August 2020

Columns

Reliability: The case for in-house innovation

In 1987, a facility producing decaffeinated instant coffee was getting ready to start a novel process unit that included two large, vertically oriented, high-pressure reciprocating pumps in CO2 service.

Bloch, Heinz P., Hydrocarbon Processing Staff

In 1987, a facility producing decaffeinated instant coffee was getting ready to start a novel process unit that included two large, vertically oriented, high-pressure reciprocating pumps in CO2 service. An experienced consulting engineer recommended a diester-based synthetic for lubricating the 800-kW/300-rpm frames (crankcases), but the manufacturer said that using synthetic lubricants would void the 3-yr warranty. The owner-purchaser decided to make two-month test runs on one of the two pumps with the manufacturer’s recommended mineral oil; the second pump was run with the diester synthetic. Toward the end of the test, the one with mineral oil experienced a massive failure; the one runnin

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