DRAGFLOW: Early Detection of Seals Damage

DRAGFLOW team is at work for a cutting edge project: design a new and reliable system to detect seals’ damages in submersible pumps. The goal is to reduce maintenance costs and water contamination’s risks.

This project is funded by FESR, Regional Development European Fund and is fulfill in collaboration with Heide Pumpen.

Submersible pumps are widely used for pumping water and sludge. Pumps for heavy duty applications are provided of a large oil chamber containing a significant amount of oil that serves for lubrication of internal components.

When the pump is used, the seals are subject to stress and wear, this means that it is essential to detect the initial damage in order to prevent major damages and spill of oil into water, causing pollution.

The main objective of the project is to develop a new and reliable system for early detection of seals damage in order to reduce maintenance costs and risks of contamination of surrounding water.

Nowadays, the major way to detect pump’s wear is the measurement of the water content in the oil chamber of the pump, if the content of water increases, the pump has to be shut down for a maintenance.

Sensors available today are based on the measurement of electrical features changes in the oil. Unfortunately, this type of sensors are not enough accurate, because the change of electrical features can be detected only when the content of water in the oil is over 30%, that means only when the damage is already catastrophic.

The new type sensor we are developing, is based on the fact that the change in the color of the oil is evident even with a very small percentage of water. This is truly a new approach that will require a large effort, initially to evaluate the type of sensor to be used and then for design and integration of the sensor into the pumps. But it will completely change submersible pumps’ maintenance,” DRAGFLOW stated.

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