by Preston Walker, Jr., Caliber Pump Repair
December 17, 2011


Inspections play a vital role in a preventive maintenance program. Inspections are conducted to determine the operation condition of pumps and associated equipment and help predict what corrective or preventive maintenance will be needed to prevent serious problems.
Inspection cannot be overlooked or falsified. It should be routine—daily or even weekly.

During a visual inspection, the operator should look for clogged drain lines, excessive leaking from packing glands, overheated bearings or bearings operating at higher than normal temperatures.

Improperly adjusted packing gland with no leak off
Improperly adjusted packing gland with no leak off

Listen for any unusual noise or vibration or anything uncommon when conducting a visual inspection. Vibration is associated with pump operation and must be addressed immediately before serious problems occur and the pump ultimately fails. Noisy bearings can be caused by vibration from loose bearings on the shaft or a failed shaft coupling.

An inspection checklist is a great way to ensure nothing is overlooked. I highly recommend that maintenance operators carry a copy of past inspection data to compare new findings. This will allow maintenance operators to detect any new problems and identify trends among the normal operations.

Operation condition may not be ideal to start and stop equipment. However, an inspection must be conducted before the next inspection cycle.
After inspections, maintenance operators must sit down with supervisors to discuss any problems found.
Supervisors must be able to prioritize concern and schedule preventive and corrective maintenance.
Although problems vary, corrective maintenance can be minimized with proper operation and preventive maintenance procedures.

Basics Checklist

  1. Packing glands must not be allowed to leak excessively and should be corrected.
  2. Bearings must have the proper amount of grease and fit clean to prevent premature failure.
  3. Vibration must be addressed, or serious pump failure will result.
  4. Maintenance operators must document all finds and express their concerns so the proper corrective or preventive maintenance action will occur.

Pumps & Systems, September 2010