June 2016

Maintenance and Reliability

How small deviations and lack of management access compromise reliability

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.

Bloch, Heinz P., Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

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. The pump had been designed and manufactured by a well-known manufacturer; there are hundreds in successful service all over the world. Soon after, a surprisingly similar incident happened at Refinery “Y” in 2015. Both incidents are considered here. Successive incidents at Refinery “X” involved two oil-mist-lubricated, 75-mm/40°, angular contact-thrust bearings. The two bearings were arranged back to back, as is customary. A back-to-back set of 85-mm thrust bearings was installed in the

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