The operability and efficiency of critical pumping equipment is essential. A cost-effective tool that has proven valuable in predictive and preventive maintenance and in the avoidance of unscheduled pumping equipment outages is a comprehensive program of periodic hydraulic and mechanical performance audits. This paper explains how hydraulic and mechanical field testing can be conducted without interrupting plant operations using non-intrusive measurement equipment including: ultrasonic flow measurements, vibration signature analysis, and for electric motor driven pumps, power and dielectric condition analysis. Methods and requirements to conduct the audits will be discussed and a case study with cost benefit analysis is presented. Pumps are basically energy transfer devices. The energy of the pump driver, e.g. electric motor, steam or gas turbine, reciprocating engine, is transferred into the pumpage to move it through the system at sufficient pressure to overcome system losses and meet process requirements. It is the efficient transference of the applied energy that is a critical consideration in pump design and operation. Efficiency of operation is of interest to everyone. The pump designer is motivated to maximize pump efficiency to remain competitive given the increasing cost of energy. However, the designer must not get overly zealous in the quest for pumping efficiency sacrificing reliability and durability. The end-user wants the most efficient pump with longest mean time between repair (MTBR) intervals to both reduce operating cost and minimizing production losses. With the reasons for maximizing pumping efficiencies and longer MTBR intervals established, the value of periodic in situ performance testing or auditing becomes an increasingly valuable and cost effective predictive and preventative maintenance tool.

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