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  • David Mitchell

To Repair or Replace? Why Repairing Your Industrial Pumps Is Often the Way to Go!

close up of industrial pump distributed by estabrook

Owen Stiegelmeier, founder and original owner of Estabrook Corporation, standing next to one of the first repair jobs.
Owen Stiegelmeier, founder and original owner of Estabrook Corporation, standing next to one of the first repair jobs.

Since 1965, Estabrook, locally owned in Northeast Ohio, has supported industrial markets in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and upstate New York with its repair expertise, the roots of which trace deep into its history. At its founding, Estabrook was focused solely on repair. Over the years, Estabrook has developed its expertise around applications with fluid movement, starting with the pump and evolving its acumen into technologies such as seals and valves. By working hand in hand with our customers, we have provided countless engineered solutions that still exceed our customer’s expectations!

My Industrial Pump Broke Down...Now What?

Industrial pumps are an essential part of many manufacturing and processing operations. They are responsible for transporting liquids, gases, and other substances through various systems, and their malfunction can lead to considerable downtime and lost productivity.

When an industrial pump breaks down, companies have a difficult decision: should they repair it, replace it, or leave it unrepaired? Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. Generally, repairing the pump is the most cost-effective and practical choice. Here are some reasons why:

1. Lower Cost:

Repairing a pump is much cheaper than replacing it. Qualified technicians can diagnose the problem, replace the necessary parts, and get the pump running again quickly and cost-effectively. Also, buying a new pump can be a significant expense and require additional time and labor to install and commission. A helpful rule of thumb is if a pump's repair cost is 60% or less than the cost of a new pump, repair it!

2. Reduced Downtime:

Downtime can be a big issue if a pump fails. If you opt to replace the pump, you may have to wait for it to be shipped, installed, and commissioned, resulting in weeks (or even months) of lost productivity. The repair can upgrade materials and parts to get more life out of the pump. New pumps sometimes won’t fit, so there would be piping and base changes, which can get very expensive. By contrast, repairing the pump can often be done more quickly, allowing you to continue to work sooner. The turnaround time, comparing the time it takes to install a new pump versus repairing the damaged one, often is much more favorable for the pump in repair.

3. Improved Reliability:

A well-maintained and adequately repaired pump can be as reliable as a brand-new one. Working with a knowledgeable technician who understands your pump and system, you can ensure the repair is accurate, and the pump can operate at peak performance. Working with Estabrook, you get a one-year warranty—the same as if a new pump is purchased.

4. Improved Performance:

Repair can upgrade materials and parts to get more life out of the pump. Newer components used for repair have become more advanced with technology. The same goes for improving the materials. Upgrades to oil or grease seals will help get more life out of the pump. Replacing the lip seals with contactless seals results in better protection on the bearing with minimal shaft wear.

Adding these parts into the system will make it a more well-operating overall machine, avoiding the need for a whole new pump. For example, Estabrook can add Chesterton coatings to repaired pumps to ensure their protection without purchasing a new pump. Plus, new pumps sometimes won’t fit, creating a need for piping and base changes that can be expensive. As another example, a customer in the refining industry needed a longer lifespan out of a non-sparking, standard bearing on a vertical pump to VESPELL to extend the MTBF Bearing Isolators.

5. Familiarity with Equipment

Mechanics are the most knowledgeable about the equipment. The mechanics can identify any problems with the pump with a slight glance or even by sound. When outright replacing a repairable pump, familiarity with the pump is in jeopardy. Mechanics must then switch their focus to a new pump or system that replaces the existing pump. The MTBF then changes for them; the new pump can fail whenever. Mechanics must then learn everything they can when repairing the pump, which will result in it working again sooner. The trend with the I-alert can also change. The temperature and vibrations detected within the pump must be changed and recalibrated to give proper readings.

6. Spare Parts and Inventory

Spare parts and the spare part inventory are as much of a deciding factor as the cost could be. When the pump begins to fail, deciding to replace the failing pump can eliminate all the commonalities between the parts and the pump itself. Mechanics can access standard replacement parts in their inventory, enabling them to repair pumps on-site instead of shipping them back. For new pumps, mechanics must also procure spare parts, adding to the total cost of a new pump.

7. Environmental Benefits

Replacing industrial pumps can have a significant environmental impact, as it requires the extraction and transportation of raw materials and the energy-intensive manufacturing process. Repairing pumps, however, is a more sustainable option that can help reduce waste and conserve resources.

The Bottom Line

The criteria behind when a pump should be repaired or replaced depends on the company. Many will follow the same protocols as the others. For example, if the cost of receiving a new part is around half the total cost of a new pump, buying the new pump would be more suitable for the company. Every company most likely follows this trend, but more in-depth details will help determine why repairing a pump is better than replacing it.

Estabrook has been a reliable repair shop for industrial pumps since the company's founding in 1965. The philosophy of “Best-A-Esta” has been long-standing with Estabrook when responding to customer needs. Our commitment to service separates Estabrook from our competitors. Whether a pump needs servicing during or after hours, our team will take care of it, living out our motto of “Deliver It, Service It, and Stand Behind It 24/7/365."

It's crucial to understand that all models of pumps and process equipment are repairable. Some examples include blowers, fans, heat exchangers, and mixers. You can explore our portfolio of service and repair examples on our website. At Estabrook, we can reverse-manufacture obsolete casted parts and or the whole pump.

While replacing an industrial pump may be necessary in some cases, repairing the pump is often the most practical and cost-effective solution. By working with a qualified technician, you quickly and cost-effectively repair your industrial pump, allowing you to dive back into work with minimal downtime and maximum efficiency.

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We hope you found this blog helpful. If you would like to discuss a seal plan for your centrifugal pump, get in touch with our team today!


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