June 2017

Maintenance and Reliability

Case study: Improve vacuum tower operation with VFD addition

The bottom pump in crude vacuum units is an area of concern for almost all petroleum oil refineries. The harsh operating parameters in which these pumps operate, including high product temperature and significant vacuum suction pressure, have resulted in frequent vacuum tower upsets and low mean time between failures (MTBF) for vacuum bottom pumps.

Alshaye, A., Saudi Aramco

The bottom pump in crude vacuum units is an area of concern for almost all petroleum oil refineries. The harsh operating parameters in which these pumps operate, including high product temperature and significant vacuum suction pressure, have resulted in frequent vacuum tower upsets and low mean time between failures (MTBF) for vacuum bottom pumps. Additionally, operators usually experience difficulties when feed must be increased for more flow control, or when switching between pumps. These activities often cause vacuum bottom residue to stay in the vacuum tower boot. The residue may remain long enough that it becomes thermally cracked and forms petroleum coke in the suction piping, which

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