" We are all urged to think 'outside the box', 'get proactive and stretch the envelope'. but I'm still not sure what that means."

In a future article, The Pump Guy returns to World Pumps to think inside the box to ask why most pumps don't have gauges to tell the pump engineer if a pump is working properly or the system is in need of some attention.

Larry Bachus, aka 'The Pump Guy', is a maintenance practitioner, and pump consultant has visited many process plants around the world and his experience indicates that too many process pumps lack proper instrumentation.

In many process systems, pumps consume a large part of the daily maintenance budget. In the article, The Pump Guy explains that: "Exterior problems stress the pump and its components leading to repeated premature failure. We rebuild the pump, installing a new mechanical seal and bearings. But if we don’t relieve the stress in the pipe system, the mechanical seal or bearings will fail again in five or six months, and drag-down the plant-wide MTBF statistics on rotating equipment.

This is because most pumps are operated without adequate instrumentation, and rarely are the operators taught to interpret the information on the gauges. 

I am fortunate to visit many process plants around the globe.  My experience indicates that too many process pumps lack proper instrumentation. I see many pumps with a pressure indicator (gauge or transducer) mounted onto the discharge nozzle of the pump.  However, I see very few pumps with a pressure indicator at the suction nozzle.

Why don’t the pumps have gauges?  Some would blame the instrumentation tech. But the instrumentation tech takes instructions and leadership from the engineer.  So why doesn’t the engineer order to install gauges on the pumps?  Why does no one train the operators?

Every day, process operators and engineers stare at pumps without gauges. The engineer has absolutely no idea if the pump is healthy or sick.  Before long, the pump becomes a high maintenance pump."

Many companies can supply gauges, but this adds to the cost. Should there be more instrumentation or are they unecessary and expensive add-ons? What do you think?