator Valve
• Measure the Flow Through the Relief Valve
• Do You Have a Pressure Problem or a Volume Problem?