Clayton Mead, UK Water Manager – Drives, ABB Limited, writes: As we move towards AMP 7, among the key challenges facing the water industry remains one of asset health: how to ensure that the installed base of pumps and their motors and drives never let you down. Whereas previously pumps, motors or drives had a back up that could be switched in while a particular unit was out of service, higher customer demand is changing everything. Any spare capacity is being used and the scope for redundant systems is significantly reduced. Today, sites need to maximise the resilience of their pumping systems.
Here are some typical considerations to improve the maintenance and support over the life cycle of the powertrain, which includes the variable speed drives (VSDs), motors, bearings and pumps…
Life cycle assessment – Even though a typical water facility is home to dozens of electric motors and VSDs, a detailed inventory of each asset is often overlooked. Even when the location of VSDs and motors is known, the failure to keep detailed maintenance records or schedules can make it impossible to assess the life expectancy of assets. A life cycle assessment – or LCA – provides a clear understanding of the drive/motor installed base. It details how assets will evolve over the coming months and where the highest risks lie.
Motor management policy – Such a policy documents every single motor and offers a series of maintenance initiatives from rewind to replace, based on the age, efficiency and application in question.
Preventive maintenance plan – A plan ensures connections are tight, air filters are dust free and any parts such as capacitors are replaced in a timely fashion. This not only helps attain a higher uptime for the VSD, but ensures that the original energy efficiency promise, when the drive was purchased, is retained.
Such a plan helps with cost management, making budgeting more predictable, by providing regular inspections and component replacements according to a product specific maintenance schedule.
Service agreements – Agreements provide the ideal way to tackle proactive and reactive maintenance needs. They help fine-tune the application to ensure that you sweat the asset and get the optimum performance.
Genuine spares – Make sure that your supplier has a readily available local stock of spares to remove the temptation to buy non-genuine equivalent spares, or at worse fakes. Online ordering facilities should provide 24-hour access.
PC tools – Reputable VSD manufacturers provide fleet management tools that store drive parameter sets and operation and maintenance documentation. An ABB VSD is automatically registered within a database called Installed Base. Registration includes date of purchase, location, application, loading, parameter setting and maintenance intervals. Installed Base enables maintenance budget allocation to be based on the criticality of each drive asset, and ultimately prolongs asset life. Whenever a maintenance routine is due, the database alerts the user and can schedule a visit from a qualified service engineer.
Digital services – Remote condition monitoring automatically and continuously collects performance data from VSDs and motors and provides alerts and information to enable issues to be predicted before failure can occur.