A natural gas plant in the Middle East had a multi-stage, heavy duty vertical turbine pump in lean amine production that was continuously failing.
Lean amine is an organic compound that can absorb hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide from sour natural gas.
The temperature of the (VS1), type 60-WUJ-2M, pump service ranged from 6C to 59C.
The pump OEM had European antimony-impregnated hard carbon bushings installed due to the low cost.
However, the machine would experience flashing and run dry episodes due to the low viscosity pumpage. The carbon bearings would also severely score the shaft which led to major repairs.
Working with the pump OEM’s design engineer, Graphalloy engineers recommended Graphalloy Babbitt-grade bushings to replace the hard carbon material.
Graphalloy is self-lubricating and non-galling and works in a wide temperature range from -267C to 537C. Graphalloy is a softer material that will not damage the shaft.
These qualities make it a good match for severe service pumps, as it can survive frequent flashing and run dry episodes better than metal or plastic wear parts while protecting the rotating part from damage.
Using Graphalloy bushings allowed for tighter clearances and improved pump efficiencies.
The upgraded pump went back into service and has been working well for several years now.
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