Replacement headaches - Billericay Farm Services (BFS) had been using the same Girdlestone URF centrifugal pumps for the last 32 years to pump liquid fertilizer to and from the mixers.
The 13 pumps (along with three spares) had given long-term reliable service but had eventually become uneconomic to repair. The original pumps were no longer being manufactured and so BFS was faced with finding a suitable replacement. The original Girdlestone design had given such good, long service that BFS was reluctant to compromise on the proven reliability of the existing pumps by purchasing a lower specification imported pump. Furthermore, although pumps with a similar hydraulic performance could be purchased, these would necessitate expensive modification to the pipework and a long downtime for the plant, the cost of which far outweighed that of any replacement pumps.
Amarinth had for a number of years been supplying companies using Girdlestone pumps with re-engineered parts that extended the life of pumps and could be used to upgrade performance. Amarinth had also designed a significant number of pumps that were both hydraulically and dimensional interchangeable with Girdlestone pumps, negating the need to make any expensive pipework or baseplate modifications. BFS had purchased replacement and re-engineered parts for its Girdlestone pumps from Amarinth in the past and so knew that Amarinth had unsurpassed knowledge of the Girdlestone products and could produce an interchangeable unit.
The pump chosen to replace the ageing Girdlestone units was an Amarinth U series. This pump delivered the same or better hydraulic performance as the Girdlestone pumps and would fit into the existing footprint with no installation problems. However, it turned out that the delivery position of the existing pumps was non-standard. Amarinth attended site and took specific measurements to ensure the pumps being supplied were modified so that they not only met the current hydraulic performance envelope, but also mated perfectly with the existing pipework. The new bespoke U series pumps were commissioned and installed as planned without the need for any expensive and time consuming pipework or baseplate modifications, allowing continued production with minimal downtime.
A planned programme of change
The new pumps have continued to operate totally reliably since their installation. Unlike the original pumps that had packed glands, the new pumps have been upgraded to modern mechanical seal technology and so should last for at least another 32 years. As the existing pumps become uneconomical to repair, BFS now has a programme to replace them with new Amarinth pumps, secure in the knowledge that this will cause little disruption to the production processes.
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