Centrifugal pumps rarely die of old age. Erosion, cavitation and fluid turbulence cause pump seals, shafts, bearings and impellers to wear out fast. Poorly performing pumps also waste significant energy. The best defense against these hazards is to keep the system stable and the pump operating at its best efficiency point (BEP). As every pump operator knows, the pump performance curve tells you where that point is.
But just knowing the BEP doesn’t help, unless you have a way to track the pump’s actual operation in real time.
Many manufacturers already use the SAM4 smart predictive maintenance system to monitor the health of their pumps (and other equipment). SAM4 uses AI-driven electrical signature analysis to detect more than 9 out of 10 developing failures up to five months in advance, so you can repair seals, shafts, bearings and impellers as soon as they start to degrade, when repairs are faster and cheaper.
This early warning can also help you diagnose underlying operational problems, such as a pump that’s overdimensioned, by alerting you to repeated failures in the same pump. But at Semiotic Labs we wanted to do better. We wanted to help our clients keep their pumps healthy in the first place—and help them identify all potential avenues to reduce energy use, now and in the future. So we’ve developed a tool to do just that. Meet SAM4’s new real-time pump performance dashboard!
A pump curve relates the pump’s performance to its physical design in a visual format that instantly shows you its ideal, acceptable and damage-prone operating ranges (as shown in figure 1 above). Thanks to the pump affinity laws, you can use the pump’s wheel speed and power consumption to track changes in head and flow as it operates. Wheel speed and power consumption, in turn, are directly related to the instantaneous current and voltage the pump’s motor is drawing. And current and voltage are precisely what SAM4 measures.
All this means that SAM4 can automatically plot the pump’s operation relative to its BEP in real time, using the data it’s already collecting to monitor the pump’s condition.
External testing by pump consultant Oveducon confirmed that SAM4’s real-time pump curve is accurate and reliable. “Our testing showed SAM4’s calculations to accurately reflect centrifugal pump head and flow, particularly at the higher speeds in the 50 to 40 Hz frequency range where centrifugal pumps most commonly operate,” said Jos Overschie, Oveducon’s founder.