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Ensure pump startup runs smoothly by avoiding common mistakes.


When discussing projects with engineers at shows and exhibitions, the same questions and conversations about commissioning a new progressive cavity (PC) pump seem to arise time and time again. PC pumps are commonly designed with features to make maintenance and installation user friendly. When commissioning a new pump, users may wonder what they should expect when using a PC pump for the first time. Before initially using the pump, remember the 10 things in this article to avoid many first-time mistakes.

1. Align belts and sheaves. Belt-driven units can be both versatile and reliable, but improper setup and maintenance practices can lead to premature belt failure. Inaccurate or negligent configuration can also have a severe impact on the operating life of motors and driven components. Confirm the belt drive setup prior to startup, because these components may shift during the process of transportation or installation. When verifying setup, check that the sheaves are aligned within the pump’s tolerance.

2. Confirm wiring and belt drive tension. Confirm that electric power leads are wired per the wiring diagram. This should also be verified by either the plant’s electrician or the contractor’s electrician. Lastly, confirm the pump’s rotation via a short “bump test.” Check the belt tension and confirm it is as described in the operating manual. If needed, adjust belt tension.

3. Protect from short circuit issues.General electrical checkpoints should be verified for proper commissioning. If the fusers or trip points are set too low it can cause operational risks and problems, while electrical system components could be damaged if they are set too high. It is highly encouraged that the plant electrician be present along with the controls supplier during this verification.

4. Ensure required voltage.Work with the plant or contract electrician to make sure that the required voltage is available. The motor leads for the operating amp and line voltage should be checked at the motor conduit box. Additionally, verify electric circuits are properly protected with sufficient fuse, breakers and the appropriate time delay settings. The starting torque for a PC pump is high compared to other types of pumps and then becomes linear with speed after the initial startup phase. PC pumps are often driven by variable frequency drives (VFDs). Be sure to consult a VFD expert to properly adjust parameters.


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