Hydro’s condition monitoring solution, Centaur, is currently being used to monitor rotating machinery at a Gulf Coast terminal facility. Through Hydro’s Centaur system, real-time vibration amplitude levels and temperature levels are collected and stored at several measurement locations on compressors and their drive trains. Analysts at Hydro’s Monitoring and Diagnostic Center help to evaluate the collected data. They use their subject matter expertise to make recommendations to the end user when they identify actions that could minimize downtime and maximize the lifespan of the monitored machinery. Continue reading
A large American energy company wanted a new data collection system to be integrated into its site historian along with process trending software to better diagnose system-related issues that can lead to maintenance issues.
Thanks to the help of an aftermarket service company, the energy company combined multiple sources of data and can now view complex mechanical vibration phenomena in parallel with plant process data. By comparing the two sets of data side by side, plant personnel will correlate process conditions with mechanical vibration data.
The service provider’s history of pump and rotating equipment knowledge helped to provide actionable analysis of pumps and other rotating equipment health—and a mechanism to provide additional engineering solutions to complex problems. Combined with the energy company’s focus on reliability and a history of maintaining their equipment, this system provided an improved method of data collection and analysis.
The process of reopening the plant had uncovered more than 500 pumps that needed considerable refurbishment and repair. The most important of these was a critical jet pump used for hydraulic decoking. It was badly damaged and sent to the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for inspection. The OEM recommended that the refinery replace most of the pump parts, as well as a costly repair that would require 35 weeks to rebuild.
Instead, the refinery sent the pump to global aftermarket pump service provider, Hydro, Inc. in Chicago, where it was refurbished for just over half the cost of the OEM proposal. The time involved was also significantly improved to just eight weeks by using a non-destructive evaluation and rebuild process at a 46,000 ft2 facility where Hydro develops and implements engineering modifications for improving the performance of critical pumps and then verifies that performance in their Hydraulic Institute certified test lab.
The original refinery opened in the mid-1960s. In the early 1970s, it was re-rated at 650,000 barrels per day. It had been one of the largest refineries in the western hemisphere, so the impact of reopening the plant would be significant. In this case, Hydro was tasked to work with the critical highenergy pump to prepare for its reopening. The new owners began the process two years ago and it is expected that the plant will be open for operation in the first quarter of 2020. Once restarted, the plant will be able to process up to 210,000 barrels per day of oil, a fraction of the 1,500- acre (607-hectare) plant’s peak capacity in the 1970s of 650,000 bpd.
When the plant was shut down, the pumps and other equipment in the refinery were either left in place or went into storage where they were kept in poor condition. Time constraints prohibited proper preventative maintenance before the refinery shut down. The tropical climate is hot, salty, humid, oppressive, and several hurricanes occurred during this time. All of these extreme conditions can contribute to the deterioration of heavy rotating equipment. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 72°F to 88°F and is rarely below 68°F or above 90°F. Continue reading
During the commissioning and startup of an alumina processing plant in the Middle East, a significant recurring pump issue was causing delays to the commissioning of the facility. When de-energizing the equipment, the live steam condensate vertical can pumps experienced repeated failures of all installed units. These seizures occurred at both the design fluid temperature and when pumping cold water.
Because this was a new plant in the commissioning phase, the equipment was under warranty. However, negotiations with the OEM were lengthening the challenged startup schedule. There was little insight into the root cause of the equipment failure.
As the repeated failures were affecting the plant commissioning date, the large architect, engineering and construction (AEC) firm in charge of plant commissioning decided to contact an independent, aftermarket service provider located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to conduct an assessment to determine the root cause of the pump failures and provide solutions.
Operating at low flow places the machine under a great amount of duress. It is always wise to have a mental picture of what is happening within the passages of the machine to understand why this is the case.
The days have long passed where pump vibrations were viewed as a matter of mechanical balance. Now, we recognize that even if the pump had perfect mechanical balance, it would still exhibit vibrations.
The intensity of this remnant vibration turns out to be flow related with its minimum level being at or around best efficiency point (BEP).