Remote bearing systems from Schaeffler help prevent flooding in Belgium28 August 2020

Motor monitoring with SmartCheck (left) and the CONCEPT2 automatic lubrication system (right)

Despite significant achievements in the UK’s river flood forecasting and early warning systems, there is still a need for effective tools and measures, either to prevent the floods or at least to decrease their negative impact on agricultural and urban areas.

This information can be used by storm-water and flood pumping stations to avoid the damage that can occur after the flood. One of the main issues is the condition monitoring of these pumping stations. In some cases, these stations are not ready for an instant response to natural disasters such as floods. In order to prevent unexpected failures of the drives or the pumps themselves, it is necessary to monitor the condition of the equipment. One method of achieving this is to install condition monitoring devices on pumps and motors to provide advanced warnings of any impending bearing failures.

In a recent example in Belgium, Schaeffler SmartCheck condition monitoring devices and CONCEPT2 automatic lubricators were installed on flood pumps and motors. Schaeffler’s Belgian customer has since seen a range of benefits, including the prevention of unplanned downtime to pumping stations, reduced maintenance costs and increased plant availability.

The customer is primarily responsible for water, air and environmental resources. The company’s area of responsibility includes maintaining the operation of pumping stations. In order to avoid flooding in its area of responsibility, it built a pumping station. A catch basin and three propeller pumps in the pumping station ensure that any excess water is pumped out and diverted accordingly.

However, inadequate pump monitoring led to the unforeseen failure of a bearing. As a result of this, the pump wheel began to vibrate, causing 5cm of wear to the pump housing.

To prevent pump failures due to bearing damage in the future, the customer sought a condition monitoring solution for the pumping station.

Local dealer Supplimax recommended installing six Schaeffler CONCEPT2 automatic lubrication systems for lubrication of bearings in the motors and pumps. CONCEPT2 supplies two lubrication points independently of each other and withstands pressures up to 50 bar.

Schaeffler also recommended installing nine SmartCheck condition monitoring devices to monitor the three pump/motor units. Two SmartChecks are installed per unit to monitor the upper and lower motor bearings, plus an additional SmartCheck on each of the pump bearings.

Any deviations or changes in vibration behaviour are detected by SmartCheck and reported via the customer’s control system, thus allowing incipient bearing damage to be detected at an early stage. Monitored parameters include vibration, temperature, speed and cavitation.

Supplimax will be providing future on-site service advice.

Table: Schaeffler estimates the savings of installing SmartCheck and CONCEPT2 on the basis of one occurrence of bearing damage per year.

Annual maintenance expenditure (8 h): €1,000

One-off expenditure for SmartChecks and CONCEPT2: €14,000

Pump damage without monitoring systems: €50,000

With monitoring system

Cost saving following initial occurrence of damage: €35,000

Cost saving with each subsequent occurrence of damage: €49,000

William Dalrymple

Related Companies
Schaeffler (UK) Ltd

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