Competition in the pumps industry has become fierce, owing to demand for cost efficiency that has seen growing calls for product refurbishment, says pumps manufacturer and distributor Mather+Platt.
“Clients who have had pumps operating for 40 years want refurbishments that will result in the equipment’s lasting another 40 years. Although we rely on the robust designs of the past, they continue to be adapted to suit the needs of the current market,” says Mather+Platt business development manager Dave Johnson.
He notes that, in some cases where finances are tight, clients will consider cost-competitive Asian brands, which often have a shorter life span and lower quality specifications, in line with moving towards reduced costs.
This trend also increases the call by industry for product refurbishment, which has subsequently resulted in a significant growth in Mather+Platt’s refurbishment department.
The company recently received an order to refurbish two large 20/20 Allis Chalmers split-case pumps, which have been installed in Three Rivers, Vereeniging.
“Parts for these pumps can be obtained only from Scotland at a high cost, and, therefore, it is more economical to manufacture the refurbishment parts in our factory,” Johnson explains.
He says the engineering department and pattern makers of Mather+Platt took accurate measurements and produced the patterns for the castings, with the internals of the casing coated to prevent erosion and corrosion, as well as increase efficiency before inserting the new rotating assembly.
The company installed the refurbished pumps and laser-aligned them before testing, which indicated that the pumps were running smoothly and more efficiently, compared with the results of the first test when the pumps were initially installed.
The refurbished pumps resulted in reduced electricity use and costs, as a 1% energy saving on a 3 000 kW pump, or a saving of 30 kW, is “equivalent to ten electrical household kettles being used continuously for 24 hours”, Johnson mentions.
He adds that, prior to the refurbishment, the upkeep of the Allis Chalmers pumps consisted of general maintenance; subsequently, more than just normal wearing parts needed to be replaced or refurbished.
“When pumps have been running for long periods, the casing gets worn and pitted. This causes efficiency loss and, therefore, higher running costs,” Johnson notes, adding that the impeller gets worn and reduces productivity through the out-of-balance vibrations it produces.
Mather+Platt fitted improvised seals to the bearings of the pumps, which prevented the lubrication from seeping out of the bearings – thereby keeping the bearings lubricated and lengthening the bearing life.
“These pumps will now run for many more years at a fraction of the cost of new pumps,” he highlights.
The refurbishment of the two 20/20 Allis Chalmers split-case pumps started in early 2016 and took six months to complete, with the pumps being installed towards the end of 2016.
Additional Product Offerings
Mather+Platt’s most recent product lines include the Rock Guard and Super Duplex pumps ranges.
“The Rock Guard pumps range consists of a special coating on the interior of the pump to ensure greater smoothness for increased wear resistance. This improves efficiency and reduces the costs to power the machine.”
Johnson further adds that the Super Duplex pump range is a high-grade stainless steel for use in applications such as seawater.
Owing to rising energy costs in South Africa, he indicates that pumps manufacturers, such as Mather+Platt, continue to develop energy efficient products that deliver significant cost savings.
The company installs, commissions and refurbishes pumps to industrial standard requirements such as ISO 9002, ISO 14000 and OHSAS 18001.