Nothing is more important to plant operators than the smooth running of their pump systems. Detailed analysis offered by KSB SupremeServ helps to pinpoint problems and identify potential for improvement. Bernhard Salamon is one of our service experts who inspects systems on site. Even if the journey takes a little longer.
For Bernhard Salamon, fear of flying isn’t really an option. Especially for assignments more than 100 kilometres from the mainland. This job saw the 36-year-old service engineer boarding a helicopter to fly to an offshore platform far out in the North Sea. His mission: To analyse the plant’s pumping system in order to investigate failures in the cooling water supply.
The platform’s operator feeds clean wind energy into the German power grid. Difficulties with the cooling water were reducing the power transmitted – a true problem. To identify the cause, Salamon spent eight days examining the system which comprised not only pumps, but also ancillary equipment such as piping, valves and control electronics. The challenge: The submersible borehole pumps are installed 20 metres below sea level.
The KSB SupremeServ expert carried out extensive measurements and identified the fault. Air pockets in the piping system were the main cause. Having swiftly identified the problem, opening the drain valve provided short-term relief. But finding a permanent solution required Salamon to develop some suitable proposals. He recommended adapting the piping and installing a customised monitoring unit – tailor-made by KSB engineers for this particular application. The customer was happy – and so was the service engineer. “That was an absolutely extraordinary assignment,” says Bernhard Salamon. A regular working day for the family man may look less spectacular, but his task remains the same. “My colleagues from KSB SupremeServ and I conduct a detailed analysis of various possibilities available for system optimisation.” This means reducing a system’s energy consumption or identifying and eliminating the causes of damage.
A prerequisite for the best possible energy efficiency and trouble-free operation is that operators perfectly coordinate all of their components. KSB can help with this. Sometimes an analysis may be necessary if the operating data of a system change, for example due to increased production levels. The System Efficiency Service – as the analysis is called – provides detailed recommendations for implementing appropriate technical adaptations.
Although the specialists travel all over the world to visit their customers, most of their assignments are in Germany. They often work in power stations, industrial and chemical plants, pumping stations and waterworks. Each assignment begins with a thorough system analysis. “To perform this, we install our measurement equipment in our customer’s system,” Salamon explains. This so-called data logger then gathers information for up to two weeks. “During this site visit we also get well acquainted with the system’s structural situation, which helps later when working out solution proposals.” The service professionals also liaise closely with customers to obtain all key information on the system’s operating conditions.
After the measuring equipment has been dismantled, the data recorded can be evaluated – which sometimes involves real detective work. “I need to dig into the detail and understand what’s actually going on in the system, and if necessary why something is going wrong,” Salamon says. Helpful here is not only his seven years’ experience as a service professional, but also his broad knowledge of numerous products and applications. After all, no two systems are the same in terms of temperatures and pressures.
But Salamon is not left to struggle alone. Once he has assessed the complex data, he consults with numerous colleagues to find the best solution for the customer’s system. Employees from Sales, Product Management and Service pool their expertise. In the end, this know-how flows into a report that the customer receives. When presenting his findings, the service expert recommends concrete action to maximise energy efficiency and ensure that pumps and systems run economically. The tips generally concern the system infrastructure, which can often be significantly improved by making adjustments such as installing new components for controlling and monitoring the system’s equipment.
The System Efficiency Service employees are all-round talents. In addition to measuring and analysing data, they also prepare quotations and present their services in direct talks when visiting customers and at events – in close liaison with their colleagues from field sales. Preparing for an assignment also takes time: Setting up the measuring equipment, packing the service vehicle and familiarising yourself with the operating data and the application. Only then is it time to head off to the customer.
“It’s fun getting to grips with an issue, figuring it out and making the customer happy,” Salamon says. Especially when it comes to acute system problems, operators are glad to get help quickly. “I have one of the most varied jobs at KSB,” says the service specialist. “Every assignment offers new challenges for which I have to find individual solutions.” Just the right task for a service detective.