January 2011

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HP Reliability: Packing not best practice for firewater pumps

Statistics show that for every 1,000 pump failures in hydrocarbon processing plants, there will be a fire. Fig. 1 shows a typical visible outcome, and the final bill for remedying such disastrous resu..

Bloch, H. P., Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Statistics show that for every 1,000 pump failures in hydrocarbon processing plants, there will be a fire. Fig. 1 shows a typical visible outcome, and the final bill for remedying such disastrous results can amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.     Fig. 1. Scene of a refinery pump fire   (Source: Release No. 2004-08-I-NM; US   Chemical Safety Board; http://www.csb.gov).  Since roughly 60% of pump fires involve mechanical seal failures, it has been assumed that the majority of mechanical seals are somehow flawed. However, this conclusion is quite incorrect. Many pumps have been in service for years without seal failures. The entire experience poin

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