How Long Do High Flow Pumps Last on High Production Refineries?

One thing all high production refineries have in common is a desire to increase capacity. The faster you can process your oil products, the more product you can send out into the market—without expanding operations. Investing in quality high flow pumps is one method of ensuring that you meet or exceed your production quotas. However, you must also understand the lifecycle of your pumps, and repair or replace them once they are no longer achieving maximum efficiency.

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Lifecycle Varies Due To Multiple Factors

For starters, there are multiple high flow pumps to choose from: centrifuge, multistage, screw pump, propeller pumps, booster pump, and more. The average refinery requires a variety of pumps, which vary dependent upon the viscosity of the fluids being pumped, the length of the line, and the facility specs. Each pump manufacturer will give you a general idea of how long their pump is designed to last, but that is only if it is used properly and with regular ongoing maintenance. A common trend is self-priming, but each facility will need to conduct regular maintenance. This is in addition your automated performance analytics and physical inspections. You pump should last several years each, but always be on the lookout for new technology.

You Must Keep An Eye Out For Pump Failure

High production refineries put their low and high flow pumps to the test. This means you will need to know what to look for in terms of pump failure, or even just a drop-in efficiency. It is unlikely that your pump will completely fail without a few warning sings. This might include:

  • Contamination caused by poor seals, improper venting, loose fill plugs, dirty oil, or poor storage and handling of oil.
  • Decreased efficiency due to the need for periodic lubrication: rust and oxidation inhibited oils, antiwear additives, antifoam, and demulsifier additives.
  • Vibration which is most often caused by misaligned bearings.
  • Cavitation, or gas bubbles on the interior surface of the pump or piping which can damage impellers, volutes, pump case, and more.
  • Broken or damaged parts, caused by general wear and tear, pumps used for the incorrect viscosity, too few pumps, or any combination of the factors above.

It’s Not Always About How Long They Last

Your current high flow pumps might be working to their full capacity, but you may opt to replace them. Why? If a more effective pump is created, it’s worth testing it out on a line, or a segment of your line which is easy to calculate efficiency. Even if flow is increased by a small fraction, that small fraction really adds up for high production refineries.

As you can see, proper installation, maintenance, use, and care are all essential for extending the life of your high flow pumps. Both low and high production refineries are nothing without high quality and efficient pumps, and the team who knows how to keep them at peak performance.

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