Fluid Handling / IIoT / Smart Manufacturing / Digitalization / Condition Monitoring / Predictive Maintenance

Smart tech comes to pumps

Sheila Kennedy says digital twins and data analytics enable engineering, process improvements.

By Sheila Kennedy

Making pumps smarter and more connected to the industrial internet of things (IIoT) streamlines condition monitoring, predictive maintenance (PdM), and engineering improvements. Digitalizing these practices reduces the risk of and costs associated with unplanned downtime.

New, intelligent, connected technologies can alert managers and technicians to adverse conditions, giving them more time to make crucial decisions. Modern modeling approaches improve pump engineering and reliability while also driving new service offerings.

IIoT elevates pump monitoring and maintenance

When real-time pump performance data is available, conditions that affect performance –such as cavitation and off-curve operation – can be remedied quickly, before machine damage occurs, says Gene Vogel, pump and vibration specialist at the Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA).

The capability is fundamental to large pumping operations such as refineries and chemical processing facilities, and “smart” technologies can make the same data available to mid-range and low-end pump users that don’t have distributed control systems (DCS) or other real-time data systems available.

“Pump service centers can play an important role in installing and maintaining the acquisition points necessary to make that data available,” suggests Vogel.

Smart solutions such as the i-ALERT sensor, mobile app, and Ai platform from ITT PRO Services let users view real-time and historical data, diagnostic information, and machine records. Designed to be easy to install and to allow for safe and efficient equipment inspection, they let users take more-timely action.

The i-ALERT sensor tracks three-axis vibration, temperature, and machine runtime. Data collection is managed via the mobile app, which also provides access to technical and bill-of-material information from participating equipment manufacturers such as Goulds Pumps. “With the Ai platform, customers can have a historical view of their i-ALERT-enabled machines and conduct analysis through the simple web interface,” explains Jeffrey Sullivan, global product manager at ITT Goulds Pumps.

Petasense provides wireless vibration sensors and machine learning analytics that continuously monitor assets, analyze sensor data in real time, and assign a numerical health score to machines. Plant managers and engineers receive real-time alerts when the health score falls too low, so they can make timely decisions to avert failures.

“Recently, we have also collaborated with OSIsoft to provide reliability engineers with process control data alongside vibration data. It enables better diagnosis of failures and helps improve the prediction models,” says Abhinav Khushraj, co-founder of Petasense. “Using multiparametric sensor data, plants can maximize asset reliability and seek to operate pumps more efficiently.”

SCOUT Cloud Software and SensoNODE Gold Sensors from Parker Hannifin enable wireless, cloud-based, remote condition monitoring to improve the reliability of pumps and other critical equipment. The SensoNODE Gold sensors are IP65-rated for harsh environments and designed to continuously monitor assets for pressure, temperature, humidity, flow, or power.

A solution such as SCOUT Cloud Software and SensoNODE Gold Sensors that lets users monitor their pumps and other systems via a web browser can go a long way toward early issue detection, reduced downtime, and improved worker safety, explains David Shannon, business unit manager with Parker’s quick coupling division (QCD).

Digital twins deliver engineering intelligence

Digital twin technology allows the virtual modeling, simulation, and analysis of products and processes using real-time operational data to let users make more-informed predictions. Pump and systems manufacturer Grundfos partnered with ANSYS, a provider of engineering simulation software, to create complete digital twins of its products to improve product quality and performance and develop new service offerings.

“The combination of the IoT with the unique insights provided by simulation enables the creation of a virtual, digital version of any product that creates an incredibly compelling platform for value-added services on top of product development,” says Rob Harwood, global industry director at ANSYS.

For the pump-driven oil and gas industry, digital twins of a plant, refinery, or rig are enabled by the recent partnership of Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE), and KBC, a Yokogawa company. Combining KBC’s Petro-SIM process simulation modeling with BHGE’s asset performance management software and analytics on the cloud-based GE Predix platform enables end-to-end process and operational analytics, machine learning, and “molecularly enabled digital twins” of assets, according to BHGE.

“This moves the industry further towards sophisticated data analytics – taking previously offline models and making them available and updatable, anytime, anywhere, with high-performing, high-velocity data models – reducing time to obtain valuable insights,” observes Diego Comina, midstream and downstream digital product manager at BHGE.