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Regular maintenance and lubricant reconditioning of critical gas processing equipment can extend the life of your critical components, reduce oil replacement costs, and prevent the major causes of equipment failure.
Which services should you be performing and how often? The chart below lays out an optimal maintenance schedule for Gas Processing Plants. Use this as a guide for setting up your maintenance program:
Table 1. Maintenance Schedule for Gas Processing Plants
If you don’t want to have to worry about tracking and upkeeping these reliability services yourself, the Reliable Industrial Group (RIG) philosophy is to embed a full-time technician to support your plant’s maintenance and reliability ambitions. Current Programs may include MLA or MLT trained personnel to perform services including:
RIG’s embedded technician program is not limited to the above services. We can customize a number of reliability programs to meet the safety and reliability goals of your facility.
CONTACT RELIABLE INDUSTRIAL GROUP (RIG)
To work with the industry leader in plant reliability and maintenance services, call 800-770-4510 today or learn more at www.theRIGteam.com.
As steam turbines throughout the United States age and maintenance intervals are pushed out, preventing bacteria growth inside turbines is becoming ever more important. Bacteria colonies can affect oil quality, produce corrosive by products, and clog control systems which can result in significant repair costs.
There are three main types of bacteria that grow in lube oil systems:
Specific conditions must exist for the bacteria to develop and grow. Water must be present, but as little as 0.5 mL of water per Liter of turbine oil can do the trick. Organic material (carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous), optimum temperatures, stagnant or low flow areas of the system, suspended particles, and emulsification of the oil are the other key ingredients. The presence of oxygen will act as a accelerant, speeding up bacteria growth. But how do you know if these conditions have developed in your turbine?
Lab analysis is the best way to confirm the presence of bacteria and the only way to know which type you have. But, there are some other signs and symptoms you can look for:
If you do suspect you have a problem, or even if you just want peace of mind and simple want to check, here’s what you should do.
Knowing the difference between oil flushes, when to use which, and the proper terminology to describe them is key to extending your equipment life. While our certified field technicians are exceptional at making sure the right flush is applied every time, it is important to us that our customers understand what is happening with their lube oil and are integral part of the overall oil cleanliness management plan.
The main categories of oil flush are:
1. High Velocity Flush
With a descriptive, memorable name, this is the type most customers have heard of. It is the best approach to take during all major maintenance, system failures, or when you large amounts of contaminants/debris are in the system. It is the most effective at removing all lingering materials and particles. High velocity flushes create chaotic flow within the system, breaking off and removing any unwanted, clinging debris. The violent nature of this action requires that bypasses for sensitive system components such as pumps, valves, bearings, orifice plates, accumulator bindings etc. are protected during the flush. Verify results with inspection screens/media and particle counts.
One misconception about this process is that high velocity occurs when high turbulent flow is achieved. While turbulent flow can be achieved at Reynolds numbers around 4,000, this is normally not enough turbulence to remove all damaging debris. Most high velocity flushes target a Reynolds number of 20,000 or 2-3 times the normal system flow rate.
2. System Flush
Most appropriate for light maintenance work and non-critical systems, this flush utilizes system pumps. Like with high velocity flushing, all critical components should be bypassed with jumper hoses and protected. Using system pumps to flush out foreign material will take longer than using an external pump, which is why this method is not recommended for turnarounds or maintenance with a strict deadline.
3. Circulation Filtration
A system in production can undergo circulation filtration, with pumps running in the normal flow pattern. Circulation filtration is limited in scope, but can successfully clean reservoirs or aid in filtering/changing lubricants. External filtration off a reservoir is the typical approach. It is appropriate for annual maintenance, but not for any outage that includes pipe breaks or the opening of bearing housings. Verify results with a lab analysis or field kit.
When changing lubricants or displacing cleaning chemicals (including detergents), a rinse/purge flush is often utilized. The procedure includes draining the system, refilling the reservoir to the minimum circulation level, and then using the system pumps to circulate oil in a normal flow pattern. Usually only a particle count is needed to verify, but labs or field kits may be used if employed during a varnish mitigation procedure.
We always recommend consulting with an oil flush expert if you are unsure which oil flush is appropriate or how to remove contaminates from your system. However, you should have an annual maintenance plan that involves regular lube oil flushes to control ISO cleanliness levels. If you don’t have one in place now, speak to one of our certified technicians about mapping one out and getting into place, or check out our blog on how to develop one.
Source: Larry B. Jordan
Pre-commissioning is a critical project phase that takes place following the construction of piping and process systems, but before those process products are introduced into the systems. The purpose of pre-commissioning is to safeguard the integrity of your systems and ensure they don’t have debris or contaminants that can damage equipment and delay system startup.
In this post, we cover the most common pre-commissioning methods for cleaning your system of mill scale, debris and other contaminants. It’s important to note, when you enlist a service provider to handle pre-commissioning for your system, these techniques should be customized to your system.
As pre-commissioning is such a crucial part of a project process, it’s best to use a professional services provider. We recommend selecting a professional partner to:
At RIG, we take pride in delivering excellent pre-commissioning services and ensuring our clients’ success.
A high differential might not mean your filters are plugged. If you keep replacing filters and are still experiencing the same problem, or if your filters do not look clogged when you pull them, it’s time to consider some other data. Changes in fluid viscosity and excessive filter replacements can give false end-of-filter life warnings when the system is not calibrated correctly.
Case-in-point: RIG recently performed a high velocity, hot oil flush on a small compressor and electric motor package. After achieving an API-614 acceptable screen based on piping size and a lubricant ISO cleanliness code of 15/13/9, we helped the customer install filters in their on-board filter housings and install screens with cotton sheets in the supply headers to run their auxiliary pumps for verification through the bearing headers.
It was determined after start-up by the plant that the 10 um filter used plugged, at which time it was changed out for a new element. Knowing the system was clean, but not seeing the differential and operating factors, we knew something was not right about the findings.
Later, we performed the same flush on a similar system at which time we monitored flow and differential factors to repeat the process and use data to determine the performance factors of the filters.
Step One: RIG removed the filters from the housings, installed jumpers at the bearing supply headers and began flushing using our 400 GPM flushing skid. This proved a 19 psid differential across an empty filter housing with 30 psi system header pressure and oil temperature of 70°F. This would show a 63% filter life used giving the filter change out differential of 30 psid.
Step Two: After the system was cleaned by flushing and achieving the API-614 pipe cleanliness standard, along with the targeted ISO Fluid Cleanliness spec, the decision was made to add a filter and use the on-board aux pump in conjunction with our flushing skid. Based on understanding of flow differential, we knew we should gain anywhere from 1–6 psid with the new 10 um filter installed after start-up.
Step Three: The pumps were started and the bearing headers were still jumped so the only resistance we would encounter from the previous step was the filter and it would prove to be slightly less since the lubricant was at 150°F and the viscosity had dropped to 17.7 cSt. This proved out and we achieved a system pressure of 34 psi and a differential pressure of 23 psid, which would show 76% of used filter life with a change out differential requirement of 30 psid. This was a gain of 4 pounds of differential from adding a filter to the housing even while dropping the viscosity of the oil from 46 cSt to 17.7 cSt.
Step Four: After the system was circulated, using this process, the decision was made to install the bearing headers to the equipment and install a 100 mesh screen with cotton bed sheets to the supply piping after filters. This is where data helps provide a logical explanation of why the filter is not plugged. After installing the bed sheets and screen, we now add more resistance immediately after the filter housing, this will make the system header pressure increase to nearly 99 psi and the post filter pressure at 60 psi which proved a 39 psid across the filters with the lubricant at 80°F, which showed 132.64% of filter life used. After a few minutes, the operators shut down the system and wanted to change the filter, but it was explained that the screen with linen sheets were installed which created the differential from pump supply to filter outlet and asked them to continue running the pump for the duration of an hour so we could check the screens.
Step 5: The screen was pulled from the supply header and the system was restarted for circulation without any restrictions except operational flow orifices. After reading the header pressure and differential. It was concluded that the filter only had a differential of 8.7 psid and a system pressure of 36 psi.
For clients, new to the world of oil cleanliness and flushing it is easy to get confused by the nomenclature. Those more seasoned professionals will throw out abbreviated words, acronyms, or API (American Petroleum Institute) Standards; like everyone has read and memorized all 300 pages of each standard. Here at RIG it is our goal to be the technical resource needed in executing flushing services. There is key information needed while developing the right flushing plan for each piece of equipment. Let’s break down each piece.
Does the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) have a specific guideline to use for flushing activities on the rotating equipment? Most OEM’s do have criteria for commissioning and some include general guidelines for maintenance
If you are in a situation with no obvious criteria from manufacturer what is the right direction? There are (5) key documents issue by ASTM (American Standard for Testing and Materials).
The most utilized standard is the API614 for specific acceptance criteria (see example 1.0). All of the listed documents have useful information on what to flush in the system, inspection media, and minimal flow rates. However, these documents do not always take into account newer “Best Practices”. For example, a pneumatic vibrator will shake the pipes without damaging paint or scuffing fittings that “hammer blows” do. Or, in place of system pumps bringing in one of RIG’s high volume flushing skids. Increase volume will eliminate days of flushing utilizing flow to 2-3 times normal operating level. This will develop turbulent flow and a higher Reynolds number than can be achieved with system pumps.
At RIG our goal is to become an extension of your Reliability and Maintenance Teams. Providing that technical expertise in Lubrication Services.
If you would like to learn more about RIG, contact Jason Bandy at [email protected] to schedule a Lunch and Learn at your facility today.
By: Larry Jordan
How many different lubricants are used throughout your plant? What does your OEM manual recommend for each piece of machinery within your plant? Which bottle of lube oil is oldest? What is the date of the last oil top-off for each piece of equipment? What about the last oil analysis?
If you cannot easily pull up all of this information, then it’s time to consider a Quality Filtration Program (QFP). Not only does a QFP make it easy to answer all the questions above in a matter of minutes, but they provide the following long-term benefits:
A good quality filtration program has four basic steps. You might already have some type of filtration program or be doing some of the items mentioned below. Or you could be starting from scratch. Either way, we have outlined best practices that you can follow to create a program or check your current program against.
To develop a robust program, you will need to create all of the following:
After you have gathered all the necessary information, you will need to enter information in the plant’s Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) or Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) system. Next, set the Preventive Maintenance (PM) and task frequencies and create the clear and concise lube routes.
During implementation, you will need to ensure safety procedures are in place for the lubrication program. Make sure safety practices are both documented and have been reviewed recently with all plant personnel. You should also check that following are in place:
Finally, you will need to make sure anyone working with lubricants is properly trained and can follow the new procedures and schedules. Make sure every step in the process is well documented, accessible by all employees who need it, and gives clear instructions, safety guidelines, purposes and desired outcomes.
Once everything is flowing in the right direction and the program has been successfully rolled out, you must continue to actively manage the Quality Filtration Program for success. Make sure you have a plan for who is accountable for the programs success moving forward. That person should be ensuring all scheduled tasks actually happen and are properly documented for a reliable work history in your CMMS or EAM. This work history will become the primary source of information for finding problems and improving lubricant management moving forward.
Periodic review of your QFP program is required to find success. These reviews should address the following through thorough examination of your work history compared to expected maintenance. Consider:
After you consider these questions, list all the changes you need to make and prioritize them by impact and urgency. Implement your changes, and make sure to update all related documentation, especially maintenance schedules and manuals. Set the date for your next review and continue to monitor progress.
Finally, don’t feel that you have to take everything on yourself. RIG is happy to help you design, implement and find success with a Quality Filtration Program. We help plants improve lubricant quality every day and we are here to help. Please reach out with any questions, concerns or requests: 1-800-770-4510.
Temporary filtration of hydraulic and lube oil systems is an efficient, cost-effective way to prevent problems before they happen. Often overlooked and underestimated, temporary filtration provides key benefits to the oil and gas industry. These include:
In addition, temporary filtration is a highly cost-effective method that saves money in the long-term.
The key to a good temporary filtration system is selecting the right filters and setup. There are several key factors to consider to ensure you get effective filters that work with your system:
Selecting the right filter and doing a proper setup is a specialty area of RIG’s. We can walk you through the process and ensure both critical equipment safety and minimal downtime during setup and breakdown.
About Reliable Industrial Group
At RIG, we’re one of the most trusted oil diagnostic, flushing and cleaning service providers for plants worldwide. We’ve served the biggest names in the oil and gas, energy, petrochemical, and refinery industries. Our highly trained and certified professionals are experts in lube oil flushing and have deep experience delivering projects quickly and on budget.
Have you ever gotten milk from the grocery and later opened it only to find it had already gone bad? Bought a carton of eggs and found a couple were cracked? These things happen. Even if 99.999 percent of the time everything is perfect, that .001 percent can pose a big risk to your health. Just like those eggs from the store, machine oil can be defective and pose risks to the health of your machinery.
The key is not to allow defective products into your machine systems—that’s where testing is mission-critical. In this article, we’ll walk you through the absolute must-checks before you put your new oil into service.
A Word on Filtration
While many facilities filter their oil, filtration only removes dirt and particles, not the dozens of other contaminants and potential issues that can lurk, hidden in your oils. As such, we highly recommend proper testing for your lubricants.
Some lubricant suppliers offer oil analysis services, wherein you could send your supplier a sample of newly delivered oil and have them test it. But there’s an inherent conflict of interest involved. While most are honorable, and you can trust them, it’s best to test at least some of the oil with an independent, third-party lab to confirm the results from your supplier’s lab.
Define Your Acceptable Quality Limit (AQL)
The first step in testing is to know what level of quality and consistency you need from your supplier—bottom line, you will get some defective oil, sometime. We do this using the acceptable quality limit (AQL) measure.
An (AQL) is the worst process average (a percentage) you can accept, prescribing the range of the number of defective components considered acceptable when random sampling those components during inspections.
Component defects fall into three categories (specified by the manufacturer):
What are your product quality controls? Is your AQL 95, 97 or 99.99 percent? As you set this, keep in mind small percentages on a large scale can create massive waste.
For example, the world’s biggest oil producer refines 241 million gallons of oil each day. With an AQL of 99.9 percent, that’s 241,000 gallons of defective oil per day—88 million gallons per year.
Bottom line, you can’t know your oil is acceptable if you don’t sample and test it, and you’ll need a nice, high quality standard that your supplier can still meet.
Once you’ve defined your AQL, it’s time to start testing for a variety of potential issues.
Several types of testing can quickly tell you whether or not the brand new oil delivered to you is, in fact, suitable for your system:
The first key to proper testing is taking a proper oil sample. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process.
We recommend conducting the following tests for incoming oil:
Compressor, Gear, R&O and Turbine Oils:
Hydraulic and Motor Oils:
The health of your equipment and machine systems depends on the quality of your oil. Sub-par oil can cause component failures, equipment malfunctions and costly plant downtime. It’s crucial to your oil and your plant that your oil analysis program provides for proper oil sampling and testing of new oil deliveries.
At Reliable Industrial Group, we can help. We have more than 15 years of experience in oil sampling, analysis, testing, cleaning and flushing. We’ve helped major plants worldwide ensure total oil quality in their machine systems, extending the life of critical components, equipment and whole systems. Partnering with independent, third-party testing services, we ensure total peace of mind for your lubricants and your plant.
Combined cycle plants using gas and steam turbines in parallel present a special set of challenges during cleaning. Any missed debris can cause millions of dollars of damage to the steam turbine if the procedure is performed incorrectly, and variances in pressure tolerance between a steam and gas turbine often mean steam blowing must be done in sections.
Several specific design factors must be carefully planned for in a combined cycle steam blow operation. RIG’s technicians always perform a plant walk down prior to steam blow services, but combined-cycle plants require extra engineering and planning time to address the following:
We have successfully completed combined-cycle steam blows throughout the U.S. and around the world. An experienced steam blow procedure company can mean the difference between extending your plant equipment’s life and millions of dollars in re-work and repairs. If you have any questions about steam blowing, combined cycle pre-commissioning or preventive maintenance, please reach out to talk with one of our technicians: 800-770-4510.