May 2011

Special Report: Maintenance/Reliability

Deferred maintenance causes upsurge in pump failures

Not addressing the root cause of a failure puts resources and employees at risk

Bloch, Heinz P., Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

If your facility has recently seen an upsurge in bearing failures on boiler feedwater (BFW) pumps in the 200 kW–2,000 kW range, it will not be the only one with this costly experience. Failure causes are elusive, which is why plants have so many unresolved repeat failures. As we take note of them, we realize that these frequent failures are very often related to economic downturns. During economic downturns, maintenance outlays and, of course, training funds are among the first to be curtailed. Maintenance managers then decide to authorize only those repairs that they deem absolutely necessary. In effect, these decisions often encourage treating the symptoms and discourage looking for t

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