The expression “less is more” usually does not ring true in our field. Yet, as we search for more throughput, capacity and efficiency, adding more pumps or new and more powerful pumps is not always the answer.
There are two fundamental issues with pumps operating not at, or near to, best efficiency point (BEP): low reliability (things just break), as well as excessive energy consumption (somebody pays much more).
With a whimsical nod to the “Game of Thrones” fans out there, winter is coming soon, and this October title was chosen for two reasons. One is a simple reminder to those of us that have yet forsaken proper freeze protection for pumps, pipes and other components in our systems.
Piping systems are widely used in our industrialized economy to manufacture products and provide services needed to make the products. Several disciplines—technical and financial—work together to determine how these systems impact the profitability of a facility.
Today, some of the world’s most profitable oil refineries use pure oil mist on thousands of rolling element bearings. Pure mist is often considered the “gold standard” and has been in successful use at refineries owned by ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and others for more than 40 years. Forty years of experience in solid, safe, reliable hot service with temperatures as high as 400 C validate their value.
"Wishin’ and Hopin’”—both Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield had hit versions of this pop song in the early ’60s. The lyrical message is that you will not get want you want if you just sit around wishing and hoping; instead you need to take action to achieve the desired outcome.
In last month’s column (June 2019), I shared my concept of what constituted a “pump twilight zone,” and I offered five mystery examples.
The preliminary reader reaction was good, so this month I am adding four more examples.
1. The case of the hidden factor
People of a certain age, and those that enjoy TV reruns, may remember the show called “The Twilight Zone.” In each episode, there was always a surprise plot twist and a subsequent moral or lesson at the end.
The old joke about falling from a tall building is that “it isn’t the fall that kills you, it is the sudden stop at the bottom.” When it comes to cavitation, it is not the formation of the vapor bubbles that kills the pump, it is the subsequent collapse.