Bloch, H. P.
Heinz P. Bloch resides in Westminster, Colorado. His professional career commenced in 1962 and included long-term assignments as Exxon Chemical’s regional machinery specialist for the US. He has authored over 650 publications, among them 19 comprehensive books on practical machinery management, failure analysis, failure avoidance, compressors, steam turbines, pumps, oil-mist lubrication and practical lubrication for industry. Mr. Bloch holds BS and MS degrees in mechanical engineering. He is an ASME life fellow and maintains registration as a professional engineer in New Jersey and Texas.
At a recent conference attended by failure investigation professionals in San Antonio, Texas, a participant spoke about an explosion and fire event on a multistage horizontally opposed compressor in oxygen (O2) service. He had scant data, but he knew the machine did not have cylinder lubrication.
In this column, I have often elaborated on critical information related to reliability thinking. However, reliability thinking is continually subverted by approaches that concentrate excessively on project cost and completion.
The reliability engineering unit supervisor (REUS) working at a 400-Mbpd refinery wrote that he was greatly concerned about a bearing temperature excursion. He realized that certain rules of thumb had been handed down to his maintenance employees, and that not all of these conveyed the same numbers and guidance.
With relatively few exceptions, industry guidelines and standards allow an increased understanding of best practices.
It was not too long ago that a prospective employee could expect a 30-year career within an oil refinery or a petrochemical plant.
If you have ever encountered a situation where an equipment manufacturer declined to offer warranties, allow us to share three case histories.
Follow our discourse with a reliability professional employed by an owner-operator with a number of ammonia and urea plants in locations where blinding sandstorms are prone to occur.
Machinery quality assessment (MQA) is similar to bid conditioning, and both relate to structured efforts.
When asked about the challenges facing the hydrocarbon processing industry (HPI), our answer was swift and direct: The trials we face are bundled, or can be found, in lessons some of us learned decades ago. However, lessons learned and explained decades ago were often disregarded by managers with a short-range focus.
In 2013, Refinery “X” was experiencing serious pump distress—the third or fourth in a 12-month period. We received calls about the latest thrust bearing failure event on this important 3,560-rpm process pump. Soon after, a surprisingly similar incident happened at Refinery “Y” in 2015. Both incidents are considered here.