Lube Oil (HVOF) Flushing

Extending the life of turbines, engines, and other industrial equipment often boils down to simply ensuring contaminates in your lubricants are below ISO recommended levels. 70% of damage to industrial equipment is caused by degraded lubricants with hidden contaminates wearing on machinery internals.

Our team of certified technicians offers turnkey lube oil flushing and High Velocity Hot Oil (HVOF) flushing services, including providing all necessary equipment and independent lab testing to verify contaminant levels. Our comprehensive solutions remove contaminants, correct moisture levels, eliminate varnish and fully degrease and pickle equipment.

HVOF flushing equipment

Our team of certified technicians provides a comprehensive plan for your flush, based on our 30 years of plant maintenance experience. A typical HVOF flushing/lube oil flushing project with our team progresses through the following steps:

  1. After extracting key job information over the phone, one of our technicians performs a site walk down at your facility. The purpose of this walk down is to create a detailed flushing plan, including:
    1. Thoroughly reviewing the state of your reservoirs, screens, heat exchangers, coolers, turbines and other components
    2. Which helps us determine proper flushing protocols and provide complete flush solutions to remove contaminants, fix moisture levels, remove varnish and degrease & pickle equipment
    3. Engineering optimal flush path, jumper installation verification, selection of flush oil, and determination of necessity of cleaners
    4. Then, we document everything and turn over a complete service plan for your review
  2. All equipment is shipped to your site and our team arrives to take full responsibility for the flush from jumper cables, flanges, and filter installation to filtration skid setup.
  3. We inspect flush screens, flush rig filters and bags; analyze contaminate levels, and gather baseline performance data and set ISO cleanliness targets
  4. During the flush, we ensure total system contaminate removal including: varnish removal, sludge removal, utility pigging (if needed), and debris removal.
  5. Our team communicates daily with key stakeholders on progress of the pre-determined Inspection Test Plan (ITP)
  6. At the completion of the flushing procedure, we provide full ROI documentation of the steps completed, performance improvement documentation, lab test confirmations, and on-going maintenance recommendations.

Our team takes safety seriously. We work with your plant personnel to coordinate the flush on-site, observe site safety protocols, verify equipment electrical and mechanical lockout, proper tagging and potential explosion hazards before working with equipment. Contact RIG today to start planning your next flush.

GE Turbine HVOF

RIG performed a high velocity hot oil flush of the General Electric turbine at a Power Plant in Indianapolis, IN. Our technicians arrived onsite on 12/12/17, completed site specific safety training, and conducted a safety walk down of the work area.  RIG’s high flow filtration skids, filter carts, and hoses arrived to the job site hydrotested, checked for functionality, and free of contamination. Final inspection screens passed API 614 visual cleanliness standards with full verification approved by the customer on 12/19/17.

Mid-Stream Natural Gas Compressor Flush

A new Solar Mars 100 turbine required a lube oil flush for a new cooler at a mid-stream natural gas compressor station. Pickling was not required for this pipeline pre commissioning engineer based project. and screens were periodically inspected until API 614 pipe cleanliness standards were successfully met.

Pulp & Paper Plant Cleaning

(Franklin, VA., Valiant, OK, Jay, ME., Ticonderoga, NY, Orange, TX., Savannah, GA.) – Lube oil reservoirs and lube oil headers for multiple International Paper locations across the United States. Drain lines, labyrinth seals, water drains, glands and oxidation formed from higher viscosity oil on slow moving gears and bearing.

Refinery Gas Compressor Lube Oil Flushing

A lube oil system for a gas compressor at a major refinery had not been cleaned in over 30 years. The unit was down for major maintenance program which created the perfect opportunity to address the ISO cleanliness of the oil system. The RIG team custom engineered and performed a successful reservoir and chemical cleaning coupled with a high velocity hot oil flush (HVOF) to return the system to acceptable ISO and API cleanliness specifications.

What equipment is required for a lube oil flush?

The process utilizes a high velocity pump, filter canister, that uses 5 micron filters, oil cooler, and an oil heater. Each bearing journal is bypassed and has a strainer placed in the jumper for individual flow path testing. Initially the oil reservoir is hand cleaned, filled with manufacturers specified oil, then circulated using the flush pump through the filters until it meets the cleanliness requirement. Then each journal bearing is flushed to the same degree of cleanliness.

Have you ever serviced a turbine with a HVOF/Lube flush?

We’ve delivered numerous turnkey lube oil flushing services for gas & steam turbines made by:

  • GE
  • Siemens–Westinghouse
  • Dresser–Rand
  • Elliott
  • Kobelco
  • Sulzer
  • Solar Turbines (CAT)
  • And more

How do you know or prove you are achieving the high velocity during lube oil flushing?

The velocity of each flush is based on a pre-generated Reynolds Number (Re). Piping diameter, fluid temperature, linear footage, piping schedule, and viscosity are factored to ensure proper turbulent flow is achieved in each section of piping. At a minimum, a Reynolds Number of >4000 will be generated. After the onsite system walk down, we will create a detailed process that ensures sufficient Reynolds numbers are achieved, and it will be submitted for your review beforehand. Every Pump has a flow Pump Curve that is utilized to determine the actual flow achieved during flushing activities.

What is HVOF Flushing?

HVOF is “High Velocity Hot Oil Flushing” and is a technique used to remove contaminants, correct moisture levels, eliminate varnish and fully degrease and pickle equipment in industrial plants. It can be used on piping, turbines, engines and other equipment with lubricant/oil systems. By removing these contaminates with HVOF and reconditioning oil, lubricant costs can be lowered, equipment life extended, and costs decreased over time.

How often do you check the screens during flushing procedures?

Once any flush begins, differential pressure is closely monitored within the first minutes of beginning circulation. If we see any spike in pressure, we immediately perform a screen check. If no signs of back pressure are shown, we will run 30 minutes before pulling the first screens. At this point, a decision is made on how often checkpoints will be performed. It is primarily based on system cleanliness, OEM, and customer requirements.

How do you determine the right ISO target cleanliness level?

ISO standards are solely based on OEM standards and customer requirements. If these are not available, our internal standard for lube oil systems is 16/14/11. The primary goal when performing a high velocity hot oil flush is piping cleanliness, so we incorporate the use of API 614 visual standards alongside the ISO cleanliness specifications.

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