Preventive maintenance is always cheaper then emergency repairs. The increased cost of urgent parts and the process downtime hits an operation in the pocketbook.
Even though it is always good practice to open up a pump for inspection, there are usually external signs of wear and tear on a pump due to the harsh environment in which we put them. By looking for these signs, an operation can minimize surprise pump failures and treat the issue(s) with planned maintenance. Automation can be used to alert you of some of these warning signs if it is in place, while visual inspection is required for other warning signs.
Different seals have different levels of leaking at the gland, but there is a normal amount of leaking and there is an excessive amount of leaking. An operator needs to become familiar with what the leakage is supposed to be in order to identify an issue.
A simple adjustment may get everything back in order, or maybe a small repair is needed. Left alone, however, it will become a costly repair that could have been avoided.