Against a background of rising energy prices, it is becoming increasingly important for building facilities managers and services providers to consider the operating efficiency and energy consumption of pump systems. Many pump manufacturers are doing their utmost to drive down energy but if pump users do not create the best operating conditions and look after their pump systems the opportunities for reducing operating costs are compromised.
Water is a critical resource within buildings so it is essential that all pump systems associated with water services operate at all times. The best way of ensuring trouble free and low maintenance pump operation is to invest in careful pump selection and proper installation at the outset and then to monitor changes in performance at regular intervals. If the pump has been sized for the application, dynamically balanced, installed on robust foundations in order to avoid vibration and operated in the correct manner appropriate to the application then a major failure should never be experienced.
Striking a balance between preventative and condition-based maintenance lies in careful monitoring of the pump performance, so that if any symptoms of a problem are noted action can be taken that prevents total pump failure. Preventive, predictive, and prevention/pro-active maintenance practices generally require the pump operator to have an in-house team of qualified employees or to have maintenance contracts with the pump manufacturer. However, this is not always feasible and that is where outsourcing this work to a knowledgeable and professionally resourced pump servicing contractor can pay dividends.
AxFlow Limited, the UK’s leading independent supplier of pumps and fluid handling systems believes that planned maintenance should be the first choice of all facilities managers. By following this route, facilities and premises management will get the most out of their long term investment in buildings and maintenance.
AxFlow Limited provides design, engineering maintenance, servicing and the supply, installation and commissioning of pump systems for commercial and industrial premises from its facilities in London, Windsor, Huddersfield Durham and Aberdeen. The company, which has SAFE Contractor accreditation, employs qualified technicians and electrical and mechanical engineers, supported by factory-based workshop test and repair services (Fig.1). The provision of both on and off-site service and maintenance for pump systems and building infrastructure services is a growing part of AxFlow’s business.
Because AxFlow recognises that the pumping infrastructure in a building is part of a wider range of services, it is in a position to assist consultants, building services managers and other contractors involved in the building services sector on pump selection and operation.
“Our comprehensive skills set means that we are in a position to advise on the best pumps for the application, assist in the design of the pumping system, supply the pumps and undertake installation, commissioning and subsequent service and repair operations.”
Royal Ballet Pumps
When it comes to servicing or replacing water pumps in commercial premises, engineers are inevitably going to be up against tight time deadlines. When called upon to replace ageing cold water booster pumps in the Royal Ballet School’s Floral Street campus in central London, the timeslot was just 9 hours. And that was overnight.
The Upper School, adjacent to the Royal Opera House in Floral Street, is in almost constant use, even at weekends, making it impossible to shut off the water supply during working hours. Working with facilities management company CMS Limited, AxFlow drew up a schedule that would allow them to enter the premises at 21.00 hours, shut off the water supply and then start removing the three existing pumps and replace them with new energy efficient pumps. Most importantly, they had to ensure that the premises were completely vacated before work could commence.
“Because it was necessary to replace the existing pumps, we took this opportunity to provide the Royal Ballet School with a cold water booster system that would make use of the existing manifold infrastructure and give them an energy saving solution that offered the greatest degree of flexibility for the building,” reports Denis Yeoman of AxFlow. “Our solution was to install three Grundfos CR1- 10-6 multi-stage pumps fitted with Lowara Hydrovar inverters (Fig. 2). Each pump has a middle of curve capable of 11m3/h at 45meters head. In addition, we also replaced the existing control panel with a three pump isolator panel. Much to the satisfaction of the customer, we were able to reduce equipment and costs by re-using the existing manifold due to the existing pipework being of a good standard.”
Fitting Lowara Hydrovar inverters provides many advantages in multi-pump installations, not least of which is the capability to recognise any pump failure and automatically bring on stream another pump to take over the duty. It is also possible to programme an overall pressure setting increase for every pump while all the pumps are running and should the inverter detect insufficient discharge pressure after a certain interval of operation it turns the pump off, then attempts to restart the pump up to five times.
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