Each facility is designed to meet specific needs, so the things to consider when choosing the right pump can vary widely.
Q: What factors need to be considered when selecting the right pumps for a facility?
A: Each facility is designed to meet specific needs, so the things to consider when choosing the right pump can vary widely. However, there are a few key considerations facility operators must mull before delving deeper into the process.
First, consider operating conditions for the pump. The flow and head, or pressure, will determine whether a dynamic or positive-displacement pump will be needed. Next, review other physical aspects — the fluid being pumped, vapor pressure of the fluid (net positive suction head) and required horsepower — to further refine what specific type of pump could perform as needed for the facility.
Experience can also play a significant role in determining which pump is ultimately chosen. If a facility operator prefers a particular original equipment manufacturer (OEM), that can push the service into a certain pump type based on what the OEM makes. Similarly, a bad experience with an OEM can influence the decision to explore alternatives.
In some cases, facility operators could consider the possibility of retrofitting a pump, which would require a separate evaluation to consider whether the pump would be capable of handling the material being pumped.
Determining the right pump can be a lengthy, multistep process that must factor in future growth and potential industry changes. To help, Process Industry Practices, a consortium that collates its members' standards into best practices based on industry, released PIP REEP006 Pump Selection Guidelines in October 2013. The guidelines look at all of these factors in a flowchart and work the user down to a list of a few pump types that would work in the required service. The guidelines also describe the pros and cons of each type to help the user better define the proper pump.
For more information, contact Jay Zaffino, 832-389-5730. He is principal rotating equipment engineer in the Process & Industrial Group at Burns & McDonnell.