Alleviating Supply Challenges: Exploit the benefits of modular design in electric pump packages

By RJ Gates and Melissa Wright, Franklin Electric   

Features configurator design Franklin Electric modular electric pumps online packages Pioneer Electric

Process application of a Pioneer ElectricPAK selected with the Franklin Electric online tool FE Select.

In any industrial processing situation, a dependable pumping system that is designed around a facility’s unique application needs is essential for optimum productivity. Pumps are an integral part of any facility’s overall performance and output; reliability, low maintenance and steady operation are crucial.

At a time when labour costs are on the rise and raw materials are scarce, these factors have never been more important. Just as important is assuring that the pumps and motors operate at optimum efficiency. These needs are driving electric packages towards a growing trend in manufacturing: modularization.

Modular electric pump packages offer high efficiency, low horsepower consumption and streamlined maintenance, helping to reduce operating costs over the life of the system. In addition to reliability, a modular design that is built using standard, interchangeable parts also deliver upfront time savings for the system designer. Custom-built units take longer to engineer and often require specialized parts. A modular design makes the sizing and quoting process faster and the use of interchangeable parts drives down lead time.

Modular electric packages include a rigid bracket design, known as a motor stool, that keeps the pump and motor permanently aligned, saving countless hours of installation and service time.

What makes a design modular? And can these packages still provide the flexibility in options needed in an industrial processing application? Here’s a closer look at the benefits these systems offer:

Motor Stool Design

Any electric pump package must be designed in a way that ensures alignment between the pump and motor shafts. Alignment is a labour-intensive process that can be overlooked or not performed when a unit is initially installed. If this happens, it can lead to long-term vibration-related maintenance challenges, including seal failures, unexpected power losses and — in worst case scenario situations — a broken shaft. A modular design requires special attention be paid to rigidity between the pump and motor.

However, there is a solution: using a bracket that rigidly connects the pump and motor together. This bracket, also known as a motor stool, is engineered to precise tolerances to ensure that the coupling remains permanently aligned and protected, saving countless hours of service time. In addition, the electric package can be moved and transported freely without the need to perform a realignment. The system is engineered specifically with heavy-duty, suction lift applications in mind.

Cost & Time Savings

Due to current material scarcity, custom packages may not be the most viable option when pumps are needed urgently. Custom packages often take longer to build and are more complicated to engineer. With pre-determined product selection options, a modular package design provides the ability to save time on the front end of the selection process without sacrificing the flexibility and efficiency of an engineered product.

On the back end of delivery, product procurement and installation are also streamlined. There’s no need for time-consuming alignment work upon delivery or whenever the unit is moved. The system designer may determine that grouting is not required due to the rigid alignment, opting instead to just secure the package to a rigid slab with anchors. The modular design can also be disassembled quickly for reduced service and maintenance time.

Configuration Options

Modular electric packages can be reconfigured easily to accommodate different end use needs. The different options allow users to select the most efficient package that meets the performance requirements of the unique application. Below are typical interchangeable options:

  • Premium efficiency electric motors. These come in an extensive range of horsepower options, and these choices allow users to select the most efficient pump and motor combination for the desired duty point and energy consumption.
  • High-performance pumps. Pump configurations offered include vacuum-assisted and standard centrifugal configurations. Material options include stainless steel or ductile. Pumps can also include a specific impeller trim that achieves the head pressure and flow rate needed for the application.
  • Platform options. Packages are available on heavy-duty stationary base platform configurations for typical fixed pump installations, with the option to add a drag skid underneath base for portable applications. Precut holes in the stationary base allows the package to be permanently anchored to the mounting surface.
  • These ca include a single point lifting bail, pressure gauges and pump drains.

Determining the Best Configuration for the Application

When it comes to comparing and selecting the best pump for an application’s needs, online tools can provide guidance and allow selections to be made across multiple product categories for a single application.

Online tools streamline the selection process and allow users to quickly configure and quote a pump package based on their application inputs.

Here’s one example of how the online tool FE Select assists with product selection, using the performance requirements of a processing application. FE Select, from Franklin Electric, is secure and free-to-use. Users input parameters, and the tool does the rest: fully specifying what products are recommended, including the necessary components, a list price quote for the system, and links to related product documentation and performance curves.

The online tool walks through the process from start to finish. Users can do either a basic search that requires only primary application data, such as flow and total dynamic head demands; or a more advanced selection that considers some additional variables unique to the situation.

The user’s application inputs generate several results, sorted by hydraulic efficiency. The list can easily be narrowed down based on the parameters that are most important to the user: suction/discharge size, power requirements, NPSHr and other relevant factors.

For electric pump packages, FE Select offers a configurator tool that provides users with clear visibility of product selection, price breakdown, available options, and overall product performance on the performance curve.

Once a user finds the ideal pump and impeller size that fits their performance needs, they can easily continue from the pump curve page into the configurator tool. Here they can customize an electric pump package to meet their application requirements. This gives users the ability to build out their unique package quote with live line-item pricing updates; there is no need to wait on quote requests and responses to sales inquiries. After selecting and pricing an electric package, users can save their quote to either view later, or move their selection into the ordering process.

Modularization of electric pump packages will streamline how industrial processing facilities select and procure pumping systems. Users stand to gain not only improved performance but also ease in sizing, lead time, and ease of use.

RJ Gates is a Global Director of Product Management and Melissa Wright is a Marketing Strategist at Franklin Electric.


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