Catacarb® Pump Case Study

A single installation of Vespel® CR-6100 saved a lot of money and troubles.

Several years ago, a refinery upgraded a Catacarb® pump with Vespel® CR-6100 case rings. The pump was a single-stage, between bearings, double suction pump. Catacarb® is a mixture of potassium carbonate and other chemicals which is used to strip gases such as CO2 and H2S from hydrocarbon streams.

For two years after the installation, the pump ran perfectly, and no one thought about the Vespel® CR-6100 wear rings in the pump.

 

Then, one day…

One day, the Operators heard one of the Catacarb® pumps making a loud pounding sound. They shut it down and switched to the spare. The noisy pump stopped without issue. The pump did not seize, the seals did not leak, and there was no release of the process to the atmosphere.

When the pump arrived in the shop, the Maintenance crew found the problem. A piece of metal had broken from an upstream valve, lodged itself in the impeller and proceeded to pound against the pump volute. The impeller suffered substantial damage shown in Figure 1:

Damaged Impeller

Figure 1: Impeller damaged by a piece of metal lodged in the pump

Disassembly revealed that the pump had been fitted with Vespel® CR-6100 case rings. The rings showed signs of contact and perhaps a negligible amount of wear, but remained in working condition as shown in Figure 2:

Vespel CR-6100 Case wear ring

Figure 2: Vespel® CR-6100 case wear ring after the incident

 

Conclusion

According to the refinery Maintenance team, without the Vespel® CR-6100, the pump would have likely seized, causing severe damage to the pump, along with the potential for seal failure and leakage of the process to the atmosphere. Instead, the plant continued to run. How much money did they save? How much trouble did they avoid? Fortunately, no one will ever know. Because the pump did not seize, the only cost was a standard repair plus a new impeller.

If you want to help your pumps avoid seizure, contact Boulden today. We have Vespel® CR-6100 in stock in a wide range of sizes in the USA, Europe, and Singapore and we can assist with any application or design questions you have. If you know what you need, just request a quote.

Until next time, Merry Christmas, enjoy the holidays and be safe.

 

Helpful Links:

Standard Stock Sizes of Vespel® CR-6100

Vespel® CR-6100 Product Data Sheet

Vespel® CR-6100 Machining Guide

3MW Boiler Feed Pump Case Study
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Marché de Noël, Strasbourg, France

Marché de Noël, Strasbourg, France

 

 

 

 

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