Hugh Vaughan, UK and Eire director at Landia, stresses the importance of an effective back up service for pumps and mixers, to avoid waiting weeks for replacement parts and incurring significant downtime costs while you do so
Pumps and mixers play an important role in process plants, but there is virtually no back up service for most of the pumps and mixers being specified. Hugh Vaughan, said: “Even the best pumps and mixers can go wrong sometimes, but those about to invest need to take a very serious look at the costs and aggro caused when their supplier tells them they’ve got to wait 6 weeks for spares – though some will be keen to get you to pay a premium for a ‘temporary’ replacement!”.
End-users must take a much closer look at what they are paying for, especially if they are investing in a complete plant, where pumps and mixers are included as part of a package.
“If, for example, you are planning to reap the benefits of renewable energy,” he said, “downtime means NO gas, NO electricity being generated, and NO money. There are also plenty of pumps and mixers out there that just aren’t up to the job anyway. Handling some forms of feedstock are difficult and will inevitably cause breakdowns to inadequate equipment that’s been incorrectly specified by some so-called ‘biogas consultant’.”
He continued: “Even the most durable kit will at minimum require preventative maintenance, so you need to treat this important purchase more like an insurance policy and see how you’re covered for when things can and do go pear-shaped.
“Does your pump and mixer supplier actually have any skilled, experienced engineers out on the road that can get to you quickly? – or are you ready to get into that lovely slurry pit, drag out that pain in the backside knackered pump that’s broken down yet again, stick it on a pallet and send it on a six week holiday whilst you lose all your biogas revenue?”
A prime example
Vaughan cited the recent example of Nuffield Health Shrewsbury Hospital, who were let down by the failure of one pump, followed almost immediately by the second – only to be told by their supplier that replacement parts needed for repair would take at least six weeks.
This gave the Nuffield maintenance team no other option than to bring in two tankers per day to remove the effluent – at a cost of well over £600 per load.
Brian Forster, resident engineer for Norland Managed Services, commented: “We felt very let down, but Landia restored our faith by rolling up their sleeves and immediately getting stuck in to help find a quick yet long term economic solution.”
Landia’s solution saw the installation of a 5.5kW MPTK Cutter Pump with external knife system, which can handle hospital waste with a high content of solids, without breaking down.
Forster added: “Not only do we now have a first class pumping system in place, but importantly we have the peace of mind of Landia’s fast turnaround and back up service to help us out if necessary.”
As well as designing in the interface for the retrofit to the existing pumping system, Landia also fitted a submersible well pump for Nuffield Health Shrewsbury Hospital to keep the dry-well clear of water.