All this information can help you zoom in or zero in on what's going on. So once you decide you've got a problem, you need to know if you can isolate the issue. Is it mechanical, or is it hydraulic? What's the pump telling you? Sound, sight, smell. Is the pump vibrating? Are the bearings making a noise? What's interesting out there nowadays is vibration analyzing world has actually become more economic to the small industrial plant. As you can see in these pictures here, there's a couple different types of vibration analyzers, from the more expensive to the more simplistic. You're going to spend roughly about $500 for a decent handheld vibration analyzer that can tell you, "Is this thing shaking so far? If it's shaking so far, what's it doing?" They give you bearing damage units and give you bearing G-forces. They give you how much it's shaking in inches per second, all this fun stuff. But the vibration can actually tell you what the pump is doing. So in the picture here you see this 9080. This is actually quite an interesting little meter. It just popped out on the market about 3, 4 years ago, and it's roughly about $500.

So it's kind of a handy little thing. The 9070 is the $500 meter, this one's $1,000. That 9080's about $1,000, I should say, excuse me. But the 9070 doesn't do any recording, but it'll do a spot check. So the operator or the mechanic could say, "Hey. There's something wrong with this pump." And then you got that VIBXPERT, that's about a $30,000 tool. Up there on the right-hand side, you got a Fluke 810. That's about a $9,000 tool. And in the picture on the far left, the operators used a Fluke 805, and that's about a $1,000 tool. It'll sell for $1,500. But the idea when we're doing with the vibration is we can actually tell what's going on by the lines of resolution.

It tells me if I'm out of alignment, unbalanced, looseness. Cavitation will actually show up on more sophisticated machines as a disturbance noise. Bearings when they fail in a pump or bearings when they fail in motor actually will release an acoustical emission that can be measured against the baseline. Do you guys use vibration analyzing for your tools? Other questions that you should be asking when you're walking around with pump problems, "Lubrication. Do I have to lube my pump? Do I grease my bearings? How much grease do I use? Do I use too much grease? Not enough grease? What's the configuration of the bearing? Deep groove ball bearing? Roller bearings?" Some small pumps and fractional horsepower pumps don't even have bearings in them. Some small pumps actually use bushings or sleeves and oil wick the lubrication.

A good example of that is the small Bell & Gossett circulators. They call them three-piece circulators, because they got a little bearing assembly in between there. They're basically babbitted sleeve bearings, and you got to lubricate a little oil wick to keep them oiled. Then the next question I ask if I got noise coming from this pump, "What's the coupling type?" If it's a close-coupled pump, you don't really have a couple. Or, "Do I have a motor with a flexible coupler? What's the condition of the coupler? Has the pump coupling been properly aligned? When I do alignment, do I just use a straight edge and guess at it? Do I use a dial indicator? Do I have laser?" I always tell technicians when they're troubleshooting a pump, "Take a look around. You got a loose foot. You got a loose mounting. Is there a bolt missing? Are there shims laying around under the foot?" Those are the obvious things that will tell you you've got some kind of a vibration going on.

Then there's always the hydraulic question, "Are the valves in the correct position? Are they broken? Are they stuck partially closed? Has the fluid process changed?" We'll talk about viscosity, temperature, and chemical composition. Is the pump cavitating? Pump cavitation's very interesting. Pump cavitation, like I said before, being hydraulic, if you can imagine a pump that was absolutely perfectly quiet one minute, and then it sounds like it's trying to pump gravel through it the second minute, that's cavitation. So look around the pump. Do you see leakage? If so, what's leaking? Oil, pumpage. Is the fluid dripping or spraying? Generally speaking, pumps applied to an application correctly will perform a long time if they're maintained. Don't always assume that the pump that was replaced was the same as the original pump.

Follow the paper trail. I've run into that situation many times where somebody says, "Oh, yeah, we got this pump over here on the shelf, and nobody paid any attention, and they put a 500-foot pump in place of 100-foot pump. And physically the difference of it could be the RPMs, could be the size of the impellers and stuff."

Last but not least, as we're going along here, I'm going to wrap this up real quickly here. I know I've been talking like a crazy man for the last hour or so? I think that's about where we're at here, right John? So I go in there, and I say, "If you haven't set up a regular maintenance program, now might be a good time." There's a lot of information on the web. As you're looking at it, do your homework. Ask a pump professional. Find your reliable pump vendor you can work with. Once you've established a maintenance program for your pumps, keep it up. Typically it will save you time and money in the long run. And, you know, those are the kind of things that we like to point out when we're doing our classes. And I'd like to take this time to thank you for your time today. Hope you enjoyed this. Like I said, I have a lot of fun talking to people and stuff like that. And understand we're here to help. We offer a lot of different training courses. I do pumps and pumping systems, kind of troubleshooting, specifying pump maintenance repair. 

We also have what's called a Troubleshooting Rotating Mechanical Equipment class that we do on the mechanical side, and that talks about bearing spelts [SP], drive sheets, gearboxes, stuff like that. Understanding and Troubleshooting Hydaulics. We also do customized programs. You can call the sales department at Trainco to find out about that. You can also find upcoming dates and locations at the Trainco website,, or you can schedule an onsite training at your facility by sending an email to sales@tpctraining. So, again, I'd like to thank you. And John's going to take it from here and ask the questions. If you've got any questions hanging out there, feel free to throw them out there now, okay?


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