Large distribution warehouse pump failure due to high lockdown demand

The Challenge

A large distribution warehouse for one of the most well-known supermarket chains in the United Kingdom suffered a sudden deterioration to their pumps and pump system due to increased demand.

Following a regular service visit, the Dura Pump team discovered that the pumps were not performing as they should, and many pumps were experiencing a reduced flow rate. Pump 1 was starting to display signs of bearing failure, which could be heard. The guide rails were beginning to rot and the pit was exceptionally full of debris. We recommended that a thorough clean of the pit should be carried out and our confined space engineers made entry to the pit to clean and inspect the NRVs.

After this initial service, our team was also receiving high-level alarm warnings from the remote monitoring text messaging system. The team discovered that the large quantity of rubble and gravel in the pit had only worsened. One NRV was blocked and had jammed the impeller of pump 2 and tripped out. When we raised the pumps, we found pump 1 was now the better of both pumps. The gravel had worn the impeller on pump 2 to almost half the original size! The pump 1 impeller, although worn, was still substantially better.

Pump 2 was immediately removed to our workshop to be stripped and further investigated. The repairs and remedial works were now exceptionally urgent to keep this important distribution warehouse operating to capacity.

Our Solution

With the system now in critical failure, we provided a super sucker tanker to clean and empty the pit. Our engineers made confined space entries into the pit, dismantled the NRVs and cleaned, unblocked and replaced the balls, which were heavily worn. The guide rails and guide rail brackets were removed and replaced with stainless steel guide rails to enhance the lifetime.

The first pump (pump 2) that was removed to our workshop for a full strip and overhaul was completed. New bearings, a mechanical seal, o rings and a new impeller had been fitted. We also performed a thorough clean, a repaint and a new oil refill. This was refitted to the pit and the second pump was removed to the workshop for its full overhaul.

We recommended drain tracing the system and a full drainage survey to find where the gravel and debris were entering the system. These services could prevent further failures and prevent future costly repairs.

The Results

Since the works were carried out, the pumps have performed well and have kept up with the incoming flow. There have been no more high-level alarms and no more breakdowns. With regular quarterly servicing and tank cleanouts to remove the gravel that enters the system, the customer is enjoying a reliable and trouble-free system.

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