Tips for Repairing and Upgrading Pumps

Most pump repairs and upgrades will address specific repair, performance, or maintenance issues, but they should also include longevity, reliability, and efficiency improvements. If the pump you are thinking about repairing is not ready for replacement, it makes sense to upgrade the pump internals to extend the pump life, reliability and efficiency.   Pump internal upgrades help to avoid costly expenses, as well as unexpected downtime.

1.) Use High Quality Parts when upgrading, or repairing your pumps.

Use only high quality parts when repairing, or upgrading your pumps.  Upgrading with lower quality parts ends up costing more money and means additional repairs and maintenance expenses down the road, as well as reduced performance, reliability and efficiency.   In times of economic uncertainty, it becomes even more important to use higher quality parts which provide a much better return on investment.

2.) Ask yourself if the upgrade will improve performance and reliability.

Take a look at the pump’s operating point (OP) and make sure it is near or at the best efficiency point (BEP) for the pump.  If the operating point is not near, or at, the Best Efficiency Point then it is time to upgrade the Impeller.  Companies like SIMS PUMP in Hoboken, New Jersey can manufacture any impeller for any centrifugal pump and they have the ability to make the Operating Point (OP) the Best Efficiency Point, (BEP) which not only makes the pump much more efficient, but substantially reduces cavitation, shaft deflection, high radial loading and other performance related issues.  These impellers manufactured by SIMS PUMP are machined from solid blocks of material enabling them to specifically design the impeller for the best efficiency point at the customer’s operating performance requirements.

3.)  Determine if performance needs have changed.

If the performance requirements have changed, it is important to upgrade the impeller when performing the pump upgrade, or repair.  Companies like SIMS Pump in Hoboken, NJ, can manufacture a new impeller to meet the new performance requirements without changing the entire pump, which saves a tremendous amount of money and time.

4.)  Buy American-made parts whenever possible.

Depending on where the pump is located, it may be tempting to order parts from a non-US manufacturer, but this may not be the best solution especially if you cannot be sure of their quality, reliability and delivery.  It may be tempting to use low priced parts manufactured in other Countries, but in the end you get what you pay for and the low cost, low quality, parts end up costing much more in the long-term!

5.) If the pump is subject to Galvanic Corrosion, reduce dissimilar metals whenever possible.

Electrolytic Corrosion (Electrolysis) occurs when dissimilar metals are in contact in the presence of an electrolyte, such as water, or moisture, containing very small amounts of salt, or acid. The dissimilar metals set up a galvanic action which results in the deterioration of the metal with the lowest galvanic number, or nobility. When any two metals are in contact with an electrolytic present, the one with the lower number (nobility) becomes sacrificial, or corroded. The galvanic action increases as the metals are farther apart in the Galvanic Series. It is therefore wise to avoid galvanic couples where the exposed area of the metal lower in the galvanic series is much greater than that of the metal high in this series.  For example, if the pump casing is bronze and you install a stainless steel, or duplex stainless steel impeller (even worse), the pump casing becomes sacrificial and suffers from galvanic corrosion.  A much better solution would be to install Structural Composite Non-Metallic Impellers & Casing Rings, such as those manufactured by SIMS Pump in Hoboken, NJ, which are inert and do not support galvanic corrosion!

6.) Make sure the impellers that are used in the repair, or upgrade, are balanced both mechanically and hydraulically.

Many Customers think just about mechanical balance of impellers but they forget about the hydraulic balance of the impellers, which in many cases is even more critical than mechanical balance.  If the vane passageways are not equal, or if they have become compromised by the addition of a coating, cavitation, or corrosion, a hydraulic imbalance will occur causing the shaft to deflect every time an impeller vane passes the cut-water of the pump, which in turn will lead to the premature failure of the mechanical seals, bearings, sleeves, shaft, and even the motor.

7.) Upgrade to non-metal replacement parts whenever possible.

Older pumps and impellers may have been made at a time when only heavier metals were used. The sheer weight of these older pumps requires greater energy output. Metallics corrode and they are subject to performance deterioration.  Upgrading the impellers, casing rings, sleeves, mechanical seals and other pump parts with structural composite materials, such as SIMSITE®, manufactured by SIMS PUMP makes the pump more reliable and enables the pump to operate much longer.  SIMSITE® products are not only lighter and more efficient, but these non-corrosive materials reduce shaft deflection and extend the life of the rotating element and pump casing.

8.) Choose impellers and casing rings that are machined from solid blocks as opposed to being cast, or molded.

Just like propellers that are machined on 5-axis machining centers are much more efficient than propellers that are cast or molded, the same rule applies to pump impellers.  Whenever possible, use pump impellers that are NOT cast or molded.  Choose structural composite Impellers and Casing rings such as the ones manufactured by SIMS PUMP in Hoboken NJ, which are machined on 5 to 8 axis machining centers from solid blocks of their patented composite, SIMSITE®, which never corrodes in seawater, sewage, waste water, river water, or chlorinated water!   SIMSITE® Impellers & Casing Rings do not suffer from Performance Deterioration, Imbalance Problems,(Mechanical or Hydraulic), High Radial Loading, Excessive Shaft Deflection, Performance Problems, or “pump Wash-Out”  like metallic impellers!

Conclusion:

Depending on the pump application and type of upgrade under consideration, it is often best to do a cost-benefit analysis of the parts used in the pump upgrade.  The cost-benefit analysis should take into consideration the projected efficiency gain, reduction in maintenance expenses, and expected pump life as well as the upgrade costs. Choosing pumps and pump parts made from corrosion-free structural composite like SIMSITE® is one way to ensure performance, longevity, and reduced energy costs.

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