Continuous monitoring of pump health and performance helps prevent leaks, conserve water and protect the environment.
When fluid transfer is essential to an operation, remote pump monitoring by way of pump telemetry is a game changer. It increases the efficiency of pumping operations, reducing labor requirements and cutting costs. It also helps organizations across multiple industries improve their sustainability.
Increasingly, project owners, stockholders and other stakeholders want to see sustainability efforts put in place. Even small measures can add up to meaningful reductions in environmental impact. Remote pump monitoring is one of those measures, and instead of adding costs, it typically reduces them.
Environmental benefits of remote pump monitoring
Moving fluids from point A to point B with the help of pumps can sometimes affect the environment in negative ways, including leaks and spills, the burning of fossil fuel and the emission of greenhouse gases. Here’s a look at the benefits of remote pump monitoring when it comes to mitigating these impacts.
Minimizing leaks and spills
Spills in a pipeline carrying fresh water squander a precious natural resource. A leak or spill of wastewater or chemical-laden fluid can result in short-term environmental harm and long-term adverse effects on the groundwater and people living in the area. An unmonitored pump, pipe or hose could leak fluids for hours before anyone notices.
With remote pump station monitoring, users can set up alerts that notify them via phone, tablet or computer when metrics such as flow and pressure deviate from the expected norm. A drop could indicate a leak in a pipe or hose. Technicians who receive an alert can rush to the site to determine the problem and solve it. Better still, operators can set up automatic pump shutdown to limit the damage while personnel make their way to the pump station.
Data from a remote pump monitoring system can also enable improved pump maintenance. By monitoring diagnostics such as engine coolant temperatures and even the condition of pump seals, technicians can identify and fix problems before they result in pump failure or a leak. Preventive maintenance of pumps can also extend the useful life of the equipment, limiting the extraction of natural resources needed to manufacture new pumps.
Reducing fuel use and emissions
When pumps are performing optimally, they generate fewer emissions and use less fuel.
Pump telemetry data including engine hours, oil levels, fuel levels and diagnostic fault codes enables more proactive preventive maintenance.
Remote monitoring can reduce fuel consumption in several additional ways. By monitoring pump fuel levels remotely, operators can ensure that fuel deliveries are made only when necessary, which reduces miles driven. Telemetry on rental pumps can reduce trips made by the equipment vendor to manually check engine hours, which drive service intervals.
Industries that can benefit from remote pump monitoring
Many industries can incorporate remote pump monitoring to save money and improve their sustainability record. Here are a few examples.
Upstream oil and gas industry
Water transport companies move clean water to fracking sites via miles-long pumping systems. Remote monitoring coupled with automatic shutoff allows companies to stem the loss of water when a leak occurs. Remote monitoring of the systems used to move produced water into storage pits helps prevent spills that could lead to fracking water contamination of the groundwater.
Power generation industry
Sustainable companies protect the health and safety of their workers. When temporary pumps are brought in during plant outages, they are typically squeezed into small spaces. Remote monitoring keeps workers out of these spaces, which may pose a risk of close encounters with moving equipment.
Similar to pump monitoring, tank monitoring can be used to safeguard worker health. Any water that spills onto a plant floor could endanger people working with electrical equipment. Remotely monitoring water levels in tanks helps prevent overflows.
During sewer bypassoperations, operators can monitor flow rates using pump telemetry and adjust the rates remotely to achieve optimum flow. That helps prevent sewage backups into homes or businesses and reduces the risk of a raw sewage leak that could cause water quality issues and health problems for people in the area.
Every trip farmers have to make into their fields to check on irrigation pumps results not only in lost time but also fuel burned by the vehicle they drive. With remote monitoring, farmers can monitor their pumps from afar. They can also set the irrigation system to automatically start and stop as needed, optimizing pump operation time and potentially conserving thousands of gallons of water, not to mention preserving crops. Notifications of pressure drops that could indicate pipe bursts also minimize water waste.
A simple solution that pays off
Some pumps come with telematics technology installed. For pumps that don’t, a small box containing a GPS receiver, computer control board and satellite antenna can easily be added. Adopting this technology cuts labor costs by minimizing or eliminating the need to keep personnel at pumping sites. Beyond that, it moves the needle on sustainability.
Remote pump monitoring is one piece of the larger sustainability puzzle. Each piece helps companies and other organizations reduce their impact on the planet while demonstrating to stakeholders that they are serious about shrinking their carbon footprint.