March 2009

Rotating Equipment/Reliability

Auxiliary pumps and support systems for process machinery

Proper system design and operation are critical to plant uptime and reliability

Brennan, J. R., Colfax Corp.

Much has been written on the subjects of process pumps, pipeline pumps and similar mainstream hydrocarbon processing machinery. Such equipment is obviously critical to ongoing operations, but little has been produced covering auxiliary support pumps. Most rotating machinery within refineries, petrochemical complexes and chemical processing plants requires forced lubrication, and many process-gas centrifugal compressors and turboexpanders also require forced-oil systems to seal process gas within the machine. Control-oil systems are also common, supplying an oil flow proportional to machine speed. Proper system design and operation of these auxiliary pumps is critical to plant uptime and re

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