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Reliability tips for centrifugal process pumps

05.01.2014  |  Bloch, H. P.,  Hydrocarbon Processing Staff, 

The pump’s behavior can be likened to that of a manual transmission in an automobile. While a car can be driven 80 mph in first gear, it would be a mistake to do this for an hour or so.

Keywords: [pumps] [centrifugal] [reliability] [maintenance]

Without pumps, there would be no hydrocarbon processing industry.1 Pumps are simple machines that lift, transfer, or otherwise move fluid from one place to another. Process pumps are usually configured to use the rotational (kinetic) energy from an impeller to impart motion to a fluid. The impeller is located on a shaft; together, shaft and impeller(s) make up the rotor. This rotor is surrounded by a casing. Located in this casing (or “pump case”) are one or more stationary passageways that direct the fluid to a discharge nozzle. Impeller and casing are the main components of the hydraulic assembly; the region or envelope containing bearings and seals is called the mechanical assembly, or power end (Fig. 1).2

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Praveen Orakkan

Verey useful article.
You say in the article centrifucal pumps should not be run with
zero flow for more than one minute. Is this applicable only to pumps handling volatile fluids?
Some times we run our effluent pumps ( water with around 100 ppm oil)with discharge valve closed for about 10 minutes without any problem..

Hemant Joshi

Very useful and well illustrated article...

The figure 4 and figure 5 are identical ...I think figure 5 is different impeller with various GPM and head for various impeller sizes....change figure 5 with appropriate figure.


Hemant Joshi


Dear Mr.K.P.Bloch,
Thanks for a nice article. Fig.4 & 5 are same. Basically Fig.5 is missing. Please send the Fig.5.
I require your permission to use this article, in my presentations and lecture notes, to train my young engineers.

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