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Lowering vibrations in pump systems

Solution of the Fraunhofer Institute to prevent unwanted vibrations in conveying systems

Unwanted vibrations in Pump Systems
Aesthetic, but inefficient: Energy is wasted where vibrations occur in a system.


Vibrations not only cause noise, but also cost money. Conveying systems that require more energy for their work due to unwanted vibrations are, therefore, in need of optimizations. The Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability has now introduced solutions regarding how to develop and implement structural-dynamic optimization measures based on intelligent networked systems.


Digitalization reduces vibrations in the system

There are numerous methods for optimizing the efficiency of pump systems. The most direct way is the efficiency factor: the better it is, the more efficient the system. The use of frequency converters or the utilization of pump technologies that are particularly suitable for the medium to be transported will increase the performance. But what if all aspects have already been optimized, and the performance of the total system nevertheless still leaves something to be desired?

In this case, it may often be beneficial to lend the system a close ear—literally, because vibration-related problems are ignored repeatedly. Vibrations that are caused by moving components do not necessarily have to be due to errors that could lead to sensational damages, but when moving parts cause vibrations in the field, it indicates an inefficient operation.


Optimizing vibration-based defects

Against this background, the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability (Fraunhofer LBF) developed optimization measures for existing and newly developed systems, which can remedy vibration-based defects. For this purpose, the researchers of the institute take advantage of digitalization. It offers a broad spectrum of measures to network and automate processes and products using sensors. As a result, the amount of theoretically acquired data increases, as does the challenge to analyze this data meaningfully with respect to their significance concerning process and product characteristics.

This development represents a particular challenge, specifically for small and medium-sized enterprises, as they often have fewer resources to utilize than large corporations. Furthermore, a more heterogeneous production environment generally exists in the machine parks that have grown over time. In this context, the Fraunhofer LBF offers solutions for implementing intelligent networked systems. The institute, with its headquarters in Darmstadt, has many years of experience in application-oriented development of intelligent solutions in the context of structural dynamics.

A new system from the Fraunhofer LBF demonstrates how a sensor system acquires the dynamic excitation of a multi-mass oscillator. This enables the reduction of excitation effects by means of an adaptive absorber. The mechanical and digital components are self-sufficient, and the location of the effect can be changed in a modular way for each case. For this reason, the input by the user and the output of the current conditions is implemented via smartphone applications, while the device communication is covered by existing standards.


Applications for pumps, extruders, and turbines

Systems of this type present themselves for the transfer to a multitude of potential industrial applications—not just in the environment of pumps. Vibration-based optimization measures of this nature can also be applied in general to extruders, turbines, or stationary and mobile drivetrains. The same applies to systems with dynamic operating loads to increase endurance strength or achieve higher efficiency through higher cycle frequencies.

The Fraunhofer LBF stresses its competence for interdisciplinary solutions for low-vibration systems with high reliability. Customers will receive customized and application-oriented solutions with which they can increase the reliability of their manufacturing processes and products. On top of that, KMU provides the opportunity for a method-oriented continued training of the personnel in the scope of SME Competence Center 4.0.


multi-mass oscillator of the Fraunhofer Institute
The multi-mass oscillator of the Fraunhofer Institute as demonstrator for structural-dynamic optimization measures

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