Turbo Pump Failure

Turbo Pump Failure

May 28, 2020

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by Katy Manning

Turbo pumps can be one of the more expensive parts of a manufacturing process. Turbo pumps create vacuum with a set of rotating turbine blades that are positioned at various angles to help direct molecules from the intake to the exhaust. The rotor is held to a shaft and spins on a set or sets of bearings. Depending on the type of pump, the rotor assembly can either levitate over the bearings or the shaft can be positioned directly onto the bearings. 

There are several different ways a turbo pump can "fail". Some failures can be catastrophic, and others can be a part of a “normal” failure which can be repaired.

At Provac, we would consider a catastrophic failure any time there is major damage to the rotor assembly, such as shown in the photo attached to this blog. Broken or bent blades on the rotor assembly typically happen when there is an air-in rush or physical bump to the turbo pump while it is running at full speed.

Potential Causes:


-Vent valve failure

-Roughing pump failure

-Power outage

-Isolation valve failure

-Operator error

Although rotor replacement can be performed, it is often more costly to do so than to purchase a replacement pump.

Repairable failures for turbo pumps include bearing failures, motor failure, and drive electronic failures.

Bearings are consumable and have a specific run-time (see manual for specific lifespan).

Motor and drive electronic failures can happen due to age, bad cables, or power surge in the system. Depending on the part number, Provac can replace the motors and drive electronics where applicable. We also have replacement cable sets and controllers available for sale. 

Provac Sales, Inc. offers rebuild service for turbo pumps which includes cleaning (excessive contamination extra), bearing and o-ring replacement, balancing, and helium leak check. If you suspect your turbo pump needs repair, please contact us today for a quotation.

If you find your turbo pump failed catastrophically, Provac also stocks rebuilt and new replacement units in our Soquel, California warehouse.

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