|The PumpSmart PS200 control system from Goulds Pumps was instrumental in eliminating pump breakdowns in an important application at an aluminum recycling plant.|
High maintenance costs and frequent breakdowns associated with a water pump were eating into the bottom line at Scepter, an aluminum recycler. Through the installation of a pump equipped with Goulds Pumps’ (www.gouldspumps.com) PumpSmart, lifecycle costs were lowered and significant cost savings were achieved.
Over 100 billion aluminum cans are produced annually in the United States. Did you ever wonder where all of those cans wind up after they’re used? The aluminum can is the most recycled item in this country. Over 60 percent of them get processed for reuse in one form or another. And many of them find their way back to Scepter Inc.
Scepter recycles scrap aluminum. It produces reprocessed, cast aluminum ingots that are used by beverage manufacturers in making aluminum cans for their products. At the Scepter plant in New Johnsonville, Tenn., two furnaces are used for melting scrap aluminum. Each furnace is capable of processing thousands of cans. As the melted aluminum leaves the furnaces, it is poured into molds and cast into ingots. These ingots are then cooled down by water pumped from a cement pit and circulated back to a cooling tower. After the cooling liquid leaves the furnace area, the temperature of the liquid can reach over 200 F.
Stop-Start Causes Motor Problems
Scepters’ problems started with the pump used to circulate the cooling liquid. The pump was a six-inch (inlet), 88 horsepower submersible pump that had its motor submerged in the pit. Keeping a constant flow of liquid to the furnace meant the pump was working overtime. High cycle rates caused the pump to start and stop continually. This continuous starting and stopping caused the pump’s motor to fail. The motor failure happened three times over a one-year period. The repairs cost Scepter between $10,000 and $13,000 for each breakdown, not including plant downtime. These high maintenance costs were coupled with high energy consumption from the old existing pump. The combination of high maintenance and low efficiency meant that Scepter faced some serious cost and downtime problems that were eating into the company’s profits and productivity.
Wayne Keith, the plant manager at Scepter, was looking for solutions to help him eliminate the high energy and repair costs. He found help when Steve Green, a sales engineer for Tencarva Machinery Company of Nashville, Tenn. called on him. Green suggested replacing the old submersible pumping system with a Goulds Pumps’ 30 horsepower VIT model vertical turbine pump equipped with a PumpSmart PS200 unit and a liquid level controller. Green explained that the PumpSmart PS200 could be the answer to the costly pumping problems that Scepter was experiencing. He went on to explain how PumpSmart could easily save Scepter at least 30 percent in energy expenses alone.
The Smart Pump
Goulds Pumps’ PumpSmart system provides advanced pump control, protection, and optimization. In industrial applications, PumpSmart will assist in reducing and/or preventing pump failures that result from process upsets or inadvertent operator error. In hundreds of industrial installations, PumpSmart reduces overall pump operating costs through energy savings and reduced maintenance costs. The system also improves process control and awareness through advanced control options and automatic pump diagnostics.
In Scepter’s case, PumpSmart’s continuous monitoring and reaction to the pump performance conditions meant greater reliability and longer life. The plant manager was sold and the PumpSmart PS200 system was installed. The VIT had a TEFC motor that was mounted on a structural steel frame 10 feet below grade.
The system immediately eliminated the submersible pump failures due to high temperature and continuous cycle rates. In addition, by reducing horsepower requirements by 65 percent, savings in energy alone are estimated at $7,000 to $10,000 per year. The PumpSmart-equipped pump also eliminated the constant repair bills for fixing the old motors, totaling an estimated savings of $49,000 per year.
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