Many industries use variable frequency drives (VFDs) with induction motors. Introduced in the 1960s, VFD technology has advanced considerably during the past 50 years. The engineering advancements have encouraged operators to consider other factors during particular applications, such as harmonics, energy efficiency, temperature, rise time, cable length and switching length.
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Despite their simplicity, centrifugal pumps often experience repeat failures that even seasoned maintenance and reliability professionals have trouble preventing. This four-part series explains the reasons behind repeat pump failures and uses a real-world field example involving boiler feedwater pumps.
Minimizing pump downtime directly affects the bottom line. Sealless mag-drive and canned-motor pumps, commonplace in the petrochemical and power industries, enhance reliability and reduce emissions and leakage compared with more traditional “sealed” pumps. The choice between sealless and sealed pumps often involves savings in both time and money.
A multistage BB5 diffuser machine in oil transfer service in the Middle East had been in operation for many years without problems. After a routine maintenance strip down and rebuild, the pump experienced a high thrust bearing temperature of 105 C, which caused it to alarm and shut down. The temperature range had previously been 75 C to 85 C.
Within the oil and gas industry, the rotating shafts of equipment—such as pumps, motors, compressors, gearboxes and turbines—perform an essential function in both upstream and downstream applications. This rotating equipment ensures process flow and the safety of employees and the surrounding community.
Few industries can tolerate the unscheduled downtime of critical equipment. In refinery operations, it can have particularly serious implications. For an operation that runs 24 hours per day year-round, the losses—in both production and profitability—can be staggering.
Active magnetic bearing (AMB) reliability and availability levels have surpassed oil bearings after 10 years of technological advancements. These advances have made an impact on the industry, drawing attention from major original equipment manufacturers globally.
Bearing currents occur in specific motor and drive installations and can lead to motor fatigue and failure. While no system is inherently immune to bearing currents, few installations experience bearing currents during normal operation. While many installations have preventive measures installed, knowing that protection is in place is sometimes outside the owner or operator’s scope.
Misalignment is a frequent cause of rolling bearing failure. It can cause cage fracture, which will result in seizure of the bearing, pump failure and costly downtime. It can also cause edge loading, which will result in early bearing failure.
Bearings in centrifugal pumps support hydraulic loads imposed on the impeller, the mass of the impeller and shaft, and loads caused by couplings and drive systems. They also keep axial and radial shaft deflections within acceptable limits for the impeller and shaft seal.
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