With a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Business Administration, Glenn has had the perfect education to set him up for a successful career in the pump industry. Previously working for a company that manufactured API 610 pumps for the oil and gas industry, which was based in Melbourne, Australia, Glenn was employed as an Applications Engineer where he was responsible for pump selection and application, tendering and sales. He spent ten years working there, gaining invaluable experience in the whole manufacturing process; from pump design, selection and application through to the manufacturing and testing of equipment. In addition, he also worked closely with customers on both new pump projects and troubleshooting of problems with existing equipment. “This gave me a very good grounding for my current career in training and consulting on pumps and pumping systems,” says Glenn.
After working with a manufacturer for ten years, Glenn decided to branch out on his own. He now runs regular training courses on pumps and pumping systems and also does some consulting work. For about five years, he also ran management training courses, but has since scaled that back to focus purely on pumps. He regularly runs training courses all around Australia and has also run many courses in South East Asia and Africa. While his main business is the running of training courses, he also explains that he is kept very busy with the marketing, processing of bookings and general running of the business. “A typical day for me would involve running a training course,” he says.
“Associated with that, there is also a lot of time spent on organizing courses, travel and looking after the accounts. There is a great deal of paperwork involved in running a business.”
Of course, as with any job, there are aspects that Glenn finds to be challenging. Running training courses involves answering course attendees’ questions. On a typical day, Glenn may have Process Engineers who design systems or run plants, Mechanical Engineers who write specifications and purchase pumps for new projects, Reliability or Maintenance Engineers who are dealing with site problems, Maintenance fitters who fix and service the pumps, and Operators who are responsible for the general operation of the pumps. They could be working in oil & gas, chemical, water & wastewater, mining, minerals processing, power generation, paper manufacturing, farming, food & beverage industries, or working for a pump
manufacturer or distributor. “Everyone is looking at things from a different angle and for different reasons. Therefore, I’m getting many different questions and am constantly needing to work out an answer very quickly,” he explains. However, despite that, Glenn enjoys the educational side of his role. “I enjoy it when I see people learning. Some of the attendees are new to the industry, while many others are very experienced and have worked with pumps for many years. Often, they have seen things happen, or found a solution to a problem, but not quite understood why it happened or why the
solution worked. To be able to help them expand their knowledge is really very satisfying.”
Misunderstandings of pump problems
With much experience behind him, Glenn considers himself a specialist on centrifugal pumps and is comfortable working within any industry where they are using centrifugal pumps. Throughout the years that he has been training and consulting, he has worked in a variety of industries, including water & wastewater, mining, minerals processing, paper manufacturing, and food & beverage. Some of the issues he has witnessed in these areas are often linked to pump reliability, as people often don’t have broad enough knowledge of system design, pump selection, piping layout, pump operation, pump design and pump maintenance to be able to work out the root cause of early failures. Glenn elaborates: “Some of the more common issues are high vibration levels, early seal failures, early bearing failures and cavitation. There are so many possible causes for a seal or bearing failure and so it can be a long process to troubleshoot the root cause. Cavitation is a very misunderstood problem.” Glenn also finds that there is a big problem with the way the flow and head are specified. He believes there’s often not enough analysis being done on exactly what a pump will need to do in a system. Too many system designers just focus on the maximum requirement and may add on a ‘safety margin’ or ‘safety factor’ to the flow and / or head that is specified. “When I get to the site I find that the problem is that the pump they are using is not really suitable for the flowrate they are making it do. It’s so important to analyse the system properly and to review all possible changes to the system and changes to flow requirements, as this ensures that the pump selected will be suitable for everything that it is going to be doing on site.”
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