Overcome These Barriers for Wastewater Plant Efficiency

We have provided pumps and pumping systems for numerous wastewater plants across Australia. We thought it might be helpful to tell you about these barriers to increasing wastewater plant efficiency and how to overcome them.

Is it Really Funding?

Sometimes it seems like it is impossible to get the funding necessary for improving efficiency in a wastewater or water plant. If often feels like we are dependent upon grants, hard-to-obtain financing or other forms of funding. But is it really all about the money? Here are what we see as the real barriers keeping you from obtaining funding.

Making a Convincing Case on the Business End

It is important to convince the people holding the purse strings that it is in their best interest to replace it given part or system that is affecting planned efficiency. It is important to show where all of the savings are during the life cycle of a given piece of equipment. This includes future replacement, maintenance costs, system reliability and labour time

The more comprehensive you are on presenting an accurate picture of the cost, the easier it is to obtain funding.

Overcome These Barriers for Wastewater Plant Efficiency - Pumps and Pumping Solutions

Risk Management

Ultimately, we are in the risk management business. Our wastewater and water treatment infrastructure helps protect both public and environmental health. That is why the permits and treatment requirements are so strict. What are perceived risk is actually real or not, there is a certain amount of uncertainty that comes with modifying wastewater systems.

When this uncertainty causes delay, it can cost money and lower output and efficiency. It is important to have access to documentation that a proposed change will benefit your operation.

Updated Training

Equipment and procedures change almost daily as technology continues to progress at an ever quickening rate. It is important that your employees are trained in how to maximize smart technology and other advances in the field.

Call Pump Solutions Australasia Today

To learn more or to enquire about pumps or pumping systems, call us today: 1300 793 418.

Outsourcing Maintenance: Why it is Better than In-House Maintenance

While many know us only as a prolific importer of pumps in Australia, we also offer a full menu of maintenance services. We import the best high quality pumps from around the world, but even a high quality pump is worthless if it is not properly maintained.

From mining to manufacturing to massive water treatment facilities, pumps must be maintained on a regular basis to work at optimum efficiency and with minimal downtime. This raises an important question: “Should maintenance be outsourced or should it be handled in-house?”

For consumers in everyday life, this question usually has an easy answer. If a person needs their car fixed, they take it to a mechanic. If their plumbing is leaking, they call a plumber. If someone has the talent and know how to do the work themselves, they often do it themselves to save money. Sadly, though, they often end up paying more to have a professional repair their repair job then they would have paid to just consult a professional in the first place.

In many industrial settings, however, businesses tend to handle their maintenance in-house. In situations where they feel that constant ongoing maintenance is required, they feel that it is easier and more efficient to handle it in-house instead of having to call someone else in an emergency.

Why it is Better than In-House Pumps Maintenance

While this approach works well for many, it is also increasingly more difficult in an age where specialization has become more prominent. In today’s competitive environment, companies tend to hire people who specialize in one thing and do it well. In theory, this allows everyone to concentrate on what they do best. But does it really work like that with specialised equipment such as pumps?

Most maintenance departments are good at keeping things running through preventative maintenance. This is a progression from the era when most maintenance was reactive: when something broke you would fix it. While preventive maintenance is effective in many cases, it still doesn’t keep machinery from breaking down. This is especially relevant with specialised machinery such as pumps.

Today, the best approach is called predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance is just as it sounds. You fix your equipment before it breaks down. This saves on downtime, which can make a significant difference in revenue for any business.

However, predictive maintenance requires a wealth of knowledge about specialised equipment. It also requires the proper tools. Does your business have a pump specialist who has the knowledge and equipment necessary to keep your pumps running 24/7/365 without breaking down?

Why Outsourcing is More Effective for Pumps

When you outsource maintenance for pumps, this allows you to have experts in the field who specialize in various aspects of pump maintenance and repair. You can hire people whose expertise is not only in pumps, but even more specialized. You can hire people who work only on pumps, motors, seals and valves.

While most maintenance staffs are quite talented, especially when it comes to everyday problems, what happens when they run into uncommon problems? Even with high quality pumps, there are going to be problems that your in-house maintenance staff just haven’t seen before.

If your maintenance staff is unable to solve a problem that requires a specialised skill set and specialised tools, it can cost you thousands of dollars and even result in you having to replace expensive equipment.

Can you afford to take that risk?

Hire the Experts at Pump Solutions Australasia

If you want the best maintenance in the business, check out Pump Solutions Australasia. We are the most prolific importers and distributors of pumps and Australia, but we are much more than that. We provide a full range of solutions for businesses of any size. From submersible pumps to giant pumping systems in the water and wastewater industries, we have more than 25 years of experience in providing pumps, repair and maintenance.

When we started in 1990 as Pumps and Services Australia, we built large engineered vacuum systems. We built the first engineered vacuum system for the Geraldton Fish Markets. This system, which transports fish from boats to the wharf, is still in use today. We have the people, the equipment and the know-how to keep your pumping system running at maximum efficiency with minimal downtime.

To learn more about how we can save you time, money and hassle, call Pump Solutions Australasia today: 1300 793 418.

Why Engineers are Risk Averse and Why We Agree With Them

If you have ever checked out the “about us” section here, you will notice that we were founded by a migrant German engineer who was responsible for many major innovations, including the system still in use for transporting fish at the Geraldton Fish Market. While we now concentrate on importing the best pumps from around the world into Australia, we have never forgotten our roots.

We still approach our jobs here like engineers. While we do provide individual pumps, we also help create enormous pumping systems. As we like to say, we don’t just sell pumps, we provide solutions. Here’s some insight as to why we think this way.

Through an Engineer’s Eyes

Have you ever thought of what life might look like through an engineer’s eyes? Engineers have created most of what gets us through our day. Think of your alarm clock, your appliances, the car you drive to work in, the buildings along the way, the satellites and electronic parts that make your smartphone work. They were all designed by engineers. And they were designed to do their jobs, every day, over and over.

Why Engineers are Risk Averse and Why We Agree - Pumps Importer in Australia

Engineers are risk averse because they have to be. Their creations either work or they don’t work. There is no way to rationalize a malfunctioning piece as being “correct.” If your pump moves fluids, it works. If it doesn’t move fluids, it doesn’t work. The seal on a pump either keeps the pump from leaking or it doesn’t. The valve opens and closes or it stays stuck in one position.

If the product doesn’t do what it is supposed to, it is the engineer’s job to make it right.

In pumping systems, as in any large industrial system, pumps are designed and manufactured for one particular purpose. Most engineers find the initial design phase to be fairly easy. However, it becomes difficult quickly. It starts with describing and designing individual parts. The materials must be specified. The dimensions and tolerances must be described to the smallest detail.

An engineer’s typical drawing may contain as many as 1,000 symbols. If even two of them are transposed, parts don’t fit right and the entire unit doesn’t work.

When the part gets to the typical manufacturer, they want to relax the tolerances. Accountants want the product to cost less to make. Sometimes people want to remove parts and features to simplify their inventories.

Also, industry requirements can change. This can include more pressure, more flow and more variance of temperature. Marketing arms often want the product out in a half of a year when it takes a year to get it right.

Engineers are often pressured to decrease tolerances and to “let some things go.” And under ideal conditions, the system may still perform. But the more variation the engineers allow, the more the chance that the entire system will fail when it is needed the most: under pressure. Whether caused by maximum flow, higher temperatures or more pressure, systems need to be made fail-safe.

It all comes down to one question: “How much risk is the engineer willing to take?”

Why This Is Important When Selecting Pumps

We don’t like to see risks taken when manufacturing pumps or creating large pumping systems. We know that thousands and occasionally millions of dollars can be at stake. We believe in taking no risk and ensuring peak performance under the most trying of conditions.

And that is why we choose only the finest manufacturers when we are importing pumps into Australia. We only work with manufacturers who have built reputations for making the most dependable products in the world. We want manufacturers who are constantly improving their products. We want manufacturers who listen to their engineers and never take risks when it comes to putting their product to market.

The end result is that our customers have minimal downtime and maximum efficiency. Whether it’s one pump or an entire wastewater processing plant, our customers know they are working with a company that is as risk averse as any engineer they know. And that is how it should be.

To learn more or to enquire about any of our pumps, call Pump Solutions Australia today: 1300 793 418.

Pumps and Pumping Systems: How to Manage Life-Cycle Costs

We provide a lot of pumps for many different industries in Australia. Our customers represent a diverse cross-section of different industries. But if there’s one thing they all have in common, it’s that everyone is concerned about the costs of their pumping systems.

However, many are concerned about the front end or initial costs, but don’t pay enough attention to life-cycle costs. This is the cost of operating the equipment for the duration of its effective life. Everyone pays attention to how much a pumping system costs and how much it costs to install. But they aren’t the only factors that decide whether or not a pumping system is providing a great ROI or return on investment.

Pumps and Pumping Systems: How to Manage Life-Cycle Costs

Here is a short list of factors that determine the real cost of your pumping system.

  • Purchase price: equipment and support system
  • Commissioning and installation
  • Maintenance costs: labour and materials
  • Operating cost: labour
  • Support system maintenance and repair
  • Energy costs
  • Environmental factors
  • Downtime and associated loss of production
  • Decommissioning and disposal

Evaluation Techniques

One of the easiest tools for assessing life-cycle costs is Simple Payback or SPB. The initial investment costs are divided by the savings per year to produce the SPB, or the time it will take you to recoup your initial investment.

If a pumping system costs you $2,000 dollars and saves you $1,000 a year, the SPB is two years. If the expected life of the pump is three years, you are running “free” for the last year. But if the expected life of the pump or system is ten years, you will be running “free” for eight years.

Internal rate of return is a number that takes the life expectancy of the pump into consideration. The longer, the life, the higher the rate of return.

Choose High Quality Pumps

At Pump Solutions Australasia, we only sell high quality pumps that are going to last a long time. This is going to provide you with the best rate of return. It is also going to reduce your downtime and the lost revenue that often goes with it.

To learn more, call us today: 1300 793 418.

Root Cause Analysis: the Five P’s System and How it Relates to Pumping Systems

At Pump Solutions Australasia, we don’t just sell pumps: we provide pumping solutions. And one of the best solutions to a major problem is called root cause analysis. When a part goes bad, it is tempting to just replace it and keep going. But what about the underlying problem? What made the part go bad in the first place?

Here’s an example of a major pharmaceutical company in the US that could have had a tragedy instead of the “near miss” situation they were able to fix.

At the Eli Lily pharmaceutical plant, a materials basked was being used in a four storey tank. As the basket was being moved to a new location, the cable which held the basket snapped without warning. This caused the basket to fall against the side of the tank. There was nothing in the basket at the time, so there were no injuries.

The incident could have been ignored as minor. The cable could have been replaced and the incident could have been attributed to cable fatigue. In fact, this is just what a lot of companies would have done to keep production going. However, the investigator, Jeffrey S Brown, decided to use a Root Cause Failure Analysis (RCFA)software to find out why the cable really broke.

When the cable originally broke, none of the operators saw anything they felt was unusual. All they saw was a broken cable and a falling basket. However, when the RCFA software was deployed, it was found that one of the major causes of the cable failure was failed safety switches. The cable had a block pulley system which came into contact with the cable drum. This caused the cable to snap.

When the cable was tested for strength, it was found to be well within manufacturer’s specifications. In other words, the cable itself wasn’t a factor.

Pumps in Australia - Root Cause Analysis

The Five P’s System

Are we suggesting you go out and buy software? No, but we do want you to know about the Five P’s system of root cause analysis. The five P’s stand for “parts, position, paper, people and paradigms.” While the data in this case was collected by software, the method is sound and can be used to get great results without software.

In this case, “parts” meant collecting the broken parts and also inspecting parts that may or may not have been affected by the process but were connected to it somehow. It is important to inspect all relevant parts before they are replaced or thrown out.

“Position” meant taking photos of the exact position of all of the equipment at the time of the incident. Position is important because small differences in position can greatly affect the outcome. This technique is used in many investigations over many different fields.

“Paper” meant having access to the latest data on when parts were last maintained or replaced, a manual for the system, a Job Safety Analysis and a recent inspection report.

“People” meant interviewing everyone present during the incident. It also involved interviewing those who had inspected the cable, the switches and any other parts.

“Paradigm” is an important part of the process, too. In this case, the paradigm was that “the switches had never failed before, so they won’t fail now.” It also involved the cable having an emergency switch that would reverse the direction of the pulley block, preventing contact with the drum.

Ultimately, it was found that when the pulley block contacts the drum, it creates a locked rotor position. This greatly increased torque, which was enough to cause the cable to snap. The safety switches were analyzed and were found to have not activated in time to prevent the incident.

Thanks to the root cause analysis, the facility was able to increase the distance between the block and the drum, providing what they called a “safety area” and giving the switches more time to activate. They also modified the Standard Operating Procedure for the materials basket.

What it Means for Your Pumps or Pumping Systems

We always recommend at least an elementary form of root cause analysis when any piece of equipment malfunctions. We are happy to help you replace your pumps parts, but we would much rather see you solve the problem.

To learn more about high quality pumps, call Pump Solutions Australasia today: 1300 793 418.