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How a system analysis sustainably ensures the operation of pumps and valves
System availability is one of the key factors of a company's productivity. An interdisciplinary system analysis uncovers error sources and optimisation opportunities.
With energy prices rising continuously – by now making up one of the largest cost factors of many industrial processes – operating a system efficiently makes absolute sense, even just from an economic point of view. But it is not just that: In times of climate change, companies are becoming increasingly aware of their ecological responsibility and try to lower their CO2emissions by minimising energy consumption.
According to the German Energy Agency's nationwide EnergieEffizienz initiative, the biggest savings in pump systems can be made by optimising energy-powered systems as a whole rather than the individual single system components, such as the frequency inverter, electric motor, gear, pump and piping or measuring and control systems. Off-design operation of complex components will considerably affect the energy and maintenance costs and, consequentially, the system's overall life cycle costs (TCO).
What does a pump system analysis look like?
Whatever the application – energy, industry, water or waste water – a system analysis includes the recording of the pumps’ actual load profile using a data logger. Experienced project engineers then evaluate the measurement data and compare it with the pumps’ design conditions. This allows them to identify potential savings (energy efficiency analysis) as well as any causes of damage (damage analysis).
Energy efficiency analysis
An energy efficiency analysis demonstrates the potentials for optimisation of a pump system, enabling the reduction of energy costs and consumption in a systematic and targeted manner. This comprises assessing all energy consuming installations, identifying saving potentials and working out suggestions for improving energy efficiency. Given the complexity of today's systems, getting support from experts in this matter is recommended.
From the energy efficiency analysis a clear energy savings concept should be derived that comprises all measures required and serves as the basis for investment decisions. This concept should influence and guide the company's decisions for the following years.
The damage analysis serves to inspect damage with suitable methods to identify the damage cause(s). The knowledge gained from the damage analysis can then be used to derive measures for preventing future damage and for enhancing system availability. In addition, the results from the damage analysis can form the basis for improving and optimising the operating mode and material selection, for example.
In a damage analysis, experts measure and assess process and vibration data, familiarise themselves with the process steps and inspect defective components and machinery. It is especially this complex assessment of interrelationships that enables profound recommendations for action to be derived. In subsequent repair work, combining years of experience with modern production technology is key.
Best practice: System analysis of a pump system in a steel works
As part of a wholistic system analysis KSB took a close look at the pump system of a steel works. The analysis showed that the company had six recirculation pumps running in parallel at fixed speed in a cooling water circuit with a fluctuating system load. The pumps were permanently controlled by throttling of the discharge-side valves. The system analysis further revealed distinctive signs of wear at the pumps, which were linked to increased vibrations. In order to make the operation more economical KSB recommended the use of an intelligent pump control system to replace the current throttling control. To raise the efficiency, installing new pumps was recommended as the repair of the current pumps was no longer economically viable.
The energy costs of the steel works prior to the system analysis and technical optimisation amounted to € 213,772 per year. The use of a variable speed system easily halved the energy costs, now totalling € 105,065 per year. We are looking at savings of 51 percent, coupled with a significant reduction in CO2 emissions. The system analysis clearly enhanced not only the company's spending but also its ecological footprint.