Detecting water pump bearing failure
Bearing failures in water pumps are common problems and usually cause headaches for maintenance teams in various sectors. With the water collection pumps at Vale’s Gelado Dam in Parauapebas, Pará, this issue was no different. A fault identified by remote sensoring in a bearing avoided an unexpected stop in the operation.
Water pumps are equipment used for fine ore filtration. The activity occurs when the slurry is sent from the extracted material to the production line, where the pump helps in the separation process, an extremely important stage for the resale of the ore.
In operational issues, there is difficulty of access from one piece of equipment to the other, since the distance between them is 15 km. For this reason, the displacement of the technicians hinders the maintenance process and increasesthe necessary repairs in hours.
Based on this analysis, a project for remote monitoring of the pumps was implemented, aiming at improving the operational efficiency and decreasing considerably the rate of failures presented in the equipment.
The high failure rate in the equipment came from problems presented in the pumps’ bearings and was the necessary alert for the maintenance team to assertively act on these defects.
According to history, this type of failure results in recurrent equipment breakdowns that impair the entire filtration process.
Application gains and technology use in the pump
With the sensors remote monitoring and the interactive graph, the monitoring and analysis of the equipment’s condition became more assertive.
The Waterfall evolution, a visualization technique available in the DynaPredict Platform was essential in the process of diagnosing the evolution of failure modes.
Among the project’s benefits, the assertiveness of remote monitoring and anticipation of failures is the greatest.
According to Felipe Pimenta, Specialized Technician in Predictive Maintenance II, “the visualization of interfaces and the various forms of analysis with frequency ranges of the platform were crucial. The autocorrelation is a tool that we use a lot to get signals and impacts of defects in the pump bearings” he says.
The sensors brought greater assertiveness in maintenance and reduced the difficulty of access and travel time for technicians in the necessary repairs. Thus, the maintenance team gained in safety, man-hour (H/H), action programming with the MCP, and gasoline savings.
Still according to Felipe “the project’s results were enormous and evident in the reports panel that we use to perform all the services, impacting positively in our KPIs and generating millions in gain”.