December 2018

Columns

Reliability: Use procedures to do your job well

Disregard for following detailed procedures at a petrochemical plant in Illinois proved costly.

Bloch, Heinz P., Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

Disregard for following detailed procedures at a petrochemical plant in Illinois proved costly. The facility was equipped with a large reactor vessel that incorporated a top-mounted mixer-agitator. Its 6-in. shaft had been provided with a suitably designed mechanical seal located between the mixer-agitator’s gear speed reducer and the vessel’s top flange. After years of operation, the original mechanical seal was replaced by an identical spare part from the plant’s storage shelves. Unfortunately, the spare seal failed within an hour after its installation was completed and after the process unit had been restarted. The competent, experienced mechanical seal manufacturer scrambled to replace

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