The right choice of pumping equipment in industrial processes is critical to ensuring production efficiency and quality. The use of low-quality dosing pumps can have serious consequences for the company that uses them in its operations. With our many years of experience in the production and service of pumping equipment, we would like to open up the issues related to the use of poor quality pumps.
Unstable operation and inaccurate dosing pump:
The use of low-quality pumps leads to unpredictable operation, which causes uncontrolled flow of a substance (under- or overdosing). For example, in the food industry, this can lead to changes in product flavor or violations of safety standards. Such instability can cause large losses of raw materials and time, reduce productivity, and increase the number of product rejections.
Higher maintenance costs and shorter service life:
Low-quality pumps require more frequent maintenance and repairs, and have a significantly shorter service life than their high-quality counterparts. This requires additional costs for spare parts and labor-intensive repairs. As a result, operating costs increase by an average of 30% per year, which affects production efficiency and the financial condition of the company.
One of the most famous historical examples of the use of low-quality pumps in production and the consequences is the pharmaceutical company Baxter International.
Baxter International is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of medical products, including injectable medicines. In 2007, the company faced a serious problem when several patients receiving heparin (an anticoagulant) showed allergic reactions and other serious complications after the introduction of this drug.
It turned out that the reason was under-dosing of heparin due to the faulty equipment used for its production. This led to the fact that the amount of active ingredient in the drug was insufficient, which caused negative effects on patients.
This incident led to a large-scale recall of heparin batches and serious quality and safety inspections. Baxter International became the subject of an investigation by regulators and drew attention to the importance of proper quality control in the production of medicines.
Another example of the use of low-quality pumps, perhaps the most resonant, is the BP Deepwater Horizon.
The BP Deepwater Horizon is one of the largest marine environmental and man-made disasters in world history, which occurred on April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. The incident was the result of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform owned by the British oil company BP and operating at the Macondo well. This disaster had tragic consequences for nature, people and the economy, becoming the largest oil spill into the open ocean in US history.
Key events and figures:
- Explosion and fire: On April 20, 2010, at 22:00 local time, there was an explosion on a semi-submersible oil drilling platform, 80 km away from the Louisiana coast, which caused a massive fire. The accident killed 11 crew members and destroyed the entire platform.
- The oil leak: According to official estimates, the oil spill lasted 152 days, during which time about 5 million barrels of oil, or 795 million liters, leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.
- Environmental consequences: The huge amount of oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico led to large-scale pollution of the coastal environment (1770 kilometers of coastline). The oil slick has reached an area of 75 thousand square kilometers. According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the disaster killed or injured more than 82,000 birds, 25,900 marine mammals and 600 sea turtles. The ocean and coastal wetland ecosystems were severely damaged.
- Economic impact: The total economic loss due to the disaster was difficult to estimate, but Moody’s estimated the damage to BP at $40 billion.
- According to BP’s report, the accident was caused by human error, technical malfunctions and design defects of the oil platform. Some researchers point out that the poor quality of the pumps used in the drilling system may be one of the reasons for the malfunction and uncontrolled oil leakage. The analysis showed the possibility of failure of one of the metering pumps, which led to high pressure in the system of the well and loss of control over the drilling process. This, in turn, caused damage to the well and uncontrolled oil leakage.
After the incident, numerous studies and investigations were conducted, which issued conclusions pointing to problems with technical equipment, including pumping equipment, as well as deviations from safety standards.
Given all of these facts, the BP Deepwater Horizon accident has become a real strong message about the need to maintain the highest standards of safety and quality of equipment in industrial operations, especially when it comes to the life and health of people, flora and fauna, and the environment as a whole.