Middle East Power Plant Demonstrates the Advantages of Pump Health Audits

With the help of a field evaluation, plant managers avoided unnecessary pump repairs.

Written by: Gary Dyson & Thomas Arakal
Publisher: Pumps & Systems / December 2016

 

A decade-old, 1,000-megawatt (MW) combined cycle power plant in the Middle East called an equipment repair and engineering company to conduct a pump health audit. Given the age of the plant and the fact that none of the pumps had undergone a major overhaul, plant personnel asked the engineering firm to determine which pumps should be pulled for repair at the next scheduled outage. The equipment consisted of six condensate extraction pumps and six boiler feed pumps.

Leaving the production process undisturbed, the field pump health evaluation team conducted a non-invasive pump study. Flow, pressure, vibration, power consumption, temperature and other data were collected for all the pumps in various regimes of operation. A team of engineers analyzed and compared the results of the measurements to the original design parameters. The study’s conclusions and engineering recommendations were published.

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The Importance of Feed Pump Barrel Inspections

Written by: Greg James
Publisher: Pump Industry / November 2016

Rebuilding a typical boiler feed pump cartridge and returning the running clearances to specification is a critical process for effective and efficient plant operation. The cost to rebuild a cartridge – supply new mechanical seals, bearings and consumables, the lost production, down time and the labour costs – is a significant investment.

After rebuilding a cartridge and returning all operating clearances to specification, the good work can be greatly affected by installing the cartridge into a distorted barrel and/or discharge head combination.

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Pipeline Receives Pump & Seal Improvements

Seal upgrade and pump repair in the U.S. midwest boost efficiency and reliability with minimal downtime.

Written by: Ken Babusiak, John Ciffone
Publisher: Pumps & Systems / November 2016

 

Mechanical seals on pumps in the oil and gas industry often need to be upgraded to meet more stringent standards, such as tighter emissions regulations. More advanced seals also offer companies increased efficiency and reliability.

Older pumps, however, sometimes need to be modified to accommodate these enhancements because the newer parts may not be the same size and shape as the ones they are replacing. In these cases, a parts supplier can partner with an aftermarket engineering firm to come up with a long-term plan for revitalizing older pumps. The refurbished pumps can offer benefits including direct cost savings and a reduction in repair and maintenance.

An Upgrade Plan Emerges

In 2011, a field service engineer was at a pipeline station for service when a technician informed him that the company was considering overhauling all of its pumps as preventive maintenance. The company planned to investigate the possibility of upgrading mechanical seals.

The field service engineer and his team decided to analyze all of the user’s pumping stations from Illinois to Iowa—about 500 miles of pipeline. Every field service engineer who worked on the pipeline met in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where a regional engineer led a meeting about what would be the best technology solution for this user.

The team decided to replace the existing single mechanical seals with a mechanical seal developed specifically for single-seal installations and designed to attain maximum achievable controllable technology (MACT) compliance in light hydrocarbons and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Image 1. The bottom half of the coupling end bearing housing installed on the pump with the bottom half of the journal bearing, oil rings and seals installed (Images courtesy of Hydro Inc.)

Image 1. The bottom half of the coupling end bearing housing installed on the pump with the bottom half of the journal bearing, oil rings and seals installed (Images courtesy of Hydro Inc.)

The field service engineers provided information on the pumps in their area, the seal data and the coupling information. All of the pumps would require minor modifications to accommodate these new seals. The team collated information about the pumps and wrote the necessary engineering projects for the preliminary drawings. Once the drawings were approved and finalized, the pumps were sent to a pump repair and service provider to be upgraded to accept the higher-technology seal.

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Setting the New Pump Testing Standard

The pump industry faces a challenge in keeping up with changing efficiency regulations. Programs such as the Hydraulic Institute (HI) Pump Test Lab Approval (PTLA) are helping companies adhere to these standards. Here, we see how Hydro, Inc. made history with the first HI PTLA certification.

Written by: Michelle Segrest
Publisher: World Pumps / June 2016

 

With an engineering first approach, Chicago’s Hydro, Inc., proves the impact of redesigned and engineered pumps by testing their real-time hydraulic and mechanical performance at its state-of-the-art Test Lab. It is in the 46,000-square-foot- facility that Hydro develops and implements engineering modifications for improving the performance of critical pumps and then verifies that performance in the lab.

Thanks to high-quality capabilities in testing vertical, horizontal, and submersible pumps, Hydro made history in September 2015 by becoming the first recipient of full certification of the new Hydraulic Institute Pump Test Lab Approval program.

This new industry standard is designed to assist pump OEMs and other pump test laboratories to improve their current laboratory procedures and policies by working with a third-party auditor to develop and maintain accurate, uniform and repeatable pump testing protocols. The program also helps participating organizations adhere to the requirements of the international test laboratory accreditation standard (ISO 17025) concerning test measurement equipment.

“Hydro’s test lab is unique because it was designed to support the aftermarket by having the flexibility to test a wide range and variety of custom engineered pumps,” said George Harris, Hydro CEO and Founder. “Since it is not incorporated in a plant which manufactures new pump production, as is the case with many large OEMs, it is possible to test a customer’s pump in 1-to-3 weeks lead time. This is very important because customers who need a certified test, need the pump tested quickly.”

Since it opened in 2010, Hydro’s 5,000-Horsepower Test Lab has helped to troubleshoot problems with pumps in the field by isolating the pump from its system in a controlled environment to simulate field conditions in a safe manner.

“Hydro remains independent of the constraints that can be imposed by relying on existing hydraulic designs and manufacturers’ predicted performance curves,” said Jeff Johnson, Vice President, Hydro, Inc., a 41-year industry veteran who was instrumental in the design and construction of Hydro’s Test Lab. “All of these efforts ultimately lead to a more reliable and well understood pump performance.”

fig-258

Single-stage horizontal split case (BB1) pump test with customer motor – test loop.

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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.

fig-5d-aandb-velocity-dist

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

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