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Solve vertical pump motor vibration: Knowledge of common vibratory forces helps diagnose and correct problems

Processing Magazine
Publication date: 
February 2017
Gene Vogel, EASA Pump & Vibration Specialist

High vibration is a common problem for motors that are installed on top of vertical pumps. Its source can be a mechanical issue with the pump, motor or coupling or even hydraulic forces from the pump. Structural issues involving “reed frequency” resonance often amplify the problem, but effective diagnosis must begin with an understanding of the underlying vibratory forces. Although the general vertical pump category includes submersibles, this article focuses solely on the ones that most commonly exhibit high-vibration conditions: surface-mounted pumps with the motor bolted to a pedestal on top.

Topics covered in this article include:

  • Mass unbalance
  • Coupling type and alignment
  • Mechanical action of pump shaft & impeller
  • Hydraulic action of fluid
  • Resonant frequencies
  • Basic frequency analysis
  • Trim balancing
  • Other possibilities
  • Vertical pump troubleshooting checklist