Using Latest Technology to Refurbish a 50-year-old Pump Element

Power pump performance improved with redesign of the first-stage, double-suction impeller and twin volute. 

This project has been divided into two articles. The first, published in the June 2017 Pumps & Systems; the second, published in September 2017 Pumps & Systems.

Written by: Dave Allard & Dr. Gary Dyson
Published by: Pumps & Systems

In the aftermarket business, part replication is not enough. Precision engineering combined with the latest technology are essential for manufacturing high-quality parts. A main boiler feed pump at a Midwestern United States power plant was built in 1967 using sand casting and wooden patterns, now considered outdated technology. Even though the pumps received refurbishment every six to eight years, the pumps continued to have low performance as well as vibration issues.

Using all its resources—including casting simulations, 3-D models, up-to-date foundry casting techniques and considerable engineering data—Hydro fully manufactured a complete element, performed sophisticated testing in the Pumps Test Lab Approved Program (PTLA) certified test lab, and returned the pump to operation within just 12 weeks.

This project involved the manufacture of a complete first stage twin volute and a description of the latent defects.

The pump suffered from ongoing vibration issues which were caused by pressure pulsations at vane frequency. To improve the vibration levels, hydraulic analysis and redesign were required to develop a new, improved design.

This project has been divided into two articles. The first is the manufacturing of the twin volute and the second is the design of a new impeller.

Twin volute stage piece

Image 1. A received bundle showing failure in the twin volute stage piece. Hydro received the internal element and casing (pump bundle, or element) of the pump. (Images and graphics courtesy of Hydro, Inc.)

The first-stage twin volute is a complicated casting, which failed during operation as a result of poor design.

Hydro re-engineered the casting by using sophisticated engineering and 3-D modeling, along with simulation software and 3-D sand printing.

In addition, Hydro identified the opportunity to improve the performance of the pump by redesigning the first-stage double-suction impeller. To improve vane passing frequency, the first-stage double suction impeller was redesigned with staggered and split vanes.

Hydro’s aftermarket services capability provided a completely new replacement element for this high-energy boiler feed pump and also redesigned the castings to eliminate the original latent defect in the casting design.

Hydro provided sophisticated hydraulic engineering improvements to increase the mean time between repairs (MTBR) of the newly manufactured element.

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Shortcuts Can Lead to Disastrous Outcomes

Design flaws cause catastrophic failure in a geothermal power station hotwell in New Zealand.

Written by: Chandra Verma (Hydro, Inc.)
Publisher: Pumps & Systems / August 2016

 

Despite well-documented pump system standards and basic requirements, omission of certain crucial design steps remains a problem in the industry, often causing disastrous outcomes for the end user. When suppliers, manufacturers and/or contractors take shortcuts, technical and commercial risk can present serious ramifications for a large project.Communication failures between the end user’s staff, suppliers and contractors can intensify problems, especially when pumps that may not be appropriate for a given job are commissioned and put into service. Without the end user’s knowledge, a facility may install pumps that have not been properly tested for the application, were fabricated to inferior standards or subject to other shortcuts that adversely affect performance.Sometimes the end user becomes aware of shortcut-derived flaws during the commissioning stage. Other times, problems in equipment or system design might not be evident immediately—they surface during subsequent plant and equipment maintenance that reveals potentially dangerous, hidden conditions. The ensuing problems can lead to tense project politics and expensive rectification, including hiring independent consultants.

Suppliers, manufacturers and contractors take shortcuts for various reasons. These shortcuts can be attributed to a lack of experience with how a pump might be deployed in the field. There may be miscommunication of technical details from both the user and supplier or between the user and contractor.

Budget constraints and concerns can also result in omissions; commercial reality can cause a manufacturer or supplier to make a project’s bottom line cheaper by reducing the cost of equipment and cutting corners.

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Figure 1. The velocity distribution of the original (left) and modified geometries (right)

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Hydro Inc. is Carving out their Niche in the Global Pump Aftermarket

Written by: Sarah Schroer
Publisher: Pump Engineer / June 2015

 

Pump Engineer spoke with George Harris, Hydro Inc.’s CEO and Founder, to learn more about what sets them apart from other pump aftermarket services. “Hydro has developed a unique niche where we have the capabilities, the engineering support, and the lab for testing purposes to provide comprehensive support for customers, while providing prompt capable service on a global basis,” says Harris. Hydro Inc. makes customers the cornerstone of their business. “Everything that we do is focused on the needs of the customer,” explains Brian Scorer who is the Executive VP at Hydro Inc. “We make sure we are entrepreneurial, fl exible, agile, and very quick in the way that we go about our business. We provide world class quality, world class delivery, and we wish to be competitive on cost. The foundation for what we do is built upon engineering excellence and technology. We also have some of the world’s best pump engineers.”

 

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Werner Barnard and Dr. Gary Dyson of Hydro, Inc.

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Optimize High-Energy Pumps With Improved Impeller Design

As new design and manufacturing technologies are developed, end users can affordably upgrade their systems and verify better performance.

Written by: Bob Jennings & Dr. Gary Dyson (Hydro, Inc.)
Publisher: Pumps & Systems / August 2015

 

The rising cost of electrical power has caused many industrial plants to shift their focus to energy consumption. Plants often run pumping equipment continuously, and much research has pointed to opportunities for cost savings by optimizing pumping equipment.

When evaluating the potential for energy savings, end users cannot consider a pump in isolation. The suitability of the pump for the system within which it operates is vital. Even the best designed and most efficient equipment offers power-saving potential if it is run off its best efficiency point (BEP) in a system for which it is ill-applied.

test_orig

Image 1. Much research has pointed to opportunities for cost savings by optimizing pumping equipment. (Images and graphics courtesy of Hydro, Inc.)

Many plants have been in operation for more than 40 years, and their operating philosophies have changed over time. Plant improvements have enabled higher throughput, often increasing production by as much as 125-150 percent. Unfortunately, little is done to improve or increase the performance of the support-service pumping equipment, such as cooling water pumps.

As system flow demands increase, the duty point of the pumps is forced to shift far to the right of the BEP, well outside the acceptable operating range (AOR). This causes efficiency and pump reliability to decrease dramatically.

Casting tolerances, surface finishes, and impeller/volute or impeller/diffuser geometry have all dramatically improved during the last 40 years. But because many pumps were installed when the plants were commissioned, the existing pumps were manufactured using techniques that would be considered obsolete today. The result is higher energy costs and reduced reliability and availability, which often cause production delays. Continue reading