Category Archives: Vertical Pump Shaft Bearings

A Look at Life Cycle Costs – Part 3: Unplanned Events

Typical Life-Cycle Cost For A Pump System Infographic

Typical Life-Cycle Cost For A Pump System

Today we take a final look at the above graph. We have already looked at Energy and Maintenance costs. Today we look at Operating, Environmental, and Downtime Costs.

When you upgrade pumps with composite materials like Vespel® CR-6100, Boulden B-Series, or Metcar® composites, you eliminate the metal-to-metal contact points in the pump, which essentially eliminates the risk of pump seizure. The pump is far more likely to survive running dry at start-up or during off-design events.

Benefits of Upgrading Pumps With Composite Materials

These are hidden bonuses to upgrading your pumps with composite materials. High quality composite materials act like a safety net in your pump, and sometimes, the savings from this benefit pay for all of the composite upgrades your company will ever do. Consider the following case studies:

Case Study: Condensate Return Pumps

Many years ago, a refinery upgraded the vertical pump shaft bearings in one of their 3 condensate return pumps to Vespel® CR-6100. The other two pumps had their original bronze bearings. The pumps were located in the hot well of a condensing steam turbine. The turbine was driving a critical compressor in one of the refinery process units.

Something happened which changed the pressure in the hot well and the pumps started operating in a vacuum intermittently for 9 hours. The two pumps with bronze bushings seized and had to be removed from service. The pump with Vespel® CR-6100 survived and allowed the process unit to continue operating. An upgrade which cost about $2000 likely saved the refinery millions.

Case Study: Potassium Carbonate Pumps

Plant operators heard a loud noise coming from a hot potassium carbonate pump. They were concerned because if potassium carbonate is released into the atmosphere, it creates a respiratory hazard. They shut down the pump and switched to the spare.

When the pump arrived in the shop, they found a piece of metal had broken from a valve and lodged in the pump impeller. Fortunately, during the previous repair, the maintenance shop had upgraded the pump to Vespel® CR-6100 case rings. During the incident, the pump did not seize, the seals didn’t leak, and a potentially major incident was likely avoided. A $3000 upgrade to the wear rings likely saved hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Case Study: Hydrocracker Charge Pump

Improved efficiency can also translate into increased production. A refinery upgraded their 9-stage hydrocracker charge pump, operating at 6400 rpm to Vespel® CR-6100 wear rings with reduced clearance. This $25,000 upgrade increased unit throughput by 4% creating millions of additional revenue for the refinery over the life of the installation.

Pump Impeller with Vespel CR-6100 wear rings

Conclusion

Upgrading your pumps to composite materials reduces pump life cycle costs by making your pumps safer, easier to operate, more reliable and more efficient. When unexpected events occur or where you can increase throughput, a single installation can save you millions of dollars.

Take a look at the pumps coming into your workshop. Use the repair as an opportunity to make the pump better by upgrading to composite wear parts. Boulden has the material you need in stock and can deliver raw material or machined parts with very short lead times. Get in touch with us today!

A Look At Pump Life Cycle Costs – Part 1: Maintenance

Typical Life-Cycle Cost For A Pump System Infographic

Typical Life-Cycle Cost For A Pump System

Most of us have seen a graph similar to the one above. Over the life of an engineered pump, the energy consumption and maintenance will account for the majority of the life cycle cost. So, if you can make your pumps more efficient and more reliable, you will save a lot of money.
Over the years, we have collected several groups of data to suggest how much money you can save from using composite materials in your pumps like Vespel® CR-6100Boulden B-Series, or Metcar® composites. The savings come from two areas–improved reliability and efficiency.

Improved Pump Reliability = Maintenance Savings

Improving pump MTBR has been a primary focus of Rotating Equipment Engineers for decades. Longer life means fewer repairs, lower chance of downtime, and lower risk of environmental or safety incidents. There is no doubt that more reliable pumps save money. The question related to composite materials is how much of an MTBR improvement should be expected from the upgrade?
To answer that question, we have several data sets:
  • Between the years 2004–2006, a refinery upgraded 61 “bad actor” pumps to Vespel® CR-6100. In the 3 years prior to the upgrades, this group of pumps would result in 20-30 repairs. In the 3 years after the upgrades, this group of pumps averaged fewer than 10 repairs per year.
  • Another plant looked at 11 vertical pumps for 5 years before and 5 years after upgrading the shaft bearings and found repairs had been reduced by 64%.
  • Several other data sets have shown dramatic improvements in the overall plant MTBR when the site included Vespel® CR-6100 into their pump reliability improvement program.

Average Pump Repair Cost

We can use the study of 61 pumps to estimate the annual savings. The average repair cost of an API pump is about $12,000. Prior to upgrading to Vespel® CR-6100, this site had between 20 and 30 repairs per year–$240,000 to $360,000 annually to repair this group of pumps. After the upgrades, with fewer than 10 repairs per year annual repair costs were less than $100,000. That is a savings of around $200,000 every year. The upgrades to composite materials easily paid for themselves several times over.

Conclusion: Upgrade Pump Parts To Composite Materials

In short, using quality composite materials like Vespel® CR-6100 with reduced clearance in your pumps will lead to a big increase in pump life and significant maintenance savings. Next month, we’ll discuss energy savings.
Until then, whatever the temperature, chemical, or operating conditions for your pump, it is likely that Boulden has a non-seizing, non-galling composite material to help you improve your pump reliability. Boulden has a large inventory of material in stock and we can supply raw material or finished parts with very short lead times. We can provide all of the technical support required for you to make the upgrade a success.
Contact us today and use your next repair as an opportunity to upgrade your pump.

 

Boulden B-1050 Vertical Pump Shaft Bearings

Last fall, a power plant needed to replace the vertical pump shaft bearings on their cooling water intake pump. They contacted Boulden to find a solution.

Service Conditions

The cooling water intake pumps at the plant pump brackish water from the local harbor. The salty water creates corrosion issues, the silt in the water creates abrasion issues. The line shaft bearings are exposed to potentially high loads from the pump at an operating speed of 1500 rpm.

Boulden B-1050 cooling water intake bearings

Boulden B-1050 cooling water intake bearings

Bearing Design

Boulden selected B-1050 for the application due to its excellent dimensional stability, resistance to abrasive wear in dirty water conditions, and high load carrying capability. Unlike most plastic or composite materials used for this application, B-1050 has a coefficient of thermal expansion less than carbon steel. Boulden has found that a coefficient of thermal expansion less than carbon steel is probably the most important material property for the reliable performance and ease of design of a composite bearing or wear ring. For a complete data sheet, contact Boulden today.

Some key properties of B-1050 are shown in Table 1:

Boulden B-1050 key properties

Boulden B-1050 key properties

 

 

Tough, wear resistant shaft bearings from Boulden

Boulden supplied the B-1050 bearings mounted in Duplex Stainless shells. The old bearing spiders were corroded and needed to be re-machined; therefore, the shells were machined to fit after the modification to the spiders. The bearings ran against a 7″ (180 mm) diameter shaft. One line shaft bearing design was 9″ (225 mm) long; the other was 11″ (270 mm) long. The components were manufactured in a few weeks, delivered and installed without issues.

Conclusion

If you are looking for better materials for your vertical shaft bearings, contact Boulden. Consider B-1050 for your cooling water pumps, waste water pumps or other services where you need the ability for the bearings to run in potentially dirty service plus survive off design conditions such as running dry. We have a portfolio of materials with B-Series and Vespel® CR-6100, so whatever your vertical shaft bearing application, we can help.

For consultation on the best material for your application or design assistance, contact Boulden today. We have the material you need in stock and can supply raw material or machined parts with rapid delivery.