Driving Improved Pump Performance

by | Feb 7, 2020 | Asset Management, Downstream Hydrocarbons, Industry

Online continuous pump monitoringPumps do the heavy lifting of moving liquids through the production process. They consume more energy more than most types of plant assets and are subject to quite a bit of wear and tear.

Online continuous monitoring enables operational performance improvements in terms of both reliability and energy consumption.

A whitepaper, 3 Innovative Ways to Improve Pump Reliability, highlights value improvement practices your organization can take to drive down maintenance costs and improve overall pump availability.

Advancements in technology including wireless sensing devices has enabled online continuous monitoring to be implemented on a broader range of pumps, not just the critical ones.

Typical candidates for online continuous monitoring include:

  • Pumps with repeat failures
  • Pumps without spares
  • Pumps that can cause a fire or environmental incident
  • Pumps that can lead to a significant process disturbance, process shutdown or slowdown
  • In summary, any pumps that previously were not considered critical enough to have wired monitoring systems in place

The whitepaper highlights 3 areas for increasing pump availability using predictive technologies and reliability-centered maintenance best practices—pump seal monitoring, cavitation monitoring, and vibration monitoring.

Online continuous pump seal monitoringFor pump seal monitoring, the:

…space between each seal is filled with a seal flush fluid to provide lubrication and remove heat. Contaminants can quickly degrade a seal, but with proper flushing, they can last thousands of hours.

Adding a wireless pressure measurement can help spot:

…a leak from the process to the buffer fluid when the pumped process fluid vaporizes at atmospheric pressure.

A wireless level indicator can help identify:

…a leak from the process to the buffer fluid, if the pumped fluid remains in the liquid phase at atmospheric pressure. A slowly decreasing level is normal, but a sudden increase in the rate of level change indicates that the buffer fluid is leaking across the outboard seal to the environment.

For the seal flush reservoirs, continuous monitoring:

…of the reservoir level allows the user to identify when and where flush fluid should be replenished. In addition, using the analog level indications from a transmitter, an online monitoring system can monitor the rate of change on the level measurement to alert operations or maintenance when the fluid depletes faster than normal. This enables operations more time to switch to the spare pump and turn the operating pump over to maintenance personnel.

Download the whitepaper for more on the measurements, applicable standards and best practices for not only the pump seals, but also for avoiding cavitation and excessive vibration.

Visit the Refinery Pump Monitoring section on Emerson.com for other sensing and analytics techniques to apply to drive reliable and efficient pump performance and improved business performance.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.

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