5 Most Common Industrial Pump Problems

Industrial Pump Faults, Errors and Troubleshooting

Industrial pump problems can result in costly downtime. Below, are the 5 most common problems that our Kontrolmek engineers see and repair on a daily basis.

1. Corrosion

At Kontrolmek, we are often repairing the old and obsolete in our workshops. So, it’s quite common for the metal of industrial pumps to become corrosive and begin to fail.

Corrosion is the chemical reaction between the metal and fluid being pumped. It’s natural for corrosion to eventually start occurring, especially after years of your pump handling fluids in operation.

When it does occur, you can expect your pump to dip in performance or efficiency. Corrosion is often very visible, so it’s something you should be able to spot.

The key to mitigation is using a pump with the most appropriate materials (I.e. the metal) for your chosen application. For example, cast iron is a common metal used but isn’t suitable for low pH applications, as it is more prone to corrosion.

Stainless steel is another popular option and has good resistance to corrosion. But, may be affected when faced with other chemicals like chlorine.

So, it’s very important you select the right pump before purchase. However, things change — including the application that the pump is used in. So, you may need to seek maintenance or repair.

Kontrolmek can help reduce corrosion, repair any issues caused by it in your pump and increase the longevity of the part.

2. Wear/Old Age

Over time, usage of a pump will cause excessive wearing. If it becomes too excessive, the pump will begin to underperform, showing that it has suffered a reduced efficiency.

You may notice that the pump isn’t producing as much as previously and may cause a higher level of vibrations. This is a symptom but also an added issue, that will speed up the deterioration of your pump.

Wearing can occur from any stress that the pump may suffer in application. These include improper installation, fluid pressure, bearing and seals damage, vibrations and more.

Wear can sometimes be unavoidable, especially as a pump gets older. You can reduce wear by ensuring the pump is being used for the correct application (e.g. correct sizing) and materials are suitable for the fluids.

By continually maintaining the pump, you’re helping to prevent complete failure and downtime. If you need servicing, testing or repair, you should book a collection with us as soon as possible.

3. Fouling

Fouling is the accumulation of unwanted materials on the surface of your pumps. What you may notice is that as there are chemical reactions between the fluid, gases and surface, visible effects like limescale may begin appearing on the pump.

Usually, fouling would need mechanical cleaning to reduce and repair. This would maybe include the disassembly of the pump, cleaning and reassembly. If the cleaning isn’t done carefully, it could cause corrosion and reduce the longevity of the pump.

You should aim to regularly check your pump. If you begin to notice a build-up of fouling, whatever it may be, you should look to get it resolved sooner rather than later.

By not repairing the issue as soon as possible, you’re risking the possibility of forever reduced efficiency, reduced flow capacity and complete failure leading to unplanned downtime.

4. Cavitation

Cavitation is when the static pressure of liquid reduces to below the liquid’s vapour pressure. This leads to the formation of small vapour-filled cavities in the liquid. Basically, air bubbles form when there is insufficient pressure at the suction end of the pump.

When the air bubbles collapse, it causes stress on the pumps’ surface. This causes vibrations and mechanical damage, eventually leading to failure.

Cavitation sounds like small materials circulating through the pump, knocking on the internal surfaces. Typical indications you’re suffering from cavitation is noise, excessive vibrations, seal/bearing failures, erosion and a higher draw of power.

It may occur if your pump is wrongly applied, higher levels of fluid viscosity, clogged filters or strainers, restricted or collapsed areas of the hosing/connections.

5. Damaged Bearings/Sealings

This is broader and could be caused by a variety of issues. For example, your industrial pump may be suffering from leakage around the seal. This could be caused by dryness, temperature distortion or misalignment.

Most of the time for bearing issues, it is a lubrication issue, which has caused overheating. These could also occur from overloading, fatigue and more.

Whether you have a bearing or sealing issue, you can contact us for help.

Kontrolmek has a specialised pump engineering team, which regularly repair industrial pumps for engineers and manufacturers around the UK.

Contact us by phone or email to organise a free collection and quote. Emergency repairs are also available. Fully tested and all work warrantied.