A diamond in the rough
Although problem-free pump operation is the primary goal of all
pump operators, achieving that goal is not a simple matter. The
key components of a pumpmechanical seals, impellers,
couplings, roller bearings and housingsare all subject to
wear. Keeping a pump in good working condition is essential for
cost-effective and reliable operation of plants and systems.
Unplanned downtime can ruin production schedules and adversely
affect a facilitys bottom line.
Mechanical seals are recognized to be responsible for most pump
failures and consequently represent the highest cost for pump
repairs. Therefore, reducing the mean time between failure
(MTBF) or the mean time between repair (MTBR) can significantly
improve pump operations and save money.
Industry surveys have shown that dry running and inadequate
lubrication are responsible for more than 50% of all mechanical
seal damages; consequently, it is safe to state that
approximately 20% of all pump failures are due to poor
lubrication or dry running of the mechanical seal faces.
To combat the problem of dry running, EagleBurgmann has
developed a seal face coating based in diamond. Diamond is the
hardest natural mineral known and offers excellent chemical and
thermal resistance. The new technology is a synthetically
manufactured, ultra-pure diamond with the same characteristics
as the natural stone. It has a microcrystalline coating of
8-µm thickness on a silicon carbide seal face extends the
life of the seal, reducing maintenance costs and minimizing
life-cycle costs for pump users.
In an analysis of the service life of pump components, it was
found that mechanical seals, with an average service life of
only 1.2 years, are the weakest link in terms of pump
components, compared to the next weakest component, bearings,
with an average service life of three years. It is thought that
by using mechanical seals coated with diamond, the average
service life of mechanical seals substantially increases.
Curtiss-Wright Corp. has received an order from
Petrobras for 12 top and bottom fully-automated coke
drum unheading systems. The units are expected to be delivered
to the Petrobras Abreu e Lima refinery located in Pernambuco,
Brazil. During the opening of a coke drum, known as
unheading, extreme temperatures can be present.
Curtiss-Wrights system safely opens the top or bottom of
a coke drum during the delayed coking process. Unlike
traditional unheading systems, this remotely operated device
creates a totally enclosed, fully automated coking system, from
the top of the coke drum down to the coke pit, minimizing
safety risks to personnel.
Total Petrochemicals has successfully
demonstrated UOP technology that will enable the use
of feedstocks other than petroleum to
produce plastics and other petrochemicals. A demonstration unit
built by Total Petrochemicals at its complex in
Feluy, Belgium, used UOPs methanol-to-olefins (MTO) technology to convert methanol to
ethylene and propylene. The propylene was then successfully
converted to polypropylene product. This demonstration proves
that propylene produced from methanol at a semi-commercial
scale is suitable for plastics production.
The demonstration unit has run consistently for more than 150
days since its start-up last year and has met product yield
expectations. The unit has processed up to 10 metric tpd of
methanol to produce the light olefins ethylene and propylene.
The demonstration plant integrates MTO process technology with
Total Petrochemicals and UOPs
olefin cracking process (OCP). Use of the OCP could boost the
total yield of usable ethylene and propylene while minimizing
hydrocarbon byproducts. The OCP unit is scheduled to start up
later this year after initial testing of the MTO unit is
The demonstration plant was designed to assess, on a
semi-commercial industrial scale, the technical feasibility of
the integrated MTO and OCP processes with full product recovery
ProSep Inc. was awarded a $2 million contract to
provide process engineering and specialized internals
for crude separation. This contract was awarded through a
commercial alliance with the engineering and manufacturing
company Thermo Design and will be installed at an oil and gas
producers steam-assisted gravity drainage facility
located in Albertas oil sands. The crude separation
equipment will be built using ProSeps vessel designs and
internals, allowing for efficient separation of crude, natural
gas, water and solids from the production stream.
Refineria de Cartagena SA (REFICAR) has selected
Merichem to provide multiple technologies for
treatment of hydrocarbons and spent caustic at its refinery in Cartagena, Colombia.
Merichem will license its technologies and supply modular
equipment to treat coker LPG and saturated LPG at the facility.
Merichem will also license other technologies to supply modular
equipment, including salt and clay beds for treatment of
kerosene/jet fuel. In addition, REFICAR has also selected
Merichems technology and equipment for the treatment of
spent caustic generated by new and existing units.
CPFD Software LLC, which created the Barracuda
simulation package for particle-fluid systems,
announced the signing of a distribution agreement with Hi-Key
Technology to distribute and support
Barracuda in China. Barracuda is used by oil and gas, chemical,
petrochemical and power equipment
manufacturers for simulating, understanding and optimizing the
operation of fluidized systems. Common applications are
fluidized catalytic cracking (FCC) reactors and regenerators,
fluidized bed reactors (FBRs) for chemical manufacturing and
circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boilers in coal-fired power