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PUMPS, VALVES & ACTUATORS CONSIDER ROI BEFORE PURCHASE COST


David Amory, of AESSEAL, explains how the judicious selection of sealing systems can help pump system specifiers ensure that reliability, sustainability and cost-efficiency are built into their pumps from the outset


A


nyone responsible for purchasing a new piece of plant equipment will ask the question: ‘Will it deliver a swift return on


investment (ROI)?’. When specifying pumping systems this question will include ensuring optimum reliability and productivity, minimal downtime and enhanced pump lifespan. The importance of undertaking detailed


analysis of the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a pump, which factors in projected running and maintenance costs as well as initial capital outlay, is arguably even greater as the global focus on sustainable manufacturing practices intensifies. Quantifying energy use and water consumption, including effluent treatment costs, now carries environmental as well as financial significance. The sealing solutions


specified as part of a pump purchase can have a crucial bearing on the TCO when a pump is expected to operate efficiently over a period of decades. Therefore, it makes sense to consider which sealing systems offer the swiftest ROI, and also the surest over the long term. It is also worth noting that, when purchasing


from an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), the pump build can be adjusted to suit your preferred specifications. This is important where sealing solutions are concerned. The health of rolling element bearings can


be the foundation on which a pump thrives or flounders. Bearings failure accounts for around 40% of rotating equipment stoppages in a plant, with contamination caused by water or process fluid ingress into the bearings chamber cited as a key cause. Traditionally, the lip seal is the most


commonly used component employed in an effort to minimise this fluid contamination. However, it is widely accepted that lip seals are themselves inherently flawed.


They rely on surface contact with the pump


shaft to create the seal. The resulting friction means that a lip seal will start to deteriorate almost immediately following installation, allowing leakage into the bearings chamber and leading to bearings failure and downtime. Damage to the pump shaft itself can be another costly consequence of the friction. In fact, the only motive for using lip seals is


their low initial cost, so it has to be worth calculating how many hidden costs could accrue as a result of repeat orders and scheduled downtime and the more serious financial impact of unscheduled downtime caused by bearings failure. The repeat cycle of


contamination, bearings failure and operational downtime caused by lip seals, can be prevented at the specification stage. For example, regardless of the OEM pump build, advanced non-contacting bearing isolators can be


requested in place of lip seals. These use the centrifugal force of


rotating equipment to open a micro gap in


the seal to allow the bearings to breathe, then immediately close the gap when the equipment isn’t running and the centrifugal force stops. This ensures that bearings are protected from the ingress of dust and water from the surrounding environment. One paint manufacturer quickly discovered


the cost-efficiency of this dynamic lift technology when it replaced an OEM lip seal with an AESSEAL LabTecta 66 bearing protector. Leaking paint from a badly aligned entry


paint mixer was entering the motor bearing through the OEM lip seal, causing the mixer motor to fail on average every 2.5 months. Each breakdown was costing around £1,300 - not taking into account loss of production. The cost of replacing the lip seal with the


The importance of undertaking detailed analysis of the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a pump, which factors in projected running and maintenance costs as well as initial capital outlay, has arguably never been greater. A bearing protector can help avoid failure and improve TCO


Below: A LabTecta 66 bearing protector


LabTecta 66 was repaid within one month of fitting and mean time between failure (MTBF) increased by 540% (and counting). The manufacturer saved more than £7,000 in reduced maintenance costs and an expected 9.5 days per year of lost production. The non-contacting, frictionless, design of


bearing isolators has the additional advantage of reducing the amount of energy required to drive the pump shaft. The result is a guaranteed reduction in


energy consumption over the long term, which can reduce a company’s carbon footprint and keep a tight rein on operational costs. When the less obvious long term benefits of


sealing solutions are considered, the immediate appeal of a low initial cost price of a sealing solution might begin to pale. Take the example of a pump specifier who


selects a double mechanical seal with an advanced ‘continuous loop’ water management system. The environmental value of this choice is clear: a constantly recycled supply of clean, cool flush water to the seal faces reduces wastage to virtually zero. However, if the year-on-year costs associated with evaporation processes, or water treatment/effluent charges are taken into account, the ROI on this solution would be extremely persuasive. An international packaging and paper


group which replaced 167 ‘quench to drain’ seal support systems with AESSEAL continuous loop water management systems, conserved more than 4.5 billion litres of water over a six year period. Moreover, the ROI was just one year with annual savings of around £566,500, excluding effluent treatment costs. When sealing solutions achieve improved


pump reliability, reduced downtime and quantifiable benefits to both the environment and the bottom line, surely they are worth considering at the specification stage?


AESSEAL www.aesseal.com


APRIL 2021 | PROCESS & CONTROL 9


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