In a production environment that uses pumps (particularly vacuum pumps) to drive a system,
performance needs to be monitored to ensure maximum productivity. Historically a Beama Nozzle
test would require disconnecting and isolating the suction port of the pump and fitting a range of
nozzles of varying inlet diameter and recording the resultant pressure and temperature conditions.
This data is used to calculate the performance curve and duty point of the pump. The process is
done manually, typically every 12 - 18 months and involves disconnecting the pump from the line
and therefore halting production, downtime...
We have developed a method of measuring this performance data that works in-line with the
factory system and monitors the suction port of the pump to calculate the pump's operating
capacity. The resultant real time performance information would be an invaluable asset to
production managers in maintaining optimum productivity of their lines. Any performance
degradation would be immediately visible in the output allowing faster response to issues on the
production line. Tracking long terms performance degradation due to wear and tear on pumps,
seals bearings etc becomes easier and preventative maintenance can be planned undertaken with
less disruption to production outputs.
The system comprises of a spool piece of suitable inner diameter and roughly 800mm long.
Sockets are installed 150mm apart along the length of the spool piece and centred on it such that
the flow is as laminar as possible. Electronic sensors are fitted to these sockets which deliver an
eletronic output signal. In the top socket is a temperature sensor with probe rod, the middle
socket houses a pressure sensor which outputs gauge pressure and does not have a probe rod,
the bottom socket houses an air velocity sensor with a probe rod. At the top is the temperature
sensor whose position in the spool piece did not affect the reading, then the pressure sensor
which has no probe rod and therefore would have less turbulence effect on the velocity sensor
behind it, and finally the velocity sensor in the lower position at which point we found the most
laminar airflow with the least turbulence.
The sensors are all connected to a data acquisition system which then interprets the electronic
signal and outputs it as metric units of measurement. Air velocity output is reported in meters per
second, temperature in degrees Celsius and pressure in Bar (absolute pressure). A software
service will run on a workshop/shopfloor computer to log data from the sensors and publish it to
an online database environment for analysis by the reporting software.
The information is stored in a database and is available live from any device with an internet
connection. This online centralised design allows the data to be available to a wide range of
platforms that are not geographically limited. The system can be set to inform production manager
via electronic means such as email and sms, or can output any number of visible and audible
alarms on the factory floor or in control rooms in the event of any degradation of performance out
of an acceptable range.
This system can be applied to any pump technology, but it is with vacuum pumps that this system
is most revolutionary in terms of being a new way to achieve a long standing objective of
measuring pump capacity. The most appealing benefits in the business sense are the real time
reports. Planned and Scheduled maintenance are far less disruptive to a production cycles than a
breakdown or unplanned shut. Spotting any performance degradation early on allows
management to analyse and rectify the problem before it starts affecting their output.